088: Transforming The Influencer Marketplace with Jason Will
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Jason is the CEO and Founder of Zipkick, a company that matches digital influencers with brands looking to ignite their growth. The company is known for exclusivity, accepting just 7% of influencer applications. This commitment to culture and quality has led to partnerships with brands such as Benihana, Blue Apron, Dunkin’, and Uber. Jason himself is passionate about giving back, especially to the MS society, an organization he’s been involved with for over a decade.   Places to Find Jason: On Instagram @jasonbwill Zipkick on Instagram @zipkick Zipkick on Facebook @zipkick Zipkick’s website.   Show Notes: 1:00 minute: Introduction 3:00 minute: What was life like for you growing up and what was the mindset around money and success instilled in you as a child? Only thing he thought about was playing hockey the rest of his life until a bad injury took away that opportunity. Channeled that competitive energy into entrepreneurship. Worked for parents to learn the brick and mortar entrepreneurship world, but saw that as a limited business. 4:30 minute: So tell me the story of the start of Zipkick? Three guys in San Francisco writing a plan on a napkin. Constant evolution over the first seven years. 5:30 minute: My understanding is that the Zipkick you originally created is very different from what it is today, so tell me about how that changed and evolved? Used to use travel booking sites every week and found them to not be intuitive in recommending options. Created the first recommendation algorithm for the travel industry. Received an offer to purchase and turned it down so they could continue to grow it on their own. 9:00 minute: At some point you made a major pivot then, when and why was that? The platform relied on TripAdvisor’s reviews that they purchased for use. Overnight, TripAdvisor removed those reviews and increased rates dramatically making Zipkick’s model not sustainable. “I will never give up, I will never waive the white flag” mentality kicked in. 11:30 minute: It’s easy to be resilient in the abstract, but how did you move forward from this and what did the pivot look like? Had started to build a small community of influencers prior to this overnight change. Reached out to one major influencer and brought him in to help him grow the idea and business. 15:00 minute: What advice would you give to someone who is starting a business based around a community to successfully see the community and get it off the ground? Brand ambassadors are essential. Everyone is leveraging ambassadors and influencers, so to be the one not doing it leaves you at a drastic disadvantage. 17:00 minute: For all of these influencers who are building these personal brands on a specific platform, how do you see the future of influencer marketing changing as new platforms move in and out of vogue? First is that the personal brand needs to be you. Not a location or a thing, but you, because you are transferable. Second, you need to be on two platforms minimum. Zipkick side is a move toward a marketplace more than a platform. 24:30 minute: So what does that business model look like for Zipkick? Total subscription model, not fees being pulled from both sides. 26:45 minute: Could you talk a bit about how you’ve been able to give back more and what your success h...
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