AI is a Game Changer (so why aren’t we using it)?

Steph Martin is brand marketing leader with an expertise in influencers, partnerships, and brand strategy. Her decade of experience spans industries with an integrated approach to talent, media, entertainment, and brand partnerships. Steph began her career on the agency side activating influencer campaigns for brands like Walmart, Sephora, Warner Brothers, and Verizon before transitioning to in-house roles at ThirdLove and Hims & Hims to establish brand marketing programs. Her specialties include building brand activation strategies and leveraging partnerships to grow emerging companies into beloved household names.



[00:00:00] Steph Martin: And I think that’s a broader communication thing, right? I also think as people in the influencer marketing space, we have to remember, and I try to remember this myself, not everybody understands this the way that we understand it, right? We live this, we breathe this, but there are people out there who still don’t understand the point of influencer marketing, who don’t see a value in it, right, 

[00:00:22] Jessy Grossman: or who sees that value differently 

[00:00:25] Steph Martin: then you do.

[00:00:33] Jessy Grossman: Hello, hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining. I’ve been having a little bit of an existential crisis when it comes to this podcast, and I wasn’t sure whether or not I should just say it. Be honest about that and like share that with you guys of all people, because you listen to this show and theoretically you enjoy what it is.

[00:00:57] Jessy Grossman: But okay, I’m going to do that. I’m going to be honest with you guys. And I don’t know, I would love to hear your thoughts. So basically I’ve been doing this podcast, I think since 2018, the community launched in 2017 and the podcast I think was one year later, which is pretty insane to think we have like.

[00:01:17] Jessy Grossman: I think we’re approaching like 300 episodes and for the past couple of years, maybe even longer than that, I’ve been doing the most consistent. This has been one of the most consistent things in my whole life, to be completely honest, like recording episodes every single week. It’s a long time and I’m not someone that necessarily does things that consistently.

[00:01:38] Jessy Grossman: My ADHD self would like, it’s unnatural for me. I bring all that up because I Have been wanting to do more personal episodes. I certainly have recorded a few this year in particular, and I just get so much out of that. I want for us. Like as a woman to remove stigmas on things I want to have like really important conversations and like sure those conversations occasionally can revolve around influencer marketing, but sometimes they don’t sometimes it’s about what I shared a few episodes ago about fertility issues.

[00:02:19] Jessy Grossman: Sometimes it’s about the relationships that we’re in or the good things in life that have to do with our pets and like literally have nothing to do with influenza marketing. So I’m having a little bit of an existential crisis because, and I’m so dramatic right now, it’s not that deep, but I’ve been contemplating.

[00:02:35] Jessy Grossman: Starting a whole new podcast and having it be, having it not be about influencer marketing, having it not be any about anything other than just sort of the timely topic of the week and what’s on my mind and just having some deeper conversations. And I don’t know if anyone would listen to it. I’m just being candid with you guys.

[00:02:57] Jessy Grossman: I think that’s like a fear of mine. I mean, obviously, right? Like you would put it out there and Everyone’s like, no, we just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Just like talking about influencer marketing. Like that’s what we come to you for. And the other stuff’s fine, but like, no, we’re good. And I guess like, I’d always take that risk.

[00:03:18] Jessy Grossman: Like that’s the risk that. I would take and it very, it could turn out in either direction. I guess that’s not a reason not to do it. I’m just talking out loud with you guys. I’m curious, like, do these, just any solo episodes that I’ve done, like, would you be curious, would you be Interested? Would you listen to a podcast that was just more of that?

[00:03:40] Jessy Grossman: I’m like, I feel so vulnerable asking this question, but it’s a real question and I don’t have the answer to it. Only you guys do. So it’s something that’s been on my mind. I would love to hear your thoughts. I love it when you guys reach out to me and during the personal episodes that I’ve shared, that’s when most of you have reached out to me and I love that.

[00:04:01] Jessy Grossman: And I love being able to facilitate these. Like really impactful, deeper, like de stigmatizing types of conversations around like some pretty like taboo topics. That’s one of my favorite things to do. And I just wonder if I bring that to this podcast if that would make any Since I’ve done it a couple of times because I basically couldn’t help myself, and thank you to you guys who have been receptive to it.

[00:04:30] Jessy Grossman: But the reality is like, I look at our numbers and while I got a lot of reachouts about some of those personal episodes, they weren’t our most listened-to. So I think it’s, I think I would want to, and I do not want to, I think I would need to keep them separate. And I would love to hear from you guys if that’s something that you’d be interested in.

[00:04:47] Jessy Grossman: I would love to have a co-host. I would love not to just do this show myself. I would love to talk like, like the almost 30 podcasts. I don’t know if you guys know that one. It’s a really good one. They’re good. Well into their thirties now, that’s how long it’s been on the air, but you know, it’s like two women and they just have this great banter and sometimes they do solo episodes, but most of the time it’s the two of them.

[00:05:07] Jessy Grossman: And I don’t know, I got to find my co-host. So it’s just something that’s been on my mind. So I wanted to share with you guys and yeah, We’ll see what comes of it. I don’t know. But there is a desire there and with that desire, that was infused in today’s conversation because again, like I couldn’t freaking help myself.

[00:05:26] Jessy Grossman: I’m like that person. So yes, this is an interview episode, but it’s with a good friend of mine, someone that I’ve respected, someone who I look up to, and admire, I love her energy and her passion. And we’ve been friendly now for. Probably like 10 years, which is crazy to think about, I remember getting breakfast with her in LA when she worked at Style Hall.

[00:05:50] Jessy Grossman: I probably worked for the talent agency Buck Walls that I used to work at. I did not have my agency yet and I liked her so much back then and so many years later I’m like, God, I still like you so much. She just has such a great vibe. I know you’re going to enjoy listening to her., the woman I’m referring to, is Steph Martin, and she works for an incredible tech company, but I’m going to tell you a little bit about her background, and then we’re going to dive into this episode, and you’re going to hear, also in her own words, we talk about so much stuff on this episode, guys, we talk about AI, Which, like, we talk about AI.

