Working in the product placement industry for over two decades allowed Kaaveh Shoamanesh to identify problems most advertisers face. This inspired him to build a platform to help them deliver their message to online communities more efficiently.
In this article, we’ll get to know Kaaveh, the inspiration behind Plaiced, and how this platform impacts influencer marketing.
Who is Kaaveh Shoamanesh?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh has over 21 years of experience in product placement, securing over $100 million from advertisers for top-rated T.V.T.V., film, and digital content in the U.S.U.S. and Canada. He co-created a diversity, equity, and inclusion kit for independent production companies to implement in Hollywood.
In addition, he and his team have launched a platform called Plaiced to enable advertisers to be in front of their target audience via online communities across all platforms.
How did you come up with the idea for Plaiced?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh has worked in the product placement industry for decades with different brands, producers, directors, and story editors. With his exposure to the industry, Kaaveh saw the biggest pain point and ended up developing a marketplace that connects brands and producers. He and his team launched it, but unfortunately, it wasn’t scaling up how they hoped. He admits, “We jumped the gun; we just built it. We went out there and just built it rather than validating the market to see if it was something that was going to scale to that size.”
Upon realizing their impulsiveness, Kaaveh Shoamanesh and his team decided to make something aligned with their purpose — and their purpose was to elevate the underestimated and overlooked, to give the 99% of the people the same privileges as the 1%.
By using a lot of feedback, they came up with a marketplace that enables advertisers to get their messaging in front of online communities faster and easier. Plaiced turned community owners into influencers who are able to make money from branded posts within their community.
On the other hand, community members benefit as they’ll have access to discounted products and services related to the community they signed up for — whether it’s a mom or pet owners’ group.
Can you describe Plaiced’s features and how they work to benefit businesses and creators?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh and his team worked hard to build Plaiced intuitively. Plaiced is a self-serve platform where advertisers input their target communities, say gamers, pet owners, or stay-at-home parents. Afterward, advertisers will place their budget on how much they want to spend and can include other details like what they plan to put in these online community chat feeds or attach images and other assets.
Once details are placed in Plaiced, advertisers will hit submit and pay. Then, Plaiced’s recommender system — which is patent pending in the U.S.U.S. — will provide them with around 10 to 20 different related contextual online communities based on their budget, target communities, as well as the past performance of those communities.
Advertisers can replace, choose, or blocklist communities for brand safety. Once they feel comfortable with the communities shown to them, advertisers will hit submit, and then their post gets sent to their chosen community owners.
Community owners have their own dashboards and receive a notification when they log in once their community is chosen. Community owners take the content from the advertiser and post it directly to their community. They provide a screenshot, proof, and link back to the advertiser. The money paid by the advertisers then leaves escrow and goes directly into the community owners’ bank accounts.
What makes Plaiced from other marketing platforms?
No other marketing platforms provide integration into contextual communities that are agnostic across platforms. Kaaveh says, “Meaning the niche of that community is the parent relationship in a sense it’s the lead. We start with the target and not with the siloed of other platforms, like Reddit or Facebook because Reddit owns Reddit. So naturally, they’re going to put advertising in their communities.”
Plaiced is agnostic across platforms, allowing advertisers to target and reach anyone they want. From this perspective alone, Kaaveh believes that Plaiced is unique.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when launching Plaiced, and how did you overcome them?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh admits to facing many different challenges that it’s tough to pick one that stands out. But he goes on by saying, “I guess when you’re trying to democratize something, the biggest challenge is to learn to balance the art between authenticity and being a chameleon.”
For Kaaveh and his team, they need to determine the fine line between ensuring they always remain authentic and honest while still being able to sell and tailor conversations that enable a fair deal between them and the investors.
What kind of businesses benefit the most from using Plaiced and why?
Any business that’s planning to go global, regardless of the size, can benefit from Plaiced. According to Kaaveh, they’re positioning themselves as an alternative to Facebook ads.
Presently, Plaiced’s community members are from all over the world. On average, about 30% of their community members are American, and the rest are from different parts of the globe. As a result, any businesses that want to go global or are already global can make the most out of Plaiced.
Can you share any success stories that have used Plaiced to grow their following?
Soul Knight, a gaming company, wanted to use Plaiced to increase the number of their members in their community. Before Plaiced, they would get about 60 to 70 different new members every day and organically.
When Plaiced put them in four different servers and four different communities, they ended up securing 924 new members in their community within 24 hours.
Another gaming company used Plaiced and saw results. But with the second case, it was a bit different from the first one as they sell products worth a thousand dollars. Plaiced did one community with this business, and they ended up getting about 80 to 90 clicks of qualified traffic directly to their site. This led to a sale worth thousands of dollars.
Do you have any exciting developments or updates planned for Plaiced in the future?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh shares that Plaiced has many plans coming, one of which is an ad copy similar to ChatGPT but is more niche-focused. This feature will be internally embedded into the platform, meaning advertisers who are already using Plaiced will be able to put in texts, and the system will automatically convert those into something that better resonates with their chosen audience.
