Author: Andy Seibert

2021 Influencer Marketing: Start with Stakes

2021 Influencer Marketing: Start with Stakes

As a marketer, you have many tools in your kit, and using influencers is definitely one of them. First, there’s the question of whether you should use influencers. And if it seems you should, then the focus shifts to how to use them effectively.

How you use them depends on the stakes the buyer faces — if the decision carries high stakes or low, the messaging from the influencer should be very different.

Where to start (even before thinking about using influencers)?

Always begin with the customer-buying journey. That will help prioritize what your target customer needs in order to keep moving, whether they’re at the awareness, consideration or evaluation/buying stage.

What is influencer marketing?

Let’s get a common definition. Essentially, an influencer is a person who can help move that customer through the stages of the journey. (Note: An influencer program can be executed through social channels, but it’s not the same as a social media strategy.)

Should I use influencers?

Whether you need to use influencers depends on where your customers are in their buying process and if a voice from outside your organization would help them move to the next stage of their journey. This could mean using a “macro” influencer to gain awareness at the top of the funnel or using “micro” influencers and experts to give a customer confidence in the evaluation stage.

Is there a difference between B2B and B2C influencer marketing?

While there are some practical differences between the two buying journeys, the use of influencers in B2B and B2C actually doesn’t differ. What they have in common: The importance of understanding whether your product or service represents high stakes or low stakes to the buyer.

Let’s go through what this means:

Low stakes:

  • B2B: There are many examples of low-risk stakes to the B2B buyer (e.g., to your job security, at a financial price point). Think about commodity items like office supplies and catering. If one decision isn’t successful, there’s another choice at the ready. Can influencers sway the buyer? Maybe, if they bring an option top of mind or alert us to something new.
  • B2C: We make low-stake decisions every day. We try a new brand extension of our favorite seltzer water or stream a pay-for movie. If the decision doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. Can influencers sway the buyer? I know I’ve been tempted to try a new protein bar that an influencer talks about on Instagram.

High stakes

When you’re offering a more high-stakes purchase — there’s a financial or reputational impact — you’ll probably want to consider using influencers more heavily in the consideration and evaluation stages. Your customers — both B2B and B2C — are doing research, gathering opinions, references and proof points all before they engage with you. They likely will gather their information from trusted sources: subject-matter experts, like-sized businesses and tight circles (micro influencers).

  • B2B: Let’s take a common experience over the last year: communications during remote working. The decision makers at your companies either were previously prepared or had to scramble to figure out a comprehensive communication system that incorporated phone, email, instant messaging and video. Not every solution is high priced but the cost of getting it wrong can be huge. Can influencers sway the buyer? Sure, they can be tapped for opinions, case studies or references. According to research, more than 70% of B2B buyers fully define their needs before engaging with a company. They’re gathering data and forming opinions without talking to you directly — but they can be listening to influencers.
  • B2C: Is buying or leasing a new car a big deal for you? It is for most people. And like B2B, most people now want to do so without talking to a car salesman. In 1991, Saturn made news by letting customers shop how they wanted and having salespeople stand back. And 30 years later, according to Think Like Google, car shoppers have numerous alternatives to dealerships with at-home test drives, review videos, digital showrooms, online configurators and VR test drives. Can influencers sway the buyer? Yes. There’s a good chance you’ll find them in the videos and digital showrooms providing a more personal, expert opinion.

As a marketer, you need to make sure you’re using influencers for the right reasons and that how you’re using them matches the stakes the buyer faces. An influencer’s opinion can be a powerful voice — at every stage of the journey.

The Power of Diversity

The Power of Diversity

I’m delighted to note that it’s been a full two years since Imprint was first certified as a diversity-owned business with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the leading nonprofit advocacy group for the LGBTQ business community.  

As I mentioned in an NGLCC Spotlight last year, I was excited to join for two basic reasons: to fuel Imprint’s growth, and to give back by supporting others in the NGLCC and LGBTQ community.

