What is LTK?
Founded in 2011 by Amber Venz Box and Baxter Box, LTK quickly became the world’s leading premium lifestyle creator platform, allowing lifestyle creators to be more economically successful.
One of the founders, Amber Venz Box, was actually a creator herself, initially monetizing her fashion blog at the age of 21 and leveraging her vision for creator marketing to build LTK from the ground up. Today, over 6,000 brands collaborate with LTK to utilize its worldwide influencer network for content. LTK also has nearly 200,000 creators in over 100 countries, driving more than $3 billion in yearly retail sales.
Today, we’re speaking with Rodney Mason, the Head of Marketing for Brand Partnerships at LTK. His extensive work history includes being the CMO at FinTech companies. Prior to that, he led large global ad marketing agencies.
Investing in Small Businesses & Brands
Due to Amber Venz Box’s background as an influencer, LTK’s founders immediately focused on empowering creators and helping them become their own businesses. One of LTK’s other foundational goals is to give small brands a more level playing field when it comes to influencer marketing.
Rodney shares, “It [Direct consumer marketing] continues to grow at double-digit rates. Next year, it’ll be a $175 billion industry. It’s about $150 [billion] right now. So, they [the LTK founders] envisioned creating this platform that would allow brands of all sizes to come in and self-serve.”
The self-serve platform allows small brands to engage with creators directly. In January 2022, LTK decided to invest funds into smaller brands to help them accelerate their growth with creator commerce.
LTK has invested $1 million into brands signing up with LTK Connect. The funding is provided in multiple ways, including discounts on the platforms, acceleration of their campaigns, and other marketing funding to help them grow.
“After this investment, we’re already seeing tremendous growth. We just launched LTK Connect this year, and it’s exceeding our expectations.”
The LTK Connect platform has hundreds of brands participating and a variety of brands and industries currently represented.
Rodney shares that many of these brands are used to doing everything independently and leaning on a few helpers, such as their accountants or attorneys, to help them manage their business. However, influencer marketing can be hard to get into for a company that is limited on resources, especially when you’re starting from scratch. LTK simplifies and streamlines the influencer marketing process, saving brands time and money.
Many brands, like shortyLOVE and ANEA HILL, have scaled their businesses dramatically through the LTK Connect platform, allowing them to sell their products throughout the country and find new audiences.
“One of the things we’re doing is investing in research and other things, not only to help our big clients but also to help these folks, so to be a guide for them, just to say, “Hey, here’s what’s going on in the market.”
LTK Connect Case Studies
Rodney shares a few LTK Connect Visionaries Case Studies with us today, including Revolution Rose, a boutique founded in 2018 that started as a pop-up shop at barrel racing productions. With LTK’s help, Revolution’s founder was able to launch her online shop nationally using influencer marketing. They’ve seen an impressive growth of 25% in sales within the first few months of being in the LTK Connect Visionaries program.
Another great example is shortyLOVE, a designer bag company based in New York. Their company founder is a top designer who was looking to expand her marketing and reach audiences in the South and the West Coast. However, when she tried to get started with influencer marketing on her own, she struggled because of the considerable time commitment needed.
With LTK, shortyLOVE has been able to expand throughout the country and launch into influencer marketing. Their founder notes that LTK creators have been great about showing off the intricate details of her bags, which has increased her business’ sales and reach.
The Creator Marketplace
Rodney shares that one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the creator marketplace has been the shift from people purchasing influencer recommendations because they share the same taste or skin tone, in the case of makeup or clothing, to influencers becoming personal shoppers.
“They [influencers] are good personal shoppers, and so consumers are going to them for everything. It’s total lifestyle [content]. We have consumer packaged goods companies that work with this and food companies and all kinds of electronics and other things. It’s not just fashion and beauty because these creators have built this trust, and now they’ve got these giant followings.”
Many viewers now trust creators for recommendations in all areas of their lives. For example, people may ask creators about the artwork on their walls or their favorite kitchen gadgets, even if the influencer focuses on fashion content.
“It’s become this full circle for them, which is great. It creates more opportunities [and] creates more shopping around. It’s good for big retailers that want to sell multiple things across the department, but it’s not staged. It’s really natural.”
Rodney shares that creators are becoming more trusted than celebrities and even celebrities in their own right. However, they retain a greater sense of trust with their viewers.
Another notable change is creators sharing on multiple platforms. Previously, creators would stick to a primary platform. However, Rodney shares that it’s much more common for creators to share that they’ve joined additional platforms and to build a multi-platform audience.
In the future, LTK will continue to expand its media-boosting features, which drive creator businesses.
“So, what that is, is when a creator makes an organic post or makes a post working with LTK, we can actually go inside their post, and we can boost it on social platforms so we can spend money behind it and take the same audiences that they’re used to and reach new audiences with it. We do it in a way that’s very organic. You know that it’s an ad, but it doesn’t look like an ad.”
Rodney shares that sometimes brands take creator imagery and make an ad from it. However, the ad will look less organic. LTK maintains the organic nature and feel of the post, which drives more business for brands because it’s much more believable than a traditional ad or celebrity post.
“It’s driving more engagement for the creators in new followers. All that’s flowing through LTK, so it’s really a win for everybody. We’re very excited about media boosting. It’s a big opportunity for us to move into.”
“The more viewers we have there [on the app], the more opportunity they [creators] have to grow their audiences and sell more products and earn more commissions.”