[00:06:27] Jessy Grossman: I won’t even get into it now. Listen to the episode. We, there’s so much to talk about for that. We talk about, you know, starting a brand marketing program from the ground up. We talk about taboo and difficult categories to talk about influencer marketing. Like, you know, what do I do if I’m trying to get influencers to talk about an underwear brand or a bra brand?

[00:06:48] Jessy Grossman: Like, how do I get influencers to post in their bra, maybe they’ve never posted that type of content online before. How do I get them to talk about sexual health hair loss or IBS products? There are some challenging products out there. What do you do? We talk about empowering women in the workplace and how, how to advocate for yourself, and what to do when things aren’t necessarily going your way.

[00:07:13] Jessy Grossman: And we also talk about influencer rates and negotiating tactics and communication styles. We had such good topics today and such good conversation. I just finished recording, so I can vouch is a good one. And we get into it. We go there and we talk about personal stuff too. So anyway, it’s a great episode.

[00:07:33] Jessy Grossman: A little bit about Steph before we dive in. She’s a brand marketing leader with expertise in influencers, partnerships, and brand strategy. Her decade of experience spans industries with an integrated approach to talent, media, entertainment, and brand marketing. Partnerships. She began her career on the agency side, activating influencer campaigns for brands like Walmart, Sephora, Warner Brothers, and Verizon before transitioning to in-house roles at Third Love and at him’s and hers to establish their brand marketing programs.

[00:08:07] Jessy Grossman: Her specialties include building brand activation strategies and leveraging partnerships to grow emerging companies into beloved household names. She’s at a tech company now. So you can see like. She has worked in so many different sectors from agency to in-house. It’s, she’s got an incredible amount of experience and she shares that with us today.

[00:08:28] Jessy Grossman: I’m so excited for you guys to connect with her, and she’s one of our mentors as part of Wim. I’m a fan girl. I feel like I’m fangirling, but it’s ’cause I’m, I adore her. Without further ado. Introducing Steph Martin.

[00:08:44] Jessy Grossman: This show is sponsored by Women in Influencer Marketing, better known as WIM, the best online community for the creator economy. 

[00:08:53] Steph Martin: You will meet fellow influencer marketers. You’ll 

[00:08:55] Jessy Grossman: Meet brands. You’ll meet talent agencies to talk shop, get hired, and even find a mentor. When you become a member, do not forget to subscribe.

[00:09:05] Jessy Grossman: Check out all of our incredible resources. For example, we have dozens of masterclasses from the top voices, TikTok, 

[00:09:12] Steph Martin: YouTube, 

[00:09:14] Jessy Grossman: award-winning agencies, and women who are paving the way for us all. So if you want the chance to network with a FUSU in influencer marketing, check out what it takes to become a member, make more money, and have fun doing it.

[00:09:29] Jessy Grossman: Visit Iamwim. com slash join that’s I A M W I M. I I M dot com slash join today. And I so look forward to seeing you more around the community. All right. We are officially recording. So, I mean, I don’t know. We’re just sitting here talking about like our knockoff Stanley’s and our love of Amazon. That’s like, honestly, what we should just do this entire episode about is our love of Amazon.

[00:09:57] Steph Martin: The best Amazon 

[00:09:58] Jessy Grossman: buys. Yeah. Right. Like countdown. Do you watch like? Amazon roundups. Like, do you follow Amazon influencers and stuff who share things that they recommend on 

[00:10:10] Steph Martin: there? So I used to, and I found it to be too dangerous and too tempting for me. And so actually it’s funny. I had this conversation with a couple of my colleagues where we were talking about what are like the money habits that we want to personally change in our own lives going into 2024, the end of last year.

[00:10:25] Steph Martin: And I said, less store dash and less impulse of Amazon buys. So for my own. Sanity. I ended up unfollowing all of those people who were encouraging me to buy things that I probably didn’t need. They were cool and fun, but that was the end of my Amazon influencer follow 

[00:10:42] Jessy Grossman: because they’re so tempting and some of the stuff on there is so good.

[00:10:45] Jessy Grossman: It almost feels like gambling or something or like a little shopping addiction. Yeah, I was, we were talking about, I mean they have like, they have clothes on there like gadgets, little home stuff, and the thing is like some of the prices on there are so cool. Like trivial that you’re like, I don’t know if it’s like an 8 thing, but like they add up.

[00:11:06] Steph Martin: It does a hundred percent. So you gotta be careful. That’s one thing that I’m trying to be more mindful of this year is less impulsive purchases 

[00:11:15] Jessy Grossman: overall. And you’re, and so like you’re between LA and San Francisco, right? Like what percentage of your time are you in each city? Most 

[00:11:21] Steph Martin: of the time in the Bay Area, every once in a while in LA.

[00:11:25] Steph Martin: Okay. 

[00:11:26] Jessy Grossman: I was thinking, it was like, so I’ve been to LA, or I’ve been to LA more times than San Francisco, but I’ve been to San Francisco maybe like twice my whole life. Oh, no way. Okay. Only twice. And I loved it. And I have heard, correct me if I’m wrong, that like, There are a lot of, there’s like a little bit of a crime problem right now.

[00:11:46] Jessy Grossman: And I bring that up just because like, I’ve been seeing that here in New York as well. And so like when we get, we’re like, and I make this whole episode about Amazon packages. When we get Amazon deliveries, I have to legit run downstairs because it’s like a thing that people will follow the Amazon trucks.

[00:12:05] Jessy Grossman: They make their delivery. And then they just literally steal people’s packages. Are you seeing that in San Francisco? Cause I heard that. I 

[00:12:12] Steph Martin: believe it. I haven’t personally seen it, but I do believe it. And I’m also very quick to pick up a package. Once it’s dropped off, there’s like a gate, you know, a lot of people have gates.

