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Inside Influencer Marketing Insights From Mae Karwowski, CEO Of Obviously


Insights From Mae Karwowski, CEO Of Obviously: Inside Influencer Marketing

Founded in 2014 by Mae Karwowski, Obviously has established itself as a leading influencer marketing agency. The company, headquartered in New York, offers a comprehensive range of services, including marketing strategy, influencer identification, content creation, campaign management, and in-depth reporting and analysis. 

Inside Influencer Marketing: Insights From Mae Karwowski, CEO Of Obviously

“Obviously is a proprietary tech platform, with a full-service agency that sits on top of it. And we help brands work with and create the largest networks of influencers for themselves”, Mae explains. 

Her background in social media set the stage for her entrepreneurial venture. She reflects, “Started the company about ten years ago, and before that, I was doing a lot of work in social media like managing the Facebook pages for the Real Housewives franchise for Bravo.” But her expertise extended beyond reality TV, as she worked with a diverse array of brands. “I worked for JCPenney, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Coca-Cola,” she recalls, highlighting the breadth of her experience.

However, it was her acute observation of the cultural shifts driven by social media that led Mae to embark on this entrepreneurial journey. She explains, “I quickly realized that culture was being defined by what was happening on social media. And I knew that I could create a company that embodied that”.

Mae envisioned a model where brands could engage not just with one colossal creator but with a multitude of smaller creators, her idea revolved around creating numerous relationships, generating a vast array of content, and connecting with audiences on a more personal level. “The overall experience and output are dramatically different than working with one very large creator,” she emphasizes. “Now we work not just with nano, micro-influencers, but also with a lot of influencers who have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers or are just true celebrities,” Mae explains. 

Inside Influencer Marketing: Insights From Mae Karwowski, CEO Of Obviously

Obviously: A Pioneer in Influencer Marketing

“We have built our own proprietary technology, and we build technology for our clients on a customized basis”, Mae states.  This bespoke approach allows Obviously to cater to a diverse array of clients, including global giants like Google, Amazon, Ulta, and Domino’s Pizza.

Each client presents unique challenges and business objectives, and Mae believes Obviously’s ability to craft customized technology solutions sets it apart. This not only empowers brands to connect with creators but also facilitates scaling up their influencer networks. She underscores the importance of scale for larger brands, stating, “If you’re a big brand, you can’t work with 15 creators and expect to be able to see measurable results. You need to be working with 2500 creators to really see measurable results.”

She further elaborates on the various metrics that clients prioritize to determine success; “Some clients are all about ROI. ‘How much revenue are we driving?’ ‘How much revenue can we attribute to this influencer, into this campaign?’”, Mae says. This underlines the importance of return on investment (ROI) for some clients, who seek a direct correlation between influencer efforts and revenue generation.

Additionally, Mae discusses clients who prioritize market share, stating, “It’s all about our ability to continue to dominate our space.” For these clients, maintaining and expanding their market presence through influencer marketing is a key success factor.

Mae’s insights showcase the multifaceted approach that Obviously employs to measure the success and effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns, tailored to the unique goals and KPIs of their clients.

Crafting Genuine Connections in Influencer Marketing

“We want to make sure that we are finding creators who just genuinely love the brand and love the product,” Mae emphasizes that when influencers genuinely connect with the brand, the content performs better, benefiting both the influencer and the brand.

She adds, “From a data perspective, we focus on analyzing key metrics: the number of sponsored posts a person is doing, their organic posts, and the range of companies they discuss.” Authenticity is assessed by considering the balance between sponsored and organic content, as well as the sentiment in the comments. Mae also mentions that they involve influencers in the creative process to gauge their knowledge and passion for the brand.

This approach ensures that influencers chosen by Obviously are not just promoting brands for monetary gain but are genuinely aligned with the brand’s values and products, resulting in more authentic and engaging collaborations.

Transitioning from the core ethos of authenticity in collaborations, Mae’s focus shifts to the vital role of diversity and inclusion in influencer marketing. “All our marketing is multicultural marketing, we just don’t advertise it that way”, she says, challenging the notion of segregating multicultural marketing as a separate entity and emphasizing that influencer marketing, by nature, should encompass diversity without the need for separate divisions.

“We believe the diversity is incredibly important”, she states. “The reason that brands are choosing to work with creators is they’re representative of everyday people.”

She concludes by expressing her hope that the broader marketing and advertising industry catches up with the inclusive approach embraced by the influencer industry, saying, “I feel like the creator industry should really be leading.” 

Empowering Creators and Shaping the Future: Mae Karwowski on the Creator Economy

“I love that my company is really helping creators make a sustainable living. Maybe take it from a part-time or a hobby into something full-time and their true career and their true calling”, Mae says. 

Looking ahead, she envisions a promising future for creators. Mae anticipates an increase in the number of brand deals, opportunities, and the pricing flexibility that creators can command. Additionally, she sees creators taking control of their careers, moving beyond content creation to build their own businesses. She believes that the creator landscape will give rise to a new wave of innovative businesses, stating, “All the new biggest businesses are going to be created by creators in the next 20 years.”

Charting a Vision for the Future: Mae’s Ambitions for Obviously

“We want to provide the best experience for brands. The best technology, the best data,” Mae asserts, highlighting her commitment to excellence in every facet of Obviously’s operations.

Furthermore, she emphasizes the dual focus of her vision – not just enhancing brand experiences but also empowering creators. “And then we want to create the best opportunities for creators to grow their careers,” she shares, revealing the heart of Obviously’s mission to nurture talent and creativity.

Excitingly, Mae hints at new developments that promise to add a dynamic edge to Obviously’s offerings. “We’re doing some really, really interesting things with live streaming now. I think that’s going to be really exciting,” she reveals, offering a glimpse into the innovative directions the company is exploring.

Mae’s optimism and forward-thinking approach underscore her belief in the road ahead for Obviously. “I think we’re really on that path,” she concludes, signaling a future rich with potential and innovation for both brands and creators alike.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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