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  • 06.30.11

The Digital Schwag Strategy

A slew of digital marketing companies that track influencers are springing up on the web. Here’s another one, Socmetrics, and CTO Jason Toy, who runs west coast operations for the startup.

The biggest problem among startups is that entrepreneurs are
really good at putting together a solution. They are not so good at making sure
the right people see what they do, says Jason Toy, co-founder and CTO of influence targeting company
Socmetrics
.

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Started as a way to brand and market the team’s own startup causes, Socmetrics is being branded as a way to target specific demographic groups for brands that want to launch new ventures in their industries.

Add Socmetrics to what has become a heavy schwag bag of
social media monitoring and marketing campaign companies that seek out
influencers and use those influencers as distribution channels through the use
of incentives and editorial strategies.

I asked Toy a couple of questions last month about Socmetrics,
to get some idea of what Toy planned on doing with the company, why he made the
company and what it does in the vertical. What was interesting about the
interview was the discussion about the origins of the startup. It was thought
up by Toy and his partner as a solution to the very sticky problem they experienced
in marketing their own ideas.

They had seen many cases in Silicon Valley, where the
company is based, where the startup idea was huge, brilliant, disruptive and
engaging, but the marketing fell apart like a business card stuck in the jeans
pocket during laundry day.

What I am most interested in talking about now, though, is how to differentiate all of these social influencer companies. If you know what is going to happen next, get in touch. I am interested to know which of these companies are going to start being bought up.

Here are some notes from that interview.

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Douglas: What was
the real need for starting up Socmetrics?

Jason Toy: We are
a startup ourselves, and we see other companies trying to launch projects. We
have all done multiple companies. When we get to that launch time, how do we do
the proper marketing and reach out to the right people?

Of these companies [that start fast], 95% crash and burn. Part
of it is technology and part of it is they didn’t build it correctly, and part
of it is these people don’t know how to get the product out to the right
people.

Douglas: There’s
been so much emphasis put on this lately, of how do you determine an influencer.
What is your definition, or how do you do it?

Toy: We analyze
that content a person produces. We correlate the blogs and tweets, the Facebook
fan page, and analyze whether the content being RT’d and is it being shared and
clicked on, being liked.

It’s about the ability to drive action, and we measure this
person’s followers and it’s a very hard metric to game. We also analyze
and determine other influencers following
you.

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Douglas: This is
becoming de rigeur, and even big agencies are trying to do this, so how is this
more important than a “traditional” digital marketing strategy?

Toy: Well, blast
media campaigns go out to thousands of people. Unfortunately, the people they
are marketing to don’t really care about your message. If you are Coke and you are trying to launch a
healthy version of Coke, then maybe you would target moms. These are the kind
of people you want to target.

Customers now use products in a variety of ways. Specifically,
it’s about understanding their own clients. One of our clients is selling their
product. And they have over 50,000
customers and they don’t know much about them. They process the list to find out if they can
send them out special gifts.

Douglas: So, this
is what other campaigns are starting to do, at scale. [See Klout and Involver].
How is this different than interactive marketing?

Toy: It’s
different because if you push out to random people, the probability is pretty
low. If you actually know who are the people who really care about this kind of
stuff, it might be per unit cost a little higher, but these are people who care
about your brand and they are the ones who are going to be your brand
advocates. Being able to find these people is extremely important to brands
right now.

About the author

Douglas Crets is a Developer Evangelist and Editorial Lead at the Microsoft BizSpark program. He works to tell the story of thousands of startups hosted in the Azure cloud platform built by Microsoft.

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