[00:12:21] Steph Martin: A lot of people have secured package areas, but even then it’s dicey. And I believe that people would follow an Amazon truck, unfortunately, especially around the holidays or, you know, times when they know package deliveries are up. So I, you got to be 

[00:12:35] Jessy Grossman: careful. Yeah. I swear though, like the times, the couple times that I’ve gotten something taken, it’s like the dumbest stuff.

[00:12:42] Jessy Grossman: It’s like never like the cost of something significant. It’s always like the, like, it’s just not an expensive item, but like something that you needed, like that was pretty timely. And you’re like this, this was the one that you took. Why would you do that? I do think that like from a brand’s perspective, I imagine that like, That must be like a logistical nightmare because like, who’s eating the cost of that?

[00:13:05] Jessy Grossman: I think the truth is that the customers end up eating the cost of it only because the brands probably have to just raise the prices of the items to make up for like the lost merchandise when Amazon inevitably is just like, of course, we’ll just send you a new one. Like that cost comes from somewhere, you 

[00:13:22] Steph Martin: know?

[00:13:23] Steph Martin: Yeah. I mean, I’m sure it’s coming from multiple places, but yes, it’s always like the things that are just inconvenient. So like I had laundry detergent taken once, right? Where it was the very last, I was like down to the last drop. I needed to do some laundry. I Amazon Prime that detergent. I was like, okay.

[00:13:38] Steph Martin: I need to wash all my clothes. And that was the package that got stolen. It was like soap and laundry detergent. But that’s the, like, 


[00:13:45] Jessy Grossman: don’t get it, but that’s the stuff that when you go to like a Walgreens or something, that’s always been like locked up or with like a security tag on it. In New York, it’s insane.

[00:13:55] Jessy Grossman: We’re going on a subject tangent right now, but like in New York, you will see now, like today, if you go into Manhattan, you’ll see like, you’ll go to a Walgreens and in front. Of the Walgreens, there’s stuff being sold like bootleg that they stole from inside and they’re selling it outside.

[00:14:13] Jessy Grossman: I believe that’s wild. It’s insane. And I just like, there is a connection to this, like to, you know, a broader like marketing or brand, you know, conversation because like these costs get passed on. And like, I just imagine from a brand’s perspective, like how do you Deal with that? This is such a hypothetical question, but like, I do wonder, you know, what you do about that if you’re on the brand side to combat that.

[00:14:41] Jessy Grossman: Anyways, we have, I have a bunch of like really interesting topics that I want to get into. So I’m going to stop talking your ear off about shoplifting in New York and San Francisco. Although I don’t know, who knows, maybe we’ll circle back. But anyways, I’m so excited to have you I feel like it’s like a long time overdue and you’ve been part of WIM for so long and like even more than WIM, like we’ve just partnered on stuff like we known each other like for years now.

[00:15:07] Jessy Grossman: So we heard a little bit about your background in the intro of the episode, like in my words, like on paper. But I always like to hear. From your perspective, like tell us a little bit about your career path, and your journey, cause you’ve been with such cool companies over the years as well. And a brief synopsis in your own words of how you got to where you are today.

[00:15:30] Jessy Grossman: All right. 

[00:15:30] Steph Martin: I love this question because. It wasn’t planned. And I think a lot of people maybe try to overengineer their careers, right? They, it’s very strategic as you should be, but there’s also a lot of something, there’s something to be said for serendipity or things that just kind of fall into place because they’re meant to be.

[00:15:47] Steph Martin: And that’s what happened to me in terms of influencer marketing. So I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years now. Before that, I started in PR and it was my first job. Out of college. And we started to have clients ask us about bloggers. Now, this was again, pre influencer marketing. So, you know, more than 10 years ago at this point.

[00:16:06] Steph Martin: And our clients were like, Oh, well, can we send at the time our client was like some authors and they had books and book publications. Can we send our books specifically children’s books? Can we send our books to bloggers like mommy bloggers who were kind of bubbling up back in the day? And so we tested that out, got some coverage, and then we had other clients start to ask about that, even in other industries.

[00:16:27] Steph Martin: This was not just fashion and beauty, but like other types of industries too, although I had some fashion and beauty clients, we sent sandals to a couple of bloggers, okay, surprise, they posted it. And it was working, it was driving traffic. And so this became more and more of a need at this boutique PR agency I was working at.

[00:16:44] Steph Martin: And at the time, Before working on this, I was working on more traditional PR and media things like pitches and press releases and coordinating events, right? And eventually, they said, Hey, you know, you’re a young person at this company. This is a new thing, figure it out. And so I started to do that right for our clients.

[00:17:03] Steph Martin: And eventually I realized that I loved it. And I felt like there was something there. And so I decided I wanted to find a place that was doing this more because I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. Truthfully, it was such a new industry. I didn’t a hundred percent know what I was doing. Right. It was also very new in my career at the time.

[00:17:22] Steph Martin: And so I ended up getting a job at an agency that is no longer around called Style Hall, which is how I ended up meeting you, Jesse. And I started off building these brand programs for clients. And a lot of the time, again, going back to the industry being so new. Some of the programs we were building were the first-ever influencer programs.

[00:17:42] Steph Martin: These major brands had built right. Brands like CoverGirl and Sephora collection. They’re in-house line brands like Procter and Gamble and Braun. And like a lot of these were very early Walmart, very early influencer programs. And so we were just testing and learning. And I’m really happy that I went agency side, even though, again, it was just kind of something that I started doing and fell into, but I’m happy that I chose to pursue it in the agency side first because it gave me such a breadth of knowledge in a time when the industry was coming up that I got to see not only how one client or one brand was doing it, but how the host of all of these different brands was deploying different strategies, trying new things out, hosting events, sending packages, but also.

[00:18:25] Steph Martin: You know, booking brand campaigns across YouTube and Instagram at the time. This was even pre-Instagram stories, right? Like how are those posts performing before Instagram fully supported video content? Like real is the way it does today. So even just being there from the beginning and getting to see how these brands were building some of their first-ever influencer programs was great.