We couldn’t be more proud of our progress. We have hired and subcontracted other member businesses, and sourced part- and full-time talent for our team. And we’ve won new business. At Imprint, we firmly believe our diversity is our strength. We personally and deeply recognize the value of respect and authenticity in all forms of communication. And we aim to embody that perspective in everything we do—how we work with our clients, our agency partners, our freelancers and our team members.

Please take a look at our Embracing Diversity video—and we’d love for you to join us in leaving your mark.

Celebrating Small Business Owners

Celebrating Small Business Owners

On behalf of clients, we have told the story of small businesses pivoting since March, which was the first wave of significant pandemic shut-downs in the US. As an independent project, and to celebrate National Small Business Week, we are telling the story of a catering business based in Atlanta, Occasional Occasions by Carlton.

Since I started Imprint seven years ago, I have met many fellow entrepreneurs through associations, organizations and events. While our small businesses are different from each other, the common thread among one segment of us tends to be focus, creativity and drive.

I want to celebrate my fellow entrepreneurs while highlighting one story, that of Carlton Brown.  Owner of a successful catering company in Atlanta, Occasional Occasions by Carlton, he is an example of the spirit of a small business owner: when big rocks, like a pandemic, get put in your way, quickly rethink, refuel and keep moving forward.

I met Carlton in November 2019 during an executive education program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business––I was sponsored by Freddie Mac, and Carlton by Wells Fargo. Both our businesses are certified as diversity-owned by the nglcc (National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).  I liked his business plan – and then, four months later, he had to rethink his whole model.

Please watch his story – if you watch it while hungry, you may find yourself ordering some products. And keep celebrating the entrepreneurs and small businesses out there – they are amazing people.

Journey Map Challenge: Transitioning to Work from Home

Journey Map Challenge: Transitioning to Work from Home

Here is Imprint’s…what is yours?

So many businesses — large and small — have had to migrate to a work from home (WFH) situation.

And it’s a journey! Bumps, laughs, mistakes, frustration—and, through it all, a lot of great work for our clients. Here’s my take on Imprint’s journey to date. I want to know what yours has been—I’m hoping you’ll share! (See how, below.)

Imprint’s Journey

We officially went to WFH status on March 12. While we made a “dry run” a few weeks earlier, we still had to deal with the reality of a new situation. It was a new experience for all of us—that meant lots of confusion and anxiety in an already anxious time.

Week one: Being remote is new, but we fundamentally know how to work this way. We’re getting into the groove of our daily 8:45 a.m. team video check-in, and half the guys are starting to grow facial hair. By week’s end kids and pets in the background are no longer the least bit distracting. The team is settling in.

Week two: Too many video calls! If we don’t have the commuting time, why are we working longer hours? Am I really needed for all these calls and meetings? Internal swirling ensues.

Week three: We establish “rules” for the length of meeting times, and further refine how our remote communications work. We’re enjoying our daily quiz game competition and hold our weekly Thirsty Thursday happy hour via video. We settle in, once again.

Week four: We might have fine-tuned our internal work process, but clients haven’t hit their strides yet. Alert: Clients swirling! Most are much bigger organizations than Imprint, and they’re understandably having trouble communicating with all their team members. We scramble to help them put the pieces together. By Friday, calmer waters prevail.

Week five: We’ve launched seven key initiatives since going to WFH, and we’re making significant progress on all. Some focus on improving our internal work flow. But most important, we’ve started to meet with clients and present our thinking on content their customers need when they reach the “recovery” phase. This means creating journey maps for key audience segments and mapping out the information and education they might need over the coming months.

Where will weeks six and beyond take us? That we’ll discover together. But what we do know is that it’s all about journey maps. What’s yours?

Email me your sketch, drawing or photo at

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

Like most of you, the Imprint team has begun working remotely. Luckily, two weeks prior we did a “dry run” for a day to test our technology and communications with everyone working from home. This helped make our move to remote pretty seamless.

