Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing Technology. What inspired you to co-start Vamp?
It started quite simply by looking at influencers’ feeds and seeing aspirational content that wasn’t just high-quality and beautiful, but also much more engaging than anything brands or traditional publications were producing. I saw a lot of unleashed potential in the quality of this content and, although brands had started to tap into it, their process was arduous. We recognized there was a need to streamline it and that’s what inspired us. It has been incredibly exciting to see how this new content source has revolutionized the advertising landscape so far.
From the time you started Vamp, how much has Influencer Tech and Media Intelligence Technology for brands and advertisers evolved?
Tech has evolved across the board. From the early days where we would manually gift products to influencers, our advancing technology has enabled us to effectively run full influencer campaigns at scale, managing every part of the process. It has also helped us meet growing challenges in the industry, such as scans designed to detect fake followers and inauthentic activity, to better advertising solutions for us to house influencer content.
How did your previous roles at Zuora and Huddle prepare you for your current role at Vamp? What key lessons did you learn from those companies?
I spent a long time understanding the market and how brands buy Marketing Technology. My sales roles at those companies gave me a great foundation in KPI-driven sales and a really solid discipline in high outbound activity. This grounding was invaluable when it came to actually attempting to get a business off the ground and acquiring Vamp’s first few customers.
As a CEO, how do you identify the biggest advantages and challenges in digital commerce? What role does Vamp play in overcoming these challenges?
You really just need to be out there talking — and listening — to customers. I am certainly not a CEO who sits in a secluded office all day, I like to still be involved in selling and attending meetings with customers and meeting potential customers. It’s such an important way to identify advantages and challenges in our space.
What is the best route map to optimize content monetization with influencers? Which technologies maximize the opportunities in this area?
The best way to optimize influencer content is amplifying it through channels such as Facebook, Google and even OOH. The content that is being produced now is of such a high standard, it can live in many different channels beyond social. It’s important for brands to be educated on how far they can leverage this.
Tell us about your go-to strategies to support rapid growth and the lessons learned through periods of massive shift and transition.
2018 was a huge year of growth for Vamp. We knew recruiting fast was necessary to continue our expansion at the same pace, but it was a huge undertaking for us. By the end of the year, we had increased our global team by 230%. It taught us a lot about efficient recruitment, how it was essential to have a good structure in place to get the best from applicants and how you could delegate parts of the process. It also reiterated the importance of maintaining our startup culture because no matter how much we grow and transform, it’s important we don’t lose sight of that.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
I am a big fan of the founders of Campaign Monitor, Dave Greiner and Ben Richardson. I grew up in the same town as those guys and love their story and how successful they have been. Their product is fantastic also fantastic. We run all our Email and Marketing Automation through Campaign Monitor.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Influencer Technology for 2019-2020?
Transparency will dominate the Influencer Marketing conversation in 2019. Not only in relation to an influencer’s following and likes, which have come under increasing scrutiny in the past year but in terms of reporting data. We need creative strategies to be data-driven so we can ensure brand’s campaigns align with their business objectives and are reaching the intended audience. That way, brands can gain real insight on how to optimize future initiatives and achieve that all important ROI.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
In terms of companies coming out of Australia, Canva is already really successful but I am excited to see what is next for them. Payments companies such as AfterPay have also had some massive growth so it will be interesting to see how their business evolves.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
It’s all about staying informed, embracing new technology and assessing whether it can help you. AI is very interesting and we are always looking at the latest technology offerings through the perspective of how they can not just benefit us, but also our customers and influencer community.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I feel this generation is used to using the latest and greatest technology offerings I don’t think you need to inspire them; it’s already such a huge part of their lives.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Slack, it’s awesome.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Meditate morning and evening. It’s the best way to ensure you’re always productive.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “Technology-as-a-Service Playbook: How to Grow a Profitable Subscription Business” by Thomas Lah and J.B. Wood. My commute gives me a good opportunity to read and I really make the most of it. Before that it was “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by James C. Collins
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The main one is to treat people with respect. Take meetings, always be approachable,a and be a nice person.
Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?
I am really persistent.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Thank you, Aaron! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Aaron Brooks is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vamp, a successful digital startup which helps brands better connect with quality social influencers. Aaron launched Vamp in 2015 out of a desire to strengthen the relationship between brands and influencers. The Sydney-born entrepreneur has vast sales and technology experience, working across companies such as Huddle, Zuora and Oracle.
Vamp Influencers are revolutionizing the way brands go to market. They surprise you with delightful content that you wish your current advertising agency would produce. It just happens to start in Social. Just ask Samsung, Uniqlo, Campari Group, Arnott’s, Kelloggs, MasterCard, eBay, Swisse Skincare, ASOS, Rimmel London, New Balance, Park Hotel Group, and many more. Founded in Australia in 2015, Vamp launched in Hong Kong and Singapore in 2016, London and Dubai in 2017, and NYC and Japan in 2018. Vamp’s diversity of social content creators and their ideas inspire the innovation that runs through everything they do, from amazing Instagram photos to incredible YouTube videos.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.