[00:18:45] Steph Martin: And. I loved it. I got to meet a lot of amazing talent managers. I got to meet a lot of amazing creators and amazing brands. But one of the things that I felt like was missing is I would build these relationships with creators and they would come to me and say, I have this awesome idea. I know you contracted me for this campaign with X brand, but I heard you guys are working with Y brand and I had this idea.

[00:19:05] Steph Martin: I want to pitch to them. And of course, we could go pitch that to our clients. But being that we were the agency, we were only contracted for a certain scope of work. So maybe we weren’t contracted to be pitching for that specific product that the creator wanted to work on, or we weren’t contracted to be pitching for that, that, you know, upcoming release that was happening.

[00:19:23] Steph Martin: We were only scoped for very specific work streams. And my thought around that was like, Hey, wait a minute. I want to be able to help bring this to life. Like I know these creators, these are great ideas that I think can drive value based on what I’ve seen across all of these other brands.

[00:19:39] Steph Martin: But I felt like my hands were tied in a lot of ways because I wasn’t the decision-maker. So I said in my next role, I want to go be the brand and I want to make those choices about how we work with creators. I want to be somebody who can build those relationships listen to those ideas and act on some of these things that creators are pitching that I think are legitimately good ideas.

[00:19:59] Steph Martin: So that’s what I did. I moved to San Francisco. I got a job at a women’s bra and underwear company called Third Love built their first-ever influencer program from the ground up, built that out, and worked across a multitude of functions on mostly the brand side, but also very growth side. How do we?

[00:20:17] Steph Martin: Use influencers to drive effective and efficient growth at the company, especially in the DTC world, hopped on over to him and hers built that program out, and now in the tech world and have built out another program. So it’s just been something that, you know, happened, I think, supernaturally.

[00:20:34] Steph Martin: It wasn’t planned, especially when I was thinking, you know, I think of myself with this PR firm 10 years ago, and influencer marketing didn’t exist. This whole thing started because I was sending products to bloggers and I really, it was a case of the right place, the right time, and an interest to take on something new.

[00:20:52] Steph Martin: And I loved being part of something that at the time, you know, we all used to joke was like the Wild West and it was, and I think in a lot of ways it still is compared to traditional media. But I loved being able to be a part of something where. We were all building and learning and growing together and everything was new and there was constantly new development, new tech, and new things we should be aware of in the industry.

[00:21:14] Steph Martin: So it’s been great. And that’s how we got to be here. And 

[00:21:17] Jessy Grossman: there still is like a newness, but nothing beats those early days, you know, like the excitement of, and like everything was so new. And it was like exciting and it was promising. I just wrote a post earlier today about how, like, that’s sort of why I got into it in the first place.

[00:21:39] Jessy Grossman: And transparently, I almost like thought we kind of would have been like a little bit further along in like our innovation, like 10, 15 years later, like on a certain level, I think that like, okay, like, well, something matures and the level of innovation, like. It makes sense that it would slow a little bit, but like, I wish it didn’t.

[00:22:00] Jessy Grossman: I’m curious that you’re talking about how like progression of your career. It certainly wasn’t necessarily like, all right, I’m going to go from here to there. And it’s very strategic. But I wonder, like, so that was your path before. Do you feel like anything’s changed now that you’re about 10 years into your career?

[00:22:18] Jessy Grossman: Do you feel like you’re a little bit more strategic now or how do you feel about that? 

[00:22:24] Steph Martin: Definitely. I also think that you know, influencer marketing in the way that In my experience and the way that I’ve been able to go through it with my career has given me a ton of exposure to so many different aspects of in-house marketing teams and businesses.

[00:22:39] Steph Martin: So I’ve sat on growth teams, I’ve sat on brand teams, PR teams, but not only that, but I’ve also sat on social teams and work cross-functionally with the life cycle, marketing teams, integrated marketing teams, and got exposure to so many different parts of the business. And I think. For me, one, yes, definitely more mindful now than I was 10 years ago about where I’m going and the type of work that I want to work on, but also thinking about how can I use all of that amazing experience that I have that’s just beyond.

[00:23:12] Steph Martin: Influencer marketing, which people think of as its category because it’s not and build something holistic that encompasses all of those different things. And I think when we talk about the next frontier, that’s what influencer marketing is in the next frontier. It’s not, you know, you just have an influencer team in the corner and they send packages out for gifting, or it’s not, you pay a few influencers to talk about your brand.

[00:23:34] Steph Martin: It’s how do you wake that partnership? Work for you across all of these different functions to lift your company overall, right? How do you strategically use influencers for growth and brand? How do you build a brand with influencers that also drive efficient and organic company growth over time? So you’re not having to put his money into your paid and it lowers your tax overall.

[00:23:56] Steph Martin: How can you use it to boost your life cycle and engage your existing members users or customers? So I think that the next frontier is it’s no longer just a siloed thing that people are doing on the side, which is what it was, right? I think 10 years ago now it’s how do you integrate it throughout the full funnel of your marketing and your brand?

[00:24:17] Jessy Grossman: Yeah. A hundred percent. And I think that it’s like so smart to think of it like that. And I feel like perhaps it could be a little overwhelming for people to say like, Oh my God, now we got to like to overhaul what perhaps we’ve built for decades or has existed for decades, whether it’s an advertising arm or a marketing arm.

[00:24:34] Jessy Grossman: And the answer is like, well, you don’t have to do it. You don’t have to do anything, but like it probably would benefit you if everybody’s talking to each other. And there are so many synergistic opportunities. if, you know, like there’s opportunities between them. So I’m curious though. So like, I mean, you said a few times now, like you’ve started a brand marketing program, like from the ground up, which I think is a very unique experience to have had.

[00:25:03] Jessy Grossman: Many people are plugged in after the fact. I’m curious, like, Having been through it a few times, what are some of your major takeaways, and which strategies would you implement the next time around knowing what you know? 

[00:25:16] Steph Martin: Yeah, it’s a great question. So a couple of things come to mind when you’re building a brand overall, you have to think about the bigger message and what you say.

