Over the past three years there have been few marketing disciplines that have captured the imagination, for better or worse, quite like influencer marketing.
For all the ire directed towards activity sometimes deemed opaque or hard to measure, there are plenty of companies that have bolstered their brand and increased sales by working with influencers.
We’ve been talking to somebody who knows influencer marketing better than most – Fabrizio Perrone, CEO and Founder at Buzzoole. This is a day in his life…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Fabrizio Perrone: I’m the founder and CEO of Buzzoole, a global influencer & social media content creation consultancy backed by powerful data, proprietary tools and top industry experts. We stand for smarter influence and purposeful craft, offering real value to our clients through our end-to-end solutions.
While I’m very hands on and involved with a lot of the day-to-day running of the company, what I do varies a lot and depends on where we are in our journey.
Last year we secured $8.9 Million in series A funding and a key part of my focus is ensuring we are continually developing our technology and platform to help brands and agencies realise the true value of influencer marketing. For example, we recently launched proprietary technology to tackle the issue of fraud. When influencers sign up to the Buzzoole platform they provide access to their first party social data. Using machine learning algorithms, Buzzoole technology processes this data to provide a complete picture of the influencer and the results of their campaigns.
Other key parts of my role include developing relationships with our existing clients, such as Amazon, Ralph Lauren, Absolut, and Hilton Hotels; as well as nurturing relationships with investors and creating funding opportunities.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation?
Fabrizio Perrone: I sit in the top tier leadership team where we all have our own unique set of skills and together we are a strong force.
I believe a horizontal business structure works best because it empowers employees and makes them feel part of the company’s overall success. Vertical structures can make you lose perspective on things. While it’s important to show strategic-thinking you also need to be operational and connected with everyone in the business.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Fabrizio Perrone: Strategic and operational skills are fundamental to my role. My background in economics and accounting gave me a solid base for budget planning, sales, and marketing, which I blend with my passion for technology and product development.
As well as these vital skills, determination is the key driver behind any entrepreneur’s success. The way I see it is, if you get 99 noes but one yes, it still counts as a yes!
Tell us about a typical working day…
Fabrizio Perrone: There’s a joke going round the office that I can do three meetings and three calls at the same time – not far from the truth! My day varies a lot depending on where I am. When I’m in Naples, I like to work from home in the morning, as it’s my own space where I can properly focus. In the afternoon, I’ll go into the office for meetings and catch up with the team. I travel a lot across our offices and spend time checking in with our clients and looking at new business opportunities.
What do you love about your job?
Fabrizio Perrone: I’m a people person so one thing I love about my job is that it gives me the opportunity to meet and work with such a variety of different people. I thrive on creating something innovative, especially starting in a city like Naples, that used to be completely off the map when it came to technology start-ups. However, since founding Buzzoole, the city has been fostering a growing community of app creators and start-ups, and I am proud that Buzzoole is part of that.
Fabrizio Perrone: Being the boss is not a popularity contest; it requires you to make difficult decisions and you need to be that person who makes the right decision for the benefit of the whole company.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Fabrizio Perrone: Today Buzzoole is a global influencer and social media content creation consultancy backed by powerful data, proprietary technology and a team of industry-leading experts, so it has already exceeded my goals!
But now, our evolution is about providing smarter influence, purposeful craft and real value to an even wider client base, to become the ‘Salesforce of influencer marketing’.
Success is subjective but generally you can measure it in terms of revenue growth, expansion in new markets or client satisfaction. For me, a good KPI is team morale and motivation. Motivation fuels the engine that drives the company forward – when your team is motivated they are more productive, making it easier to achieve business goals.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Fabrizio Perrone: I use Google applications for a lot of collaborative tasks. Trello is also a great tool for keeping track of workflow and managing projects. Much of my day is full of to-do lists, sorting tasks, and priorities, meaning it’s essential to have a management tool to organise my day efficiently. I also use Jira to manage the processes around product development and our CRM system for the commercial side of the business.
How did you end up founding Buzzoole, and where might you go from here?
Fabrizio Perrone: In 2013, I started the first digital PR agency in Italy when the word ‘influencer’ had not emerged yet. It used to be called ‘buzz marketing’, when people realised that word of mouth and user-generated content was more powerful than traditional advertising. I saw an opportunity to use emerging technologies, so when the city of Naples organised an event for start-ups, I signed up. There, I met Gennaro Varriale – now co-founder and CTO of Buzzoole – and together we developed an idea, which resulted in the creation of Buzzoole. In 2013 I sold the PR agency and the following year we received our first investment; from there, Buzzoole has grown from strength to strength. Looking ahead, the objective is to continue our global expansion, and invest in our products and technology to create solutions tailored to each region and market.
Which work has impressed you lately?
Fabrizio Perrone: True Layer, an Italian fintech start-up, really impressed me. The company recently received investment from Tencent and I’m interested to see what they are going to do next.
Do you have any advice for marketers starting out working with influencers?
Fabrizio Perrone: Vanity metrics such as likes and followers to select influencers is no longer viable. Older metrics like these will leave marketers vulnerable to fraud and impair influencer value.
Instead, marketers should look beyond these vanity metrics and dig deeper. There are a number of factors to consider: influencer history, performance, social channels, creative capabilities, and how all of these elements align with the brand message. It is also important to establish co-creation – marketers should include their chosen influencers in the process of creative strategy development early on to ensure communication isn’t diluted.
Another key bit of advice I would give is to avoid using appearance to determine value, it is much better for marketers to work with a wide range of influencers in an inclusive way in order to tap into their unique and diverse audiences.
Ultimately, the right mix of transparency, passion, authenticity, and brand affinity lay the foundation for establishing a Brand-Influencer match with long-term potential.