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AMAs

Amisha Gandhi is the Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP and previously led mobile product marketing and communications. In her current role, she created the global influencer marketing program and took it from pilot and turned it into a full-scale global function across SAP - with the purpose of driving influencer marketing across the entire customer journey from awareness to demand-gen to advocacy. 

She’s worked in public relations and marketing roles in Silicon Valley for the past 15 years with startups and large enterprises such as Citysearch.com/USANetworks, HP, Google, Accenture and Time-Warner. Amisha has a passion for sci-fi movies, tech gadgets and is always seeking out the next big thing trend.

You can follow her on Twitter: @amishagandhi

She will be live on March 13 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • BM

    Bilal Munir

    9 months ago #

    Hello Amisha,

    How are you? Thanks for doing this AMA.

    It’s no secret that when you work with an influencer, you’re able to tap into their large and loyal following. But to get an influencer to talk to you and share your content, it’s important to have a killer pitch that offers the influencer something of value in return for the exposure you get because of them.

    My question: Is there a way to reach out to an influencer if you don’t have anything to offer that would be of interest to them?

  • AG

    Aditya Gupta

    9 months ago #

    How do you use influencer marketing for B2B? Do you think this is something that businesses can spend a significant amount of their marketing budget to reach the decision-makers in an organization.

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      HI Aditya,
      We don't "use" influencers - we work with them as partners. I firmly believe that influencer marketing should be a part of your marketing strategy, Depending on what you are looking for, events, coverage, social, demand gen content, etc. - will determine how much you should invest.

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    9 months ago #

    Hey Amisha,

    How do you measure the ROI of any influencer marketing efforts?
    How to you attribute the success of any campaigns to such efforts?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi John,

      We measure the impact of our efforts, as we need to determine success and what we accomplished. We find ROI high when it comes to Influencer Marketing. We look beyond social stats - we look at traffic, views, downloads, leads etc to determine success on a program. Social is a part of it as well, but conversions can help you determine what really worked vs not.

      • AG

        Amisha Gandhi

        9 months ago #

        Question 2: You can further measure - by add coding to your links and see into your CRM system or marketing automation on where you can attribute. Pipeline touch, etc.

        Question 3: If an influencer is not engaged, you'll know. But you need to invest in the relationship too - speaking and engaging with them - remember, relationships are two-way and you want to build a community for the long-term.

      • JP

        John Phamvan

        9 months ago #

        Understood.
        I'm still not clear on how you measure hard ROI to the bottom line (even if its not down to the exact penny?)
        Related: How would you know if/when its time to move on to a different influencer? What signals would prompt that action?

  • BS

    Bala S

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha, How would you describe your journey to becoming a Head of Influencer Marketing?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Bala,

      I would describe my journey in this role as a great learning and growth experience and overall getting here as an amalgamation of my work experience. I believe the mix of marketing (operations, product, content) and communications both on the B2B and B2C side have given me the right skill sets for my current role. Influencer marketing is part art and part science - it's something I enjoy and mostly because of the relationships you build in this type of role and some turn into friendships.

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha

    What is the biggest misconception that you think people have about influencer marketing?
    What are the top mistakes you see being made here?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Tri,

      The biggest misconception about influencer marketing is that it's all about social media and you should "buy" influence to shout out their marketing messages.

      Think companies should approach influencers as partners not people that can "use" for their efforts, launches - this is often a complaint from influencers. Also, if a influencer is doing work you need to find ways to give them value and yes, pay them - it's not all about the money - it's about building a relationship that brings value to both parties. And be open to influencer's advice too. Lastly, followers can bought, so make sure you are using the right tools to really work with people who are truly and rightfully influencers (not just the big ones, but micro-infleucners can bring a lot to the table).

      5 Share
  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    9 months ago #

    Hey Amisha,

    I'll be honest, you're the first person I've come across that has influencer marketing in their title (and im especially intrigued because its at such a large company).

    This might be a follow-on to Dani's question - instead of startups, if we're talking about large existing companies, like SAP, when might the organization decide that its time for influencer marketing to become a dedicated function?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      I know some at larger companies with B2B and B2C - but it's just picking up steam on the B2B side these days. Many program began as a pilot, as you need to determine if this works for the company - and why are you doing it. Just for awareness serves one purpose, but think it's more valuable and will be seen as a strategic function if you can stretch it across the customer journey. Start with a pilot is my advice.

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha,

    What in your opinion is the biggest change coming to influencer marketing that we should all be prepping for (whether that's tools/channels/processes/anything)?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Porus,

      I'm not sure whether it a change, but I think influencer marketing should develop into more than influencer relations - think it will become deeper and go beyond the awareness stage of the funnel. Also, people are wise to fake followers, so real influence matters - and not just on social. We will need to invest in the right tools to measure success and ROI - and also think about delivery of the customer journey as that changes with techionology.

      Lastly, think voice technology will change content delivery- so we may hear or listen to influencers vs. read on special or blog, etc.

      4 Share
  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    9 months ago #

    Hey Amisha - so cool to finally have you on!

    From my lay person's perspective, I find it amazing that a company of SAP's size and brand recognition needs a role focused on influencer marketing.
    Can you talk more about how/why/when this role originated at SAP and its key responsibilities? How (if at all) has the role evolved over time?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Anuj and everyone, so happy to join!