[00:25:24] Steph Martin: Stand for, because just saying we’re a brand and we believe in X is one thing, but you need to have a solid core set of brand values that you truly believe in that flow through everything that you do. So that’s on the brand side when it comes to influencers. I think it’s also important to understand how influencers fit in within this business.

[00:25:43] Steph Martin: How do you want to use it? Cause of our earlier conversation, right? You can use it for any of those things. You can use it for acquisition. You can use it for brand. You can use it for PR. You can, you know, there’s a million ways to use influencers. But I think as somebody who comes in and is the builder and the leader of this program, you have to sit there and think about what is the most strategic and efficient way that we can use influencers to power our business.

[00:26:07] Steph Martin: And maybe it’s growth, maybe it’s brand, maybe it’s both, but I would also think through what the business needs right now. So a very early-age startup, you’re focused on, you know, efficient marketing. You’re focused on acquisition marketing because. You don’t have a ton of funding, maybe to build a brand for the longterm.

[00:26:24] Steph Martin: You need to get people in and you need to do it efficiently. In the beginning, right? That’s just the reality of being an early-stage company. However, you also want, maybe to think about what’s the longterm goal for building the brand. So yes, we need influencers who are efficient now, but what do these people say when they endorse our brand?

[00:26:42] Steph Martin: And what does that mean for us as we build our brand over time? So those are some of the things that I think I’ve learned. I think moving forward. One of the things that I would implement sooner, and I have implemented, but I would is would get an understanding from the leadership and the executive team about where they see the company going and what the needs are that need to be addressed.

[00:27:05] Steph Martin: Because the truth is you could build the best brand marketing program in the entire world. But if the leadership team is like, we have to focus on really efficient customer acquisition costs right now, and there’s no appetite for brands. You’re going to have an uphill battle. So I also think it’s really about listening and understanding what the appetite is for certain types of programming across the company.

[00:27:30] Steph Martin: And like 

[00:27:31] Jessy Grossman: communicating with key people who like, are either going to be your biggest advocate, or maybe perhaps you’re one of your biggest roadblocks. Because I like, you know, we talk about this in terms of like influencers, even like I see a synergy there being like, you know, they can create the greatest content in the world, but if they’re getting, you know, two likes and no one’s seeing it.

[00:27:51] Jessy Grossman: Is it even worth it? You know? And so if you’re sitting there grinding away at creating the best influencer program, but you don’t have the full support or it’s not supporting the main timely pillars of that company, you just might be stunted. So I think that’s like really interesting advice.

[00:28:09] Jessy Grossman: Sometimes I swear, like it’s like the simple, like. Way of thinking about it. Or like, it sounds fairly simplistic, but like so many people don’t think about that. So I appreciate you bringing that up. I’m curious, like, also, we’ve talked about taboo topics on this show before. And I don’t know, you said you work for third love certainly isn’t taboo, but like, influencers that perhaps aren’t comfortable taking photos in, you know, in broad underwear, right?

[00:28:40] Jessy Grossman: You know, there are other categories of photos. Of course, in terms of like sexual health, like hair loss, like so, you know, like cannabis is a big thing now. I don’t know if you have experience in that, but just things that I’ve seen broadly, but I’m curious, like from your perspective, how can influencers and marketers leverage creative brand strategies to tackle those taboo or difficult categories?

[00:29:06] Steph Martin: Yeah, it’s a great question. So first you have to have a great brand strategy. And what I mean by that is if you’re approaching somebody about a topic that may be taboo or uncomfortable, one of the things you can do to help potentially this talent that you want to work with, understand where you’re coming from is convey your brand messaging, right?

[00:29:25] Steph Martin: So at third love at the time, right, I would go email very early days when I think a lot of people were maybe more uncomfortable posing right in a bra and underwear. I would email creators and say, Hey, here’s what we’re about. Here’s our mission. You know, this is what we’re looking for. We do need you to pose.

[00:29:42] Steph Martin: We realized pretty early on that a flat lay wasn’t working for us, right? That just wasn’t showing how the product fit, especially in the case of a brand like third love that offers such a unique and wide variety of sizes and bits and things like that. Yeah. Flatly just isn’t going to showcase the full scope of the product.

[00:29:59] Steph Martin: And so we would email people and I would get responses back like, don’t ever email me again. You creep. I’m not going to post in my underwear. I mean, and you can imagine, right? I received similar responses for talking about hair loss, acne, and especially sexual wellness. Right. Received a lot of that, but the way that you combat it is tying.

[00:30:21] Steph Martin: Your brand, especially if you’re in a taboo or, you know, a little bit of a less sexy space, right? Can you combat that by tying it to a broader brand message? So for third love, it was about empowering women, right? And being a leader and being an example and showing that like, this is underwear that fits you and makes you feel comfortable and confident.

[00:30:40] Steph Martin: Not hey, we’re trying to be a creep and ask you to pose in your underwear. It’s about a bigger message. And I think the same thing when you think about other stigmatized industries, right? It’s let’s have these conversations to destigmatize them. It’s bigger than just I’m trying to ask you to post about something uncomfortable.

[00:30:56] Steph Martin: Like, Especially in the case of sexual wellness. This is something that maybe many people are facing issues with. People maybe feel uncomfortable. They don’t know who to trust. They don’t know who to talk about it with. I think there are so many examples of that, where it’s really about making it bigger than just the post, right?

[00:31:11] Steph Martin: You’re doing this post to talk about a bigger, more meaningful brand message. That’s one piece. The second piece is when it comes to the brand strategy, you have to build that trust because there’s one thing, if it’s a brain that people have never heard of, then they’re going to think you’re a creep, right?

[00:31:29] Steph Martin: Or if they go to your website and they don’t see content on your website that reflects the messaging you’re trying to tell them to support. It doesn’t make sense. And they’re going to be spooked. And I think that’s true for new brands or startups. Like if you say, I’m all about empowering X group, right?

[00:31:45] Steph Martin: Or I’m all about destigmatizing this thing. Then the rest of your brand, the way you present yourself on social, the way you present yourself on your website, if you have a physical product, the way that the physical product looks and how it’s merchandised, all of those things. Have to match so that if a creator comes and sees that message and says, okay, I’ll buy it.

