For this Customer Spotlight we were joined by Laura Davis, President, and Katie Greenlaw, Director of PR at Rinck Advertising. Rinck is a full service marketing, advertising, and PR agency based in Lewiston, ME with additional offices in Annapolis, MD. Let’s see what they had to say.
Bloglovin’: Hi Laura and Katie, thank you both so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little about Rinck and the clients that you work with?
Laura Davis: Rinck is a full service marketing, advertising, and PR agency. One of the main philosophies that Rinck is known for is something that we call Dynamic Integration. What that means is that every tactic in a marketing plan whether that’s paid media, PR, earned media or social media, reinforces every other tactic. Influencer Marketing efforts have been absolutely critical to that philosophy because they allow us to build a whole choir of ambassadors singing the same song. They build credibility and trust.
With regards to our clients, Consumer Packaged Goods is a huge silo for our agency. We have some great brands: Dean Foods, Colman’s Mustard, Reese, DaVinci, FINI, Toni & Guy and Pears to name a few. Our education silo features clients like the University of Southern Maine and HBX. Then, our other big silo is tourism and transportation featuring clients like Amtrak Downeaster and Portland Jetport and the Portland Harbor Hotel.
Bloglovin’: From your perspective, what are the main KPIs when a client comes to you looking for a digital or influencer strategy?
Laura: When we’re building out KPIs for our clients, I ask them not to think of an influencer as an individual voice for the brand. I always say think of them as media platforms, because they are. We always look at key things like impressions, engagement, was an influencer truly able to engage and have these two way conversations with consumers, did that lead to other engagements. But then, on the CPG side of the house, we also look at conversion. We think, “can we tie things like turns and sales to an influencer program?”. Over the last year certainly, we’ve done a really good job looking at that conversion. It’s not as squishy as it used to be. More and more we’re also interested in the affiliate programs that influencers are involved in, especially in CPG. It’s not only 3rd party endorsements, it’s not just the impressions that we earn or the engagement that we see but the sales that we can tie to a particular affiliate program. We can also use influencers more and more to drive to promotions, whether they’re consumer promotions like sweepstakes or an offer like a coupon to be included in their content development. So we’re able to tie those KPIs too. A couple of years ago that wasn’t possible. Certainly, the great thing about influencers now is that everything is traffic-able or catchable. Bloglovin’ does a great job of that, we can see that sphere of influence grow in real time. We like to see that and we like to share those results. Sometimes, I have to say, our earned blog influencer programming can out earn a paid program. It’s always interesting for me to understand that we have every bit the same opportunity to gain those impressions with influencers as we do with paid media.
Katie Greenlaw: Even before we were able to track things clearly, we first started doing influencer work and had a lot of success, especially when reporting on impressions or engagement. I would almost feel like I was lying because the numbers were so good. Now with the ability to track things like conversions, sweepstakes entries, and coupon downloads, it proves it out.
Bloglovin’: You mentioned certain technologies that have helped you measure and understand campaigns in real time. Can you speak more about the technologies that you have been using to build out those influencer efforts, what you look for in them, and why specifically you found Bloglovin’ to be a technology of choice?
Katie: When we first started doing Influencer Marketing campaigns, our web team actually developed some in-house systems for creating our databases, getting influencers to sign up for our programs, and managing their promotions. It was hard to track, we would look at how social media engagement and reach had gone up on our own platforms. Or, if we managed a website or had access to it, we could look at Google Analytics. Over time, there were a lot more available tools. We tried hashtag tracking software. We tried some different platforms for influencer research and database management. We eventually had 3–4 or more different platforms to manage each step of the campaigns: a research database, our own internal platform for collecting names, Google Analytics, hashtag tracking, campaign monitors, and some email distribution. It became convoluted. We are numbers driven, so we were trying to find as many ways to track success as we could. Then, we discovered Activate by Bloglovin’ which really sort of gave us the mecca of Influencer Marketing. Activate has a lot of pieces that we were outsourcing to many different platforms right within this one place. The dashboard is so much more streamlined and efficient for us. It’s definitely been a very useful tool and helped us manage many more campaigns with a lot less resources.
Laura: Our team looked at 30 some odd different platforms before Activate by Bloglovin’. The reason that I wanted that sort of research was because we had spent so much money on all these different tools. There were always redundancies or inefficiencies. We needed one great platform that could do the most for us. I think you’ll recall that we went through a trial with Activate, we were trying to get some early campaigns out there to weigh the effectiveness from a workload perspective and also a results perspective. So far, we are very happy with the platform.
Bloglovin’: Is there a possibility for you to share one or two campaigns that you’ve done on the platform, a little bit of the KPIs, and how the platform helped to match those KPIs?
Laura: We’ve done a few Instagram and Twitter campaigns and sweepstakes across mostly our CPG silo. I would say the thing that we’re really enjoying about this platform is that we can launch things fairly quickly. We did a campaign for Colman’s [Mustard] around the Super Bowl that was really effective. It had over 2 million in total reach in a very short amount of time. We were frankly surprised and pleased. We’ve used the platform for generating content to use on our own brand platform too. We like that everything has been so scalable, flexible, quick to start, and that it’s very seamless in getting the content that we need and reach and engagement that we’re looking for. We’re still sort of probably in shock mode because it used to take so much more effort to get these results so quickly.