      First, let's define influencer marketing, as everyone approaches it differently.

      Influencer marketing is the practice of engaging internal and industry experts/influencers with active networks and influence over buyers to help achieve measurable business goals.

      Influences on a buyer include external influencers, communities, associations, customers and partners who have a strong reputation among certain groups and whose opinions are highly regarded in their respective communities online and offline.
      People with a significant capacity to digitally engage and influence audiences.

      This role originated to help our global marketing teams and has evolved over time to become a practice across the company including regions, etc. We really seek to do the above and across the customer journey with influencer touch points down to advocacy.

      • AG

        Amisha Gandhi

        9 months ago #

        Question 2: Employees can having a following or be well-known as an author, or speaker or blogger. As long as they are developing a truly third-party voice, it can be quite powerful. You can create and develop a voice based on expertise and share - this should be encouraged. In fact, employee advocacy is on the rise at companies.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    9 months ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Amisha.

    Im interested in how your role liases and coordinates with other marketing functions at SAP? How do you plan and coordinate activities across any period of time?
    And on a related note, are there any aspects of influencer marketing that are not top of funnel?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Glen,

      We work and collaborate with many marketing and business teams. We plan a programmatic or campaign based approach - and ideally want to build toward long-term relationship build with influencers and audience. Our goal is to provide a great customer experience - and work with influencers to achieve the best outcomes.

      We work with influencers to co-create content - so we get into demand gen, nurture, etc. so definitely not just top of funnel activity.

      • GH

        Glen Harper

        9 months ago #

        Is there any centralized coordinating and reporting (ie not only of your team's efforts but your team's efforts in the context of overall marketing as well)? If yes, what tools/solutions do you manage and visualize this within?

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    9 months ago #

    Very excited to have you here, Amisha.

    Is there a particular stage at which a startup should consider a formal influencer marketing program?
    If yes, what would/should trigger it?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Dani!

      I started my career at a start-up - and being nimble is important. Influencers can play a part of your marketing mix, as it delivers almost a 6 to 1 return on investment (source: Burst Media).

      If you are launching a product, you can begin by starting conversations with in your area (also micro-influencers are great!). Get feedback, and see if you should invite them to event or co-create content for your launch, etc. You should begin your relationship and work with them - based on what you need and what they might suggest too. Please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    9 months ago #

    Hola, Amisha

    What does (or should) the pilot of an influencer marketing look like and how should success be measured?

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha!

    Can you talk about any specific influencer marketing campaign that was a really big win for you'll?
    What was it about how the campaign was executed that made it such a success? What were your biggest learnings from it?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Danielle,

      One example of a successful campaign we did was at our annual conference SAPPHIRE. Facebook Live was new at the time - so we worked with our teams across SAP, influencers, customers and partners at SAPPHIRE to broadcast live interviews from the show floor. We were then able to use and edit the live interviews into short videos that could be used in social and presentations, other events, etc.

      We were also able to reach our influencers audience, as they promoted the live streams on their channels- it was all good thought leadership content given great context and expertise by the influencers. We delivered close to 30% of all the social media for that event with 1 1 influencers on-site.

      The learnings were that we need to allow others to share on our behalf (not marketing messages) their expert knowledge so our customers and audience can benefit. The reason was success was this was SAP-inspried, but influencer led content.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    9 months ago #

    Hey Amisha,

    I'll take the opposite tack of Danielle's question - was there an influencer marketing program that went horribly off the rails?
    If yes, why did that happen and what were your takeaways from that experience?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      We've done many live streams with influencers and worked very well. The ones that don'er work well are the ones where it is too scripted in advance - we want it to be real authentic conversations. Once we had two influencers speaking to each other without any SAP folks and it was one of the best ones (SAP logo was int he background). WE find best success with influencers + customers + SAP expert.

  • JD

    James Dunn

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha

    From what I see, influencers are (or can be) your biggest "unfair advantage" over your competition.
    Is it just table stakes now to cultivate relationships with appropriate influencers irrespective of when you might actually use these relationships?
    If yes, you can foresee a scenario where everyone does this and the advantage loses its efficacy.
    What do you do then?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi James,

      There are many influencers out there and they work with many companies. I don't think you lose efficacy by working with influencers - as I think you in the end, are trying to deliver better more informative content to your customers. In a world of information overload, influencer marketing can help you cut through the noise if done correctly and differently than others.

  • PP

    Paolo Parravicini

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha,

    How and where is it possible to find out the right influencer into a B2B market?

    • AG

      Amisha Gandhi

      9 months ago #

      Hi Paolo!
      There are many tools out there (like Traackr) to help you find influencers, measure impact and give audience analysis. These tools can help you determine that right influencers - also there are many lists out of influencers and that can help guide you in the right direction. A mix of manual research and tools is best.

  • ST

    Sami Tariq

    9 months ago #

    Hi Amisha,

    Provided that the product does not change, does it make more sense for a growing start-up to partner with influencers that speaks to their existing audience or one that may help them explore other verticals?

    Thanks!

  • AG

    Amisha Gandhi

    9 months ago #

    Great AMA, thank you for inviting me!

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