[00:32:03] Steph Martin: Right. Let me take a look at this. They understand that you mean what you say and you’re putting your money where your mouth is. So I think that’s the other part of it too, right? You can’t just say, I want to be a brand that stands for this thing. And especially if you’re in a taboo category, I would like for you to post about it.

[00:32:20] Steph Martin: The creator is going to be like, Well, I’ve never heard of you. I don’t see this message anywhere reflected in the rest of your marketing. This makes me uncomfortable. No, thank you. And that’s something that you’re also going to have to build over time. And I think that’s the other piece too, right? Of course, I got rejected a million times with creators saying, don’t ever email me again, go away.

[00:32:38] Steph Martin: I’m sure I ended up, you know, blocked many times. But you also keep going until you find your people. And this is where the messaging comes in. You find the people who align with your brand’s messaging and truly believe in those shared values. And you lead with your values. You lead with that bigger brand message.

[00:32:55] Steph Martin: And so it has to be pulled through your entire marketing funnel. It has to be everywhere and visible. So people believe you, but that’s eventually how you find the right creators who are not only going to make the most authentic content for your brand, but they’re going to do something that maybe is a little bit outside of your comfort zone because they believe in the message.

[00:33:11] Steph Martin: And so. When people ask me about, you know, how you market these products that, you know, how you get influencers to talk about these products that are maybe taboo or uncomfortable, that’s how you do it. You have to have a solid brand that stands behind it and you have to make sure that they’re bought into the message and not just the ask at surface 

[00:33:31] Jessy Grossman: level.

[00:33:32] Jessy Grossman: I mean, I have so much to say about that, but I guess like. Like surface level. I just, I, that’s one of the things I love about social media. And I, so I hope to see more of is like de-stigmatizing some convert, like conversations about all sorts of stuff. So I feel like as influencer marketers, it can probably be one of the most rewarding things to do if that’s something that you also value, which is like, we could get women more comfortable talking about being in their skin or empowerment, or, you know, we could talk about like sexual wellness and just.

[00:34:04] Jessy Grossman: Like, lose the stigma around it. There’s so many like of these taboo topics, even like health issues to like, gosh, we’ve seen, you know, I’ve seen content on like, you know, or like brand partnerships on like, you know, IBS or, you know, just like some health issues that like people feel ashamed about or like, you know, uncomfortable with.

[00:34:22] Jessy Grossman: And it’s like, I hate that for those people, right? Like, I don’t want them to feel like that. And I feel, and like, there is such an opportunity to combat that or at least to improve it. Yeah. With influencers. And so I feel like almost if you’re in one of those topics, the products that you have are in one of those more sensitive, delicate topics like you should probably really lean into influencers because having like a real human being tell their personal story and humanize the use of this XYZ product like that can go such a long way.

[00:35:01] Jessy Grossman: I don’t know, like, go get a job at like a sexual wellness company now, like go get a job at like, you know, selling some like lingerie, like whatever you’re passionate about, I’m joking a little bit, but obviously like, there’s just, there’s a really good opportunity there, I feel like if that is something that you’re passionate about that like, You can legitimately like make a difference.

[00:35:19] Jessy Grossman: And I feel like, I don’t know, that’s important to me at least. Quick question for you guys. How much do you love redlining agreements? Yeah, me too. Let me tell you about our latest sponsor Caveat. So Caveat with K is an AI-powered contracting platform that simplifies and optimizes.

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[00:36:05] Jessy Grossman: But what about all those other partnerships, those other contracts that are for five years?

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[00:36:43] Jessy Grossman: So head to our website, it’s I am whim. com slash caveat for a completely free trial. That’s I a m w I i m. com slash K a V E a T. I hope you guys love it as much as I do. So similarly though, we’ve talked a lot about. Pricing has come up so much this year, certainly last year as well. It’s like, it’s always been a topic of conversation and I feel like, okay.

[00:37:11] Jessy Grossman: So like in the scenario that you shared earlier, like. So you do a lot of due diligence to find influencers that are even comfortable posting content about them in a bra, let’s say underwear, right? Perhaps they charge a premium for that though, right? Cause it might be a little risky for them. It’s certainly not like most PC content they might get some comments that they didn’t appreciate.

[00:37:35] Jessy Grossman: What have you, there’s a little bit of risk involved there. So like hiking up the price slightly for that reason. Like I can justify that. Like I can understand that, but I’m seeing things where I’m like, the prices just don’t make, literally make no sense to me for what people, what influencers are charging or managers are charging on behalf of the influencers.

[00:37:56] Jessy Grossman: So I’m curious from your perspective, like just what have you been seeing in terms of pricing and what advice would you give based on all that you’ve seen to the influencers and to the managers To improve their negotiations. So I love 

[00:38:12] Steph Martin: this question, and I want to get into this, but before I do, I want to touch on something that you just shared in your comment prior.

[00:38:19] Steph Martin: Influencers, especially in traditionally stigmatized industries, are everything, literally everything, because they contextualize your product or service in an everyday scenario for someone. And. That personal story, that storytelling is truthful and authentic. And it’s one thing if you’re a brand to say, again, we believe in this or this is our message or we’re trying to stigmatize hair loss, whatever it is.

[00:38:47] Steph Martin: Right. And it’s a whole other thing to have somebody come and say, I experienced postpartum hair loss after I had my second daughter and this is what happened. And these are all the things I tried first. And then I found this product, like those two things. Our night and day, right? And so you need those creator voices because they have the reach and they have the visibility, but they also have the storytelling.

[00:39:09] Steph Martin: And I think it goes back to figuring out how you want to use influencers. In your strategy overall, you have to let them tell those stories, right? I think a lot of brands will sometimes be like, you tell your story, but also we want you to say these 17 talking points over here, or they’ll give you a specific blurb to say as a creator.