How have you seen influencer marketing change in recent years? And where do you see it going in the future?
Kaaveh recognizes the competition present in the influencer marketing industry as anyone’s a creator now, fighting for attention. With that standpoint, it’ll be challenging to convert advertising into sales unless some of the big legacy influencers or someone viral will come into the picture.
Kaaveh Shoamanesh also believes it’ll be difficult for creators to stand out. But because everything in the world today is democratized, everyone will start to leverage the art of community for every action that they’re doing daily. He adds, “If you look at the direction of where things are going, everything relies on community and integrity.”
People worked alone during the pandemic, but now, everyone is connecting again. Because of that, Kaaveh is optimistic that people will explore more niches to discover what they like and realize what’s more important to them. He sees the power in communities, not just in advertising but to influence of any kind.
With the rise of short-form video content like TikTok and shorts, how do you see influencer marketing evolving and adapting?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh is confident that everyone will adapt perfectly fine to short-form content but admits an overload exists. He personally enjoys short-form content but doesn’t think this type of content betters the community as it gets people used to the idea of receiving a quick payoff.
For Kaaveh, the debate lies between democratization versus no barrier to entry. As of this moment, he feels that there is no barrier to entry as art has become subjective. Although entertaining, he’s not a huge fan of short-form content and continues to explain his reason:
“I have a son, and in my case, short-form content is instructing him in a different way that I don’t like as a father. So, I would rather teach him patience and value true creativity and not look at things as disposable.”
How important do you think micro-influencers are for businesses looking to reach a targeted audience?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh recognizes the importance of micro-influencers. He mentions that they’re the way to go as their audience is more active compared to larger, more established influencers. Because of this, businesses will not only get more engagement but also create a meaningful connection, as people today buy more with their ethos and values than they did before.
He admits to being a fan of micro-influencers and considers them a more affordable yet effective option than larger influencers. There are still larger influencers making waves today, but more micro-influencers have a more engaged audience.
How can businesses best leverage influencer collaborations to drive sales and increase brand awareness?
Kaaveh Shoamanesh suggests businesses to use influencer collaborations to build relationships. Not everyone will find this strategy helpful, but it can benefit both parties in the long run.
Kaaveh explains, “You look at it as, how can you help them? How can you help their community grow? Maybe you can drive some more traffic to them. Maybe you have your mini-community, which you can drive traffic to that influencer. If you do that for them, you’ll genuinely help their community grow and as it does, you grow too — everyone grows.”
Kaaveh shares that another way to leverage influencer collaborations is to engage with them. He suggests businesses structure their schedules to have time to comment on and like influencers’ posts. This way, influencers will do more for the brand and, in some cases, even do some free things for the brand rather than asking them to pay all the time.
Do you see any particular industry or market niche embracing influencer marketing in the future?
According to Kaaveh, NFTs would embrace influencer marketing in the future more than anyone. One reason is that NFTs are having difficulty in the mass market.
Using influencer marketing is a better strategy for a niche that’s difficult to be adopted. Through influencer marketing, industries get quicker touchpoints, more potential virality, and can educate faster in a way that they choose.
What are your thoughts about the creator economy, and how do you believe its impacts the marketing industry?
The creator economy for Kaaveh Shoamanesh is all about democratization. It enables people to live the quality of lives they choose and want and not to feel leveraged by another else. The rise of the creator economy gives more people the opportunity to decide whether they want to be employed or take several months off from work.
Kaaveh Shoamanesh believes the creator economy will only grow, especially now that short-form content empowers creators. He adds, “And there are tools that help creators sell more, monetize more, build communities more. So many companies are doing this, and everyone’s focus is on creators as they realize that people have influence — you don’t have to be a celebrity to have that.”
What advice do you have for creators looking to monetize their content and build their brand online?
For anyone who wants to succeed as a creator, Kaaveh advises focusing and staying on one niche and posting frequently and consistently with discipline and with intent. Any aspiring creator should treat this endeavor as a business and do everything with intent and a plan. As long as they focus, anyone will do well in the industry.
How important do you believe authenticity is in the creator economy, and what are some best practices for ensuring that collaborations built are authentic?
Although Kaaveh Shoamanesh believes that authenticity is paramount to the creator economy, he admits that it’s tough to tell whether creators are being authentic or not, even when people have become aware of such a notion.
He states, “But I think that’s beyond being an influencer; I just think that’s just human value.” For him, humans are naturally willing to help engage and support others and be authentic at all costs without fear of losing followers or being “canceled.”
Authenticity is important for Kaaveh Shoamanesh but doesn’t know how much it actually exists in terms of percentage or ratio. But he’s positive that anyone who remains authentic will have better chances of succeeding as followers value authenticity.