Exploring the "I" in DISE: The Big Impact of Micro-Influencers

Social media has changed the way that we interface with each other, market our businesses, and interact with brands, and the growing influencer economy is changing the sponsorship landscape. As sponsorship dollars shift from traditional to digital, this emerging platform on social is driving high value for brands and properties alike. For sports and entertainment professionals, it’s more important than ever to understand the power of influencers and learn to harness that power for our marketing campaigns. Whether you’re working with a team, a brand, an agency, or a venue, there may be an opportunity where considering influencer marketing could expand your reach substantially and create more positive brand affinity.

Our event, Exploring the "I" in DISE: Everyone's an Influencer focuses primarily on celebrity “macro” influencers and their impact. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t also explore the impact being made by campaigns featuring micro-influencers. So, we caught up with Dr. Jon Iadonisi, the Founder and CEO of VizSense, a Dallas-based Influencer Marketing and Sales Intelligence Firm, to learn more about micro-influencers and how his company delivers highly specialized marketing and sales campaigns engineered to a specific brand’s DNA.

What is a "micro-influencer" and how does it differ from other types of social media influencer? 

A micro-influencer is a non-celebrity, who has a credible and engaged audience ecosystem around a specific topic of expertise (ex. lipstick). Unlike micro-influencers, social media influencers are hired based on their follower counts and usually advertise multiple items outside their particular field of expertise. 

How did you become interested in micro-influencers and the data and analytics surrounding that space? 

I first learned about the power of micro-influencers as it relates to understanding how terrorist organizations operate. Whether your brand is hate or chapstick, we are all people, and follow a similar social influence pathology. 

What are some ways that you've seen brands successfully use micro-influencers to drive brand awareness and relevance? 

We've seen brands use micros with great success in launching new products, amplifying in-store promotionals, and driving brand equity. 

Are there ways that others in sports and entertainment might be able to tap into micro-influencers as a part of their marketing strategy? Teams, leagues, events, venues, etc.? 

Absolutely. Properties (and brands) should consider micro-influencers within their holistic marketing strategy, especially since traditional marketing metrics are antiquated and brands today are built on phones. Micro-influencers are local, credible, voices of authority that can tell the story, share the "fan experience" and drive more interest/engagement.  

What are some of the pain points associated with using micro-influencers, and are these obstacles the same or different from other influencer campaigns?  

There are three primary pain points in dealing with Micro-Influencers: 1. Identification and vetting of their true influence. 2. Contracting and management at scale, and 3. Measurement. Because we are a data company first, we've developed powerful technologies to resolve many of these issues our competitors face. 

What is your prediction for the influencer economy and the direction of digital marketing spends in the next five years? 

It's just getting started. Today's GiG (Global information grid) economy and data science technologies now allow an on-demand marketing workforce (like Uber)  in the form of mirco influencers, to be hired as needed. According to the data, marketing dollars with Micro influencers will continue to double from 2019-2020, reaching several billions of dollars. 

About the Featured Expert:

Dr. Jon Iadonisi designs and builds new types of technology businesses that tackle antiquated methods and legacy thinking. He’s successfully founded, scaled, and exited two profitable technology companies that spanned public safety and cyber security industries. Currently, he is the Founder and CEO of VizSense, a Dallas-based Influencer Marketing and Sales Intelligence Firm that works with Fortune 500 clients, delivering highly specialized marketing and sales campaigns engineered to a specific brand’s DNA. Jon is a computer scientist and former Navy SEAL, who invented new capabilities for the Special Operations Community and Central Intelligence Agency. He is a combat-wounded and decorated veteran who earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the US Naval Academy, M.S. in Homeland Security, and a Ph.D. with a focus of study on Cyber Crime. He also volunteers and serves on the board of Operation Restored Warrior, a nonprofit that facilitates healing of PTSD for veterans. Jon is also a frequent contributor to national news outlets and conference venues.

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Lauren Allison