The other thing we did at the outset was clearly define our focus and make sure all our team members know our priorities. As the news swirls around us, having a shared sense of purpose gives us all some much-needed stability:

1. Family first. The health and safety of the Imprint team and our families is our most important priority. Plus, if we’re not healthy, we can’t fulfill our obligations to our clients.

2. Clients. We’re focused on being both proactive and protective. Imprint’s core strength isn’t creating content during a crisis—it’s strategic, ongoing communications. So as a valuable partner we’re busy creating journey maps, walking in the shoes of our clients’ customers. By understanding and anticipating what these customers need and want, we’re helping our clients think two steps ahead in creating the right content, in the right format, to protect the valuable relationships they’ve built with their customers.

3. Morale. In the time of confusion, when your work family is suddenly not around, it’s incredibly important to be there for each other. To keep spirits up and keep our team moving forward together, we’ve established a morning video huddle. Starting each day at 8:45 a.m. checking in, listening and sharing has helped everyone maintain a routine—which we know is crucial in times of dramatic change. We have a “know your role” policy, which helps for effective and efficient meetings. And now we’re encouraging “know your role, plus.” Bring a story, a joke, an insight into how you and your family are coping. It helps bring some fun and much-needed humanity to each encounter.

Find your points and be laser-focused on them. They’ll help your team, your clients and your business push through this challenge.

Stay safe, stay healthy – and stay home.

We’re here to help, and to listen. Please always feel free to reach out to me at

New Team Members Join IMPRINT

New Team Members Join IMPRINT

We are excited to welcome Scot Maitland and Julissa Ortiz to the Imprint team.  They each bring something special to the agency, whether it be for clients in an emerging category or one where we have unmatched expertise.

Scot expands Imprint’s reach into health and wellness.  He has more than a decade of experience in sales and marketing in the space, and he has a track record maximizing the effectiveness of the programs he brings to clients by helping them collaborate and share across disciplines.  Healthcare has been a major part of his career:  He created the largest pharmacy industry publication dedicated to their members’ sales and marketing needs, and he has been an international speaker on the subject.

Julissa brings deep experience in financial services and especially within large matrixed organizations.  She joins Imprint from JPMorgan Chase & Co. where she spent the last 15 years of her career. Most recently, she was a Marketing Manager within the Commercial Bank, leading the development and execution of strategic marketing initiatives for the Corporate Client Banking business. In this role she was responsible for establishing the businesses’ national marketing strategy and developing its first metrics reporting framework.   She also served as a strategy executive within Consumer & Community Banking and as a finance executive within the Asset Management and Corporate businesses.

IMPRINT Expands Strategy Team

IMPRINT Expands Strategy Team

Michele Radcliffe has joined the Imprint team. As a senior marketer, Michele’s arrival reflects Imprint’s continued deepening acumen in the financial services industry as well as a deliberate expansion into additional categories.


As a Senior Director, strategy, Michele offers financial services clients new ideas and perspectives. Her career spans over two decades specializing in product marketing, content and campaign development, and partnership programs. She has worked with leading brands such as Charles Schwab, VISA International, and Morgan Stanley.


Of course, Michele’s personal interests will add to her impact at Imprint. When not immersed in an assignment, for example, Michele is passionate about creating purpose-driven campaigns and community-building experiences for non-profit organizations near her home in San Francisco.

Imprint Continues to Build Core Team

Imprint Continues to Build Core Team

We recently welcomed two new members to the Imprint Team. Berta Garcia Bustamante has joined as Executive Editor, and Molly O’Keefe has joined as a Managing Director, New Business.

Berta brings 20 years’ experience helping financial brands distill their value to their most important audiences and articulate what sets them apart. She has a dynamic mix of creative agency experience and in-house work, most recently working as the director of institutional intermediary marketing at MainStay/New York Life Investment Management. She has also worked as a contributing editor and trade journalist covering the policy, regulatory and legislative landscape across healthcare, tech and education verticals.

