If you’re a digital marketer, you know that sometimes there are just too many changes happening in the digital world. Following the top digital influencers is one of the most effective ways to keep up with the strategies, tools, trends, tips and tricks of this industry. Read further to meet another must-follow expert who shared his wisdom with us.
Igor Beuker (@igorbeuker)
At conferences and on Twitter, Igor is known as Math Man in a world of Mad Men. He has a track record as keynote speaker, TV host, award-winning marketing strategist for brands like Nike, Amazon, L’Oréal and Unilever, a new-breed trendwatcher for Fortune 500s, a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, and an angel investor. His purpose in life is to inspire the idea that people can use technology to be a great force of good.
Please, tell us shortly about your success story. What was the big breakthrough moment in your career?
My career path is weird. In the space of 25 years, I went from a college dropout to a radical marketing visionary, modern-day serial entrepreneur and a public speaker in the international business circuit. At age 47, I am starting to understand that every next level of your life will demand a new you.
My big breakthrough came after my deepest low in life. In 2002 doctors diagnosed me with cancer and gave me only one year to live. Remarkably, I survived and reinvention became the solid foundation I built my life upon. Charged with a renewed and “fuck it” mentality I gave up my CMO role at a listed corporate company in 2003 and started a community marketing agency, a social agency, and an online video metrics company. Gartner, Forester and IBM reported in 2002: communities are dead. That’s why I started community marketing firm LaComunidad in 2003: “Communities are dead? Well, let’s see about that”.
I scaled LaComunidad so fast, and got so many global brands on board, that the world’s leading media network WPP (Nasdaq WPPGY) acquired my 3 firms in 2008. Mission accomplished! Now I was a street kid that became a multi-millionaire. So I decided to give 50% of my exit to foundations that enhance education. I climbed out of the gutter and I owe everything to education. I will never forget.
As global strategy director for WPP, I transformed many established brands that required next-level change and reinvention. When my earn-out ended in 2012, I focused on my passion: Being a fulltime professional speaker. Later I jumped from the podium to the television screen. But I am still 100 times per year live on stage. I need the connection and interaction with my audiences. I listen and learn from them. And I get paid to discover the world. Not too bad for a ‘misfit’.
What has been your biggest digital marketing fail (and what did you learn from that)?
Pfff do you have a moment haha. I’ve made so many mistakes. Most of them are related to my personality, radical vision and entrepreneurial mindset. My business mantra for 25 years has been: Advertising may win quarters, innovation wins decades. Today, I still find it difficult to deal with the cover-my-ass, risk averse political corporate bullshit within incumbent brands. They still think that they can survive this era of Digital Darwinism with heavy campaigning.
The only way to survive and grow your business during Industry 4.0 is with a trend-driven, opportunity seizing innovation culture. Also within the Royal Navy (WPP) it was a challenge for me to break through the not-invented-by-me culture and Mad Men mindset. The best thing that came out of my passion and frustration? Mad Men vs. Math Men is my most popular talk. And the theme of my TV show. So I am grateful for the non-believers and the naysayers. Their pushback and denial convinced me to be even more persistent.
What’s your TOP 1 advice to other marketing specialists?
Stick to the core of marketing. That’s all about how many value relationships a brand can establish. ARPU (average revenue per user) is the only true marketing KPI I know. It makes companies profitable, predictable and it creates loyalty, ambassadors and organic growth.
CMOs must wake up. Social media were never meant to spam people with one-size-fits-all commercials. That’s old school linear Mad Men thinking. A true social marketing and long-term strategy is built on 2 pillars: ARPU and ALF (Always Listen First). Social advertising is not to be confused with social marketing. And advertising is not marketing. Marketing is coining the business trends of the 21st century. Get to know 100% of your customers, not 30% like most retailers.