Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Deep down I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur; I am disciplined, hard-working and thrive on new ideas and innovation. I just didn't know it would happen so soon.
When I look back over the last three years I now realise this wasn't an accident. This was a well-thought out plan (albeit subconsciously) to find my place in the world, my idea of freedom.
This was not an easy decision. The push and pull of my corporate job versus my exciting side hustle kept me stewing in a hot pot of mixed emotions.
What made it even more difficult was that my corporate roles were innovative and exciting. My most recent role as a digital transformation lead at a media agency felt as if I was an internal entrepreneur - I was given the freedom (to some extent) to create and execute innovative digital marketing projects for high profile clients like Mercedes and Reckitt Benkeiser. The job before that I was working for Sky, a company known for its forward-thinking and innovation! They even had a digital-first initiative to ensure all marketing activities were at the forefront of the industry. In fact, they were the first UK company to implement a DMP!
Why were these roles not enough for me? Why was I so unhappy?
I started to write down what I was actually doing on a day to day basis, and within two weeks I found even though I was in an innovative role a big portion of my time was spent managing people, not coming up with ideas.
I came to the realisation that digital transformation can only happen when everyone else in the team wants it to happen too, and for a big advertising agency that means the internal teams (digital trading, planning, social, the big wigs), external teams on the client side (marketing, sales, website) and the external teams at other agencies (tech, website, data, social, PR) all need to be on the same page. Anyone that works in a big advertising agency knows this is almost impossible.
I became frustrated that everything was out of my control. If I wanted to create something new and innovative it would take months, if not years, of managing teams internally and externally, creating and executing processes upon processes, selling in the idea little by little to people below me and above me, ensuring data and tech are in place and accounting for all the little details and mistakes that other people could potentially make if, and that's a big if, it were to go live.
I didn't feel like myself anymore. I was lost in a sea of emails, meetings, calls, lack of sleep, and a bright white screen staring back at me at 11pm at night. I struggled to see the point of my daily tasks. What was I doing all of this for? What were we actually achieving here?
The pull to start my own business became even stronger now, but I wanted to do it in the right way.
I had three things going for me, (1) I am a digital marketing expert, (2) I love blogging, social media and content creation, and (3) the recent changes in digital media and e-commerce are redefining the way companies and brands interact with consumers creating a huge opportunity for growth.
Marketers have entered a fragmented and cluttered world, where today's message is tomorrow's garbage. Everything is consumed so quickly that most brands are chewed up and spit out as fast as a scroll through your newsfeed. Brands have become confused about where they should be putting their money, so they build advanced measurement systems which spit out some sort of estimated ROI which shows if you want to reach people, TV is the best and online video is second best. But are these TV viewers really watching the ad? And why should they care about what you have to say?
We tend to forget as advertiser, we are just an advertiser selling a product. Nobody cares about what we have to say.
I'm tired of all the yelling.
I noticed this new trend in digital over the last few years: influencer marketing, and while I hate the word "influencer," I've seen this channel be more engaging and more cost effective than any other channel. The ROI is 10 times higher - it's proven in the campaigns I've run -than any other channel yet brands are only spending test budgets in this space.
I've sat in too many meetings where brands ask us, "how can we reach as many people as possible?" But I think we are missing a trick. In today's fragmented space, does reach matter when it's not an active view?
So in the wee hours of the night and during lunch time at work, I dived head first into the wonderful world of content creation and influencer marketing.
Being the action-oriented person that I am, I created a landing page for influencers / content creators to register to my platform to gauge interest (albeit the platform wasn't set up yet).
Within two months, I had over 2,000 influencers / content creators registered to the platform which gave me the kickstart to make this a real business.
This is when it became real for me.
I asked my technical guru / programmer partner to help me with the platform - two months later the beta version was built.
I started to develop really great relationships with influencers and ran a few test campaigns. I began to realise influencers do not only distribute messages for brands, they also ideate and create.
The value of an influencer is so much more than what we currently think. They have built an engaged following over a long-period of time with audiences who actually care about what they're talking about, people follow them because they want to see what they have to say next - this is literally a brand's dream!
This is what we provide at INKWAVE, brands can use content creators from around the world to create high quality digital content quickly for a much lower rate than your average creative agency, and distribute the content through social.
This is the future of digital and content marketing, so here I am today - we are the trusted source for brands who want to work with AUTHENTIC influencers and develop a strategic approach. Through creative collaborations, data insights and authentic relationships, we build a community of fans and design a 360 approach that delivers meaningful impact.
So here I am today, 6 months later having worked with brands globally such as, Mastercard Europe, Fin, HSBC, Care2Rock, Portfolio of brands with Turnriver Capital, Flock and many more innovative companies in the US and UK, we are well-respected in the industry and have established really great relationships with influencers and content creators.
As this is such a new space, we are passionate about educating brands and influencers to enable productive conversations that drive more effective strategies and collaborations. In the next month, we are hosting a workshop for brands and influencers to how to effectively collaborate to deliver successful campaigns.
Stay tuned @inkwave.co.