[00:39:28] Steph Martin: And you miss out on the authenticity, which is somebody telling their personal. Point of view, their relationship to this product, this service, this experience, right? That ultimately helps destigmatize the industry the product or the category overall. So you need that personal connection to understand how the product can make a difference for you.

[00:39:50] Steph Martin: Cause then you start to visualize, Oh, Hey, you know, this person had postpartum hair loss. This person had this experience. This person didn’t feel comfortable in their skin. This person could never find a certain type of undergarment that fit them. Those are things that I’ve had to write and it just brings that humanness, that human connection to it.

[00:40:06] Steph Martin: And I always say like week as a brand, you can talk about how great you are all day long, but when someone else talks about how great the product is, that’s a whole different ballgame. So anyway, I just want to say you hit the nail on the head. Well, you did too. So 

[00:40:19] Jessy Grossman: thank you for elaborating on that. I appreciate it.

[00:40:21] Jessy Grossman: You want to get into, yes, let’s talk all things 

[00:40:23] Steph Martin: pricing. Pricing is all over the board, right? I think especially in More stigmatized industries or very popular industries. It makes sense that there would be a premium on that, right? Especially if you’re asking somebody to do something outside of their comfort zone.

[00:40:37] Steph Martin: Of course, there’s going to be a premium that’s expected, but how much of a premium? That’s the real question. And I have also personally seen it, right? Some rates just don’t make it. Any sense? And so there’s a couple of ways to think about it. One, of my advice to creators agents, or managers is to know the results.

[00:40:58] Steph Martin: Like, are you driving results? Because if you’re asking for. 20, 000 for a tick-tock, for example, but you’re not getting consistent views. You’re not driving consistent actions. That doesn’t make any sense, right? You’re value in the rate has to be equivalent to the results. And I think a lot of times that’s something that people forget about.

[00:41:21] Steph Martin: I think especially agents are creators. It’s easier to say that this creator is worth X. And we should, by the way, be paying creators. Fairly and appropriately. I am a hundred percent aligned with that, but at the end of the day, we also have to be realistic and know that this is, a business transaction in a lot of ways.

[00:41:38] Steph Martin: And this is a business decision for our business to invest in a partnership with a creator, the same way. It’s a decision for a creator to align themselves with that brand, right? These are business decisions on both sides, and we have to make a reasonable business decision here. That’s rooted in facts and rooted in results instead of rooted in.

[00:41:56] Steph Martin: Okay. I feel like this should be my rate. And I do feel like I’m seeing a lot of rates that just don’t check out from a factual standpoint in terms of driving those results. And I will say, I think it used to be a lot more clear in the days of YouTube because you could kind of back out into, okay, this person’s been getting X amount of views, maybe historically they have this click-through rate when they have a link in their description box, like going back to the way olden days, right?

[00:42:22] Steph Martin: It was a lot more. Predictable. TikTok is fickle, right? The algorithm is fickle. You don’t know how it’s going to perform, but I also think that needs to be factored into, right? It’s a big bet for a brand to put a lot of money into paying a creator for a video. Even though it’s amazing, might not get the views.

[00:42:43] Steph Martin: And so even if the video is great, if it doesn’t get views, is that effective marketing for the brand? Is that going to deliver ROI? the business results that the brand is looking for? It gets 10 views. Probably not. Right. So sunk costs. So I think you can be predictive in a lot of different ways. There are tools and tech, and you can ask questions about how things have performed historically.

[00:43:04] Steph Martin: There’s always that element. Of risk as well. That’s just, that’s how it is. I think with influencer marketing, but I also think that brands and agencies and creators, I think everyone has to come to the table with an understanding of what the facts are in terms of pricing, right? How many views are you driving?

[00:43:23] Steph Martin: How, what are your results historically? And then, yes, there’s all these other factors, of course, usage, exclusivity, all of these things, of course, those factor into the price. But there also has to be some level of, we think that this is worth. Here’s 

[00:43:37] Jessy Grossman: why. And I think that it’s a matter also of just like, of having an open dialogue also with your side, like whoever you’re negotiating with, because I can imagine like from a brand’s perspective, it could be refreshing to hear, you know, a manager says, well, like this is sort of what we’ve done historically.

[00:43:58] Jessy Grossman: But I think that like, this is a topic that their audience particularly responds to well. And like, and just providing more context around it and maybe asking a few more questions too, you know, say like, well, what is your specific goal here? Because especially if you’re a manager, you’re usually representing a few different influencers.

[00:44:18] Jessy Grossman: And so like, perhaps you reach out about one person, and the assumption is like, well, they must know everything about that one influencer if they’re specifically reaching out to them. But what if you have an influencer on your roster? That’s probably, what might be better suited for that brand partnership simply based on what they’re looking to achieve, but you’ll never know that unless you ask.

[00:44:40] Jessy Grossman: And most brands aren’t going to like in the first email say like, okay, we’re looking to get this. We’re looking to get that. Maybe they should, I mean, it would just be helpful. I think from all sides to just like. over communicate more. So that’s interesting. And I think that like, it’s interesting to hear, like, it sounds like you’re seeing just rates that are a bit higher.

[00:44:59] Jessy Grossman: Like when you’re, when they’re presented to you a rate that seems a bit high, what’s the tone? Like, is it take it or leave it? Is it like, this is just my rate? There’s no negotiation. Or is it this is Typical? But let me know your thoughts. What are you seeing most often? Or is it like a little bit of everything?

[00:45:19] Steph Martin: It’s a little bit of everything, right? It depends on the agent. It depends on the creator if they’re self-managed, and how they respond to these types of inquiries. So it’s all over the board, how you respond, right? I think in the industry. The good faith approach that most people take is to let’s have a conversation, but some people walk away, right?

[00:45:37] Steph Martin: And some brands say, this number is so far outside of what we have budgeted. There’s no way that we’re going to be able to make a respectful deal here. So for example, the brand has a thousand dollars and they just got quoted 50, 000 for the scope of work from the creator. The brand may say, we have both something we need to move on, and I’ve seen that happen too.

