China Tech Talk 37: Weibo’s KOL woes with Elijah Whaley

Matt and John talk welcome Elijah Whaley, CMO of PARKLU, onto the show again. We catch up with what’s he’s been working on lately and then discuss some new heavy-handed rent-seeking from Weibo.

A few extra words from Elijah on creating the catalog:

In 2017 brands only selected to work with about 5% of the KOLs in our database, about 800 some. I feel like brands are still underutilizing KOLs marketing in depth and breadth. Most brands are using KOLs they recognize or feel safe with. There is actually very little true experimentation going on. This is while 1% of KOLs are making a killing. 5% are making a living. And the rest are starving. There is a huge opportunity to buy attention for cheap if marketers are willing to dig a little deeper and test. 

As our team was going through the KOL curation process for the catalog, we only selected 10% of the KOLs that had been used in campaign in 2017. The rest were fairly unknown to me, because I really only engage with KOLs that are a part of our campaigns. I personally examined and selected 200 plus KOLs in the catalog and was really shocked to see the quality of the content that is being created by these unknown KOLs. In one case, I was looking at a travel KOL’s profile and saw a picture of a friend that’s considered one of the best commercial video producers in China. I sent him a message and come to find out that it’s his girlfriend. I’m thinking to myself “Gosh, if some company would hire her for their campaign they would undoubtedly get more than they paid for because it’s likely she would employ the help of her boyfriend.” 

There is this whole uncapped world of super high quality niche KOLs and they just are not being engaged. That’s just part of what I learned going through this catalog creation process.  

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