MarTech Interview with Krishna Subramaniam, Co-founder & CEO at Captiv8

Krishna Subramaniam, Co-founder & CEO at Captiv8 discusses the growing role of influencer marketing in today’s digital ecosystem:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Krishna, tell us about yourself and more about Captiv8, how has the platform evolved over the years?

Thanks so much for having me! I actually didn’t initially intend to pursue my career in influencer marketing. I was attending med school in the mid-2000s when I chose to drop out and embrace my entrepreneurial side. In my time since then, I’ve cofounded and sold three companies: Burrp!, BlueLithium, and Mobclix. My most recent venture, Captiv8, is a platform that aims to streamline influencer marketing communication and analytics, making it easier for advertisers to tap into a new pool of talent, influencers to make money, and both sides to track the effects of posts and campaigns.

During our initial launch, we offered a suite of capabilities such as social boosting, commerce/Shopify integrations, creator payments, and social listening, however, we’ve had an explosive year. Starting in September with a new verification status known as Captiv8 Gold, the feature opened new doors for creators as those who are of status are qualified for a number of benefits such as premium brand partnerships, exclusive events, and industry webinars. Most recently, we announced the launch of our best-in-class affiliate program – the Creator Collective.

Captiv8 was also recognized for our Influencer Velocity Index by being named one of two winners of TikTok’s #BuildforTikTok Innovation Challenge. Advertising spending on TikTok has grown 500% YoY on Captiv8’s platform as a result of leveraging the IVI tool.

We’d love to hear about your recent expansion plans: while scaling the product: what strategies and expansion/go-to-market plans did you’ll rely on to drive market share and ROI?

Our biggest strategy in continuing our expansion efforts is absolutely our new hires. To support our most recent expansion, we announced Bill Kantar as our Head of New Markets. In this role, he has already led Captiv8’s global expansion across the EU, MENA, APAC, and LatAm.

Prior to Captiv8, Bill Kantar held senior positions at Paramount/ViacomCBS and Yahoo! He brings years of experience working with Fortune 1,000 brands and their agencies, to shape award-winning Influencer Marketing programs. Industry accolades include a Shorty Award, an OMMA, Drum Award, and multiple MediaKey and MediaPost awards.

Bill is passionate about bringing economic opportunities to millions of creators worldwide and bridging the opportunity gap for typically under-represented creators. He will be key in both breaking into additional regions and creating a more physical presence with new offices, additional on-the-ground hires, etc.

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What do you feel about the future of influencer marketing and influencer marketing platforms?

When it comes to the future of influencer marketing, I have two predictions for 2023:

  1. The impact on eCommerce is going to be massive. Influencer marketing is proving to drive sales far beyond traditional marketing methods and brands are shifting accordingly. Especially as major companies are continuing to pull their ad dollars from Twitter, personalized influencer campaigns will become crucial to maintain sales.
  2. TikTok will continue to monopolize the digital media landscape. In December 2021, TikTok officially ended Google’s 15-year reign as the world’s most popular web domain. Gen Z is going straight to TikTok to find the content they like and things they want to purchase, leaving Google Ads in the dust.

How will influencer marketing impact B2B marketing as a domain: a few thoughts on how leading brands are using this channel to drive impact?

In a recent report that Captiv8 conducted, we gathered insights from 1100 senior- to mid-level marketers within enterprises and SMBs and found that, more than ever, influencer marketing is resulting in a full-funnel impact. This rise and success, of social commerce trends have led to a convergence of brand and performance marketing, where creators are at the helm.

Key takeaways included:

  • 41% of brands look to influencer partnerships to drive purchases, and 84% have an influencer-centric affiliate marketing program in place.
  • 40% say that influencers are most important in driving their affiliate campaigns, overtaking blogs (31%), social (18%), and email (10%).
  • ‘Influencers made me buy it’ trends on social are most effectively driving performance through the use of creator coupon codes (38%) and influencer try-ons or tutorials (32%), shrinking the path to purchase.

Byte, the at-home teeth aligner solution, and Captiv8 client have generated over $170K in sales directly from creator affiliates. By leveraging strategic relationships with 40% of Fortune Top 20 and premiere talent agencies such as UTA & WME, Captiv8 has facilitated over $100M in creator payouts over the years. These relationships and established trust with influencers have been the backbone for the recruitment and growth of Captiv8’s affiliate creator network. 

What do you feel about the future of the B2B martech industry? 

To put it simply, I think the future of the B2B martech industry is extremely bright. In 2022, The American Marketing Association-New York published its “Future of Marketing” report and statistics suggested that most B2B marketers (56%) see most or all of their efforts moving online or going digital within the next 10 years. This comes as more B2B marketers identify the benefits of martech, such as easier purchasing (92%) and time efficiency (89%).

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Captiv8 is a full-service influencer marketing solution that allows brands to uncover actionable insights on trends, discover and vet influencers, seamlessly activate campaigns at scale, amplify branded content across the digital ecosystem, and prove business impact through Captiv8’s measurement dashboard. Captiv8’s platform also gives brands the tools they need to build relationships and effective content as well as lend experiences and strategic services to steer them clear of common influencer marketing pitfalls and see the highest ROI possible.

Krishna Subramanian has 8 years of experience in his current role as CEO and Co-Founder at Captiv8, the AI-powered influencer marketing platform well-known for having the world’s largest database of authenticated users. Although, he has extensive previous experience in marketing positions separate from his current focus on connecting brands to content creators. Krishna co-founded the mobile ad exchange Mobclix (acquired by Velti in 2010), where he drove the ad and marketing strategy and also co-founded BlueLithium, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2007.

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