Having an amazing product or service is only one side of the story. Getting the word out through effective marketing, commanding mindshare, and getting regular orders from the general public is needed to make good products great and great products super hits.
Sales and marketing have gone through a lot of changes in the last few decades. While a short advertisement and an endorsement from a celebrity used to be enough to get the attention of paying customers, it takes a lot more to influence the general public now. End consumers have smarter and more aware, and generally rely on their social networks both online and offline to make informed choices. As a result, ‘Influencer marketing’ is gaining traction in India now and Gurgaon-based Blogmint aims to carve a niche for itself in this segment.
Image credit- Blogmint
Founded in 2015, and the brainchild of Puneet Johar (CEO, TO THE NEW Ventures), Blogmint is an automated marketplace that connects brands with bloggers, vloggers (video bloggers) and micro-bloggers. It helps brands identify a desired number of niche bloggers and engage them to create relevant content around the brand to meet their marketing objectives.
Irfan Khan, one of the founding members of Blogmint leads it as the CEO, and is supported by a team of around 30 young professionals. Blogmint runs two types of campaigns: Public and Private. In public campaigns, bloggers can see ongoing campaigns on the platform and in private campaigns, brands invite select bloggers based on their campaign objective. Some of the prominent brands on the platform include Coca-Cola, Asus, Honda, and Vogue. Talking about how the business model, Irfan said,
Our business model is 100 per cent transparent. We charge a nominal commission from the influencers but don’t the brands anything for using Blogmint
Blogmint claims to have about 29,000 active social media influencers and over 900 brands. The startup raised $1 million from TO THE NEW Ventures, in 2015, to help enhance their technology and also enter more markets.
Currently, influencers can sign up on the platform through Blogger, Wordpress, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts. One of the challenges that Blogmint faced early on was explaining the concept of influencer marketing to the general public and potential influencers. Irfan said,
Influencer marketing was an overused or abused term and not many knew what it actually meant.
So, to educate bloggers on the best practices and strategies to be used, Blogmint along with its partners, host regular executive sessions in different cities and town hall sessions. Irfan added,
For influencers, we regularly run ‘BloggerDreamTeam’ campaigns in association with eminent personalities like Harsha Bhogle and Vir Sanghvi to discover and recognise the emerging talent in India.
Influencer marketing is estimated to be the fastest-growing and preferred online customer acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing. Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, according to a poll of marketing professionals conducted by Tomoson.
The approximate size of Influencer marketing in India is estimated to about Rs 500 crore. Many online marketplaces are trying to disrupt the industry and make it more transparent. Irfan estimated that the industry previously operated on a service model with ad agencies pocketing 50-60 per cent of the revenue.
Influencer marketing is seeing good interest around the world. Most recently in April 2016, San Francisco based Captiv8 had raised a $2 million seed round to enable brands to predict and harness “Oprah Effects”. In November 2015, Mavrck closed a $5 million series A round for their micro-influencer marketing platform.
Blogmint’s immediate future plans include expanding to other markets in the APAC region and further enhancing their technology. Irfan said, “We plan to be amongst the top three players in this space across APAC within the next year.”
Blogmint currently sees about 45 per cent of its traffic coming from mobile and aim to leverage mobile much more going forward. Irfan added,
Many social platforms expose their APIs only for mobile, so it is important for us to leverage it to help influencer marketing grow further in India.