Molly has joined to expand Imprint’s footprint in new categories. She is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 25 years selling custom content marketing solutions to leading footwear, health and wellness brands; specifically, running, outdoor, sporting goods and action.

Molly’s most recent role was Publisher at Runner’s World. She has been associate publisher of Sporting Goods Business Magazine, where she was responsible for the sales and marketing for print, online and conferences. She served as director of sales/associate publisher for Outdoor Retailer magazine, specializing in print & expo sponsorships and worked as an account executive at Action Sports Retailer serving the surf, skate and snow B2B market.

A big welcome to Molly and Berta—the Imprint Team is all the stronger with you two on board!

How to Become Agency of the Year

How to Become Agency of the Year


2017 was an amazing year for Imprint. We had been nominated as Small Content Marketing Agency of the Year by CMA three times, and winning last September on our fourth consecutive nomination put a real spring in our step. Among other accolades, we were just named to Gramercy Institute’s Top 12 Financial Agencies for 2018.

To date, there have been over 50 awards for our clients and ourselves, and we haven’t yet reached our fifth year anniversary!

What’s the thread to creating the winning work? Some Imprint team members weigh in with six tips:


  • Tap the best of others

I think one of the strong suits of the team here is collaboration. There’s a real team effort in strategy and optimization, not the traditional silos that you see in other agencies.

– Brendan Burke, strategy @Imprint_Brendan


  • Don’t settle for cookie cutter

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to our work. Our content programs are strategic and highly tailored to the needs to our clients and their audiences. From scheduling and process, to editorial and creative, everything we do is customized to deliver the best end results for our clients. We push our clients out of their comfort zones and encourage them to try new formats and approaches that we believe can strategically help them reach their goals.

– Kim Papa, editorial @Imprint_KimP


  • Get your hands dirty

We combine strategy and creativity with roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done delivery.

– Meg Staknis, strategy 


  • Look outwards, not inwards

We’re laser-focused on our clients and on their business. We’re focused on their markets, their challenges, their audiences and the opportunities that content provides to create relationships and deliver results. We’re always looking at the bigger picture, the trends and technologies that will make our work as resonant, effective and innovative as possible.

– Duncan Milne, strategy @ContentDuncan


  • Be audience-first

Our work embodies the perspective of the audience. Always.

– Ashley Brenner, design @Imprint_AshleyB


  • Speak up!

The Imprint team is not afraid to question the norm, to voice an opinion.

– Ken Williams, business development @Imprint_KenW

5 Essential Content Marketing Ideas for 2018

5 Essential Content Marketing Ideas for 2018

A New Year can be a new beginning. Some people make resolutions, while others just reflect on the past. The Imprint team is all about looking ahead, and we’ve compiled five ideas to incorporate into your fresh thinking for 2018.

1. Stay nimble, stay ahead

Make 2018 all about testing, reading results and switching up your approach based on what you find. For example, when it comes to social, don’t just rely on organic engagement. Make sure you are testing paid promotion and leveraging influencers. You can be tactical using A/B testing on the fundamentals, and strategic by testing on new platforms, if your audiences are there.

2. Break the B2B mold

For years we’ve been moving our clients away from traditional B2B company talk and toward having a conversation with the audience that’s true to who they are: people.

3. Make it real

To exhibit expertise, brands create white papers. To drive engagement? Brands should tell stories, create a narrative and make their content relatable.

4. Use data wisely

In the age of Big Data, content marketers need to be thoughtful about the use of data in their programs. The key question to ask: what is the desired outcome of the use of data? Look at a customer’s journey through the sales funnel, and use data to serve up relevant content to increase engagement, if possible, at every interaction. In terms of showing personalization, we recommend layering that on more as the client moves deeper in the funnel.

5. Choose quality over quantity

Content marketing continues to become more complex, sophisticated and messy. Make sure that you are not creating new content just for the sake of creating it. Refresh and reimagine wherever possible and focus new content creation efforts on what you need to engage your key targeted audiences.

We’re starting the New Year off with renewed energy and ready to kick 2018 into high gear!

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