[00:45:56] Steph Martin: Or the creator may say, this is not even worth my time, this is my rate, I know you, if you’re offering me 1, 000 but I need 50, 000, I’m not going to be able to make this work. And I think that’s okay too, as long as it’s handled respectfully. I do think that there should be more conversation though. Around the goals.

[00:46:12] Steph Martin: And Jesse, I’m so happy you bring that up because this is my favorite thing creators do. And there’s one creator in particular. I’m going to shout her out because I haven’t worked with her in a long time, but she’s so awesome. Her name was Cara. I think her last name is harms or hams. She was a whimsy soul for a while on Instagram.

[00:46:29] Steph Martin: And one of the things that I love that she used to do was every time I would email her for a campaign. I don’t know if she’s self-managed anymore. At the time she used to be self-managed. She would email me back and say. Here’s what I’m thinking. But before I can praise myself accurately, I’d love to know your goals for this program.

[00:46:44] Steph Martin: Can you tell me what your goals are? Can you tell me what your KPIs are? Can you tell me some more context about the program? What you’re trying to achieve? What else is happening during that time? She used to ask just such good questions as a creator. And on the brand side, I loved it because we used to have these conversations where I’d email her back and say, we’re looking to drive views or site traffic or purchases of this item.

[00:47:05] Steph Martin: And so she would know how to craft her content. To meet those goals. And I think More creators, more brands, more agents should be having some of those more candid conversations around what the goals and the KPIs are. So everyone can know what success looks like because I agree. I think a lot of the time it’s a black box, right?

[00:47:24] Steph Martin: And maybe everyone’s trying to operate in good faith, but. If no one knows what the goals are, how can they try to do their best to meet that goal if they don’t know what they are? So if one person knows and they’re not sharing, yeah, right. 

[00:47:37] Jessy Grossman: What is that all about? Right? No, I love that so much. I think, I mean, I’ll speak personally, I think because I come from the management side of things.

[00:47:44] Jessy Grossman: I’ve never been on the brand side. I know many managers worry, like they approach it like, Oh, I don’t want to ask too many questions or they must be so busy. Like if I ask a number, like all these questions, they’re going to be like, Oh, like onto the next, like go to the easier person. But you’re telling us the exact opposite that you had a positive reaction when somebody asked you questions, right?

[00:48:03] Jessy Grossman: Yeah. 

[00:48:03] Steph Martin: Especially if it was related to the goals. And I think, again, it’s all about how you frame it. So if you frame it as, Hey, you know, this creator is super excited about this program. We want to make sure that we’re meeting your goals. Can you help us understand what are your KPIs? I’m excited to receive that email because that means that you care about how this is going to perform.

[00:48:22] Steph Martin: And you’re not just here to have this be a transactional relationship where we pay you for a post and you make a post, you don’t care how it does, and you’re out. Right. That means you care. And so for me on the brand side, I always appreciate those emails. Cause I think there’s an element of thoughtfulness to it that shows you’re genuinely interested in having this be successful and not just.

[00:48:40] Steph Martin: Getting paid 

[00:48:40] Jessy Grossman: and moving on. I love that. And so like, what if you’re asked these questions, you give them an answer based on like, we’re looking to achieve X, Y, Z. And what if they come back to you and they’re like, okay, so if that’s what you’re looking to achieve, I would recommend being on a different, like producing content, maybe not on tech talk, but on YouTube instead.

[00:48:59] Jessy Grossman: Cause I think based on what you told me that like, I would be able to produce those results better on another platform. Do you have that flexibility or is that like, that’s good to know that probably won’t work for this campaign because we’re targeting TikTok, but I will make a note to flag it and come back to you in the future.

[00:49:17] Jessy Grossman: How do you handle that? So 

[00:49:19] Steph Martin: it depends, right? I’ve been in several situations where this has happened and we pivoted the deliverables based on what the creator tells us is going to perform. Right. So if they’re like, actually, you know, I think I can drive more sales on YouTube than I can on Tik TOK, or I think I can drive more views on Tik TOK than I can on Instagram reels, because I’m currently seeing my videos do well when I put them in this style, right?

[00:49:41] Steph Martin: Maybe we asked for a get ready with me, but they think that they can do it a lot better if they do sit down, film in their car video, and not get ready with me. So I’ve had flexibility. I also have it right. Sometimes there are specific needs that need to be met. And of course, some things are confidential that we can only share with creators.

[00:49:59] Steph Martin: So for example, maybe we need content that is on Instagram so that we can syndicate it somewhere else or, and of course, we would be very clear about the usage, but maybe other things are going on behind the scenes that we’re not able to share, or like we have to activate on a certain platform for a certain reason.

[00:50:17] Steph Martin: But sometimes there is flexibility. So I don’t think it ever hurts to ask the question. And you could also say, if you’re a creator or a manager, right? I see your goals are this, I know this creator is going to perform better on this platform. Is that something you’d be open to? Or would you be willing to see if there’s flexibility on the deliverables?

[00:50:35] Steph Martin: Like, I don’t ever think it hurts to ask the question. And I believe that most people want to have a genuine connection. And at the end of the day, They want the best results for their program, right? So if you’re telling them, they’re not going to get great results the way it’s set up now with this creator, you do think they can get great results.

[00:50:52] Steph Martin: If you set it up a little differently, I think most brands would be open to it. But again, sometimes there isn’t the flexibility. It just depends. So 

[00:50:58] Jessy Grossman: we’ll say this. I can imagine a lot of people listening or watching this on YouTube, like hearing your answer and being like, Oh, that like lifts a weight off my shoulders.

[00:51:09] Jessy Grossman: Like that’s great to hear. That’s great feedback. And it makes me feel like I can have more of an open dialogue. I think my hesitation is that like, not everybody on the other side is you. And I mean that as a compliment to you, right? Like not everybody on the other side either. Like, Has the openness that you do or has the authority even perhaps that you do, right?

[00:51:33] Jessy Grossman: Like sometimes it’s just a junior level person that you’re speaking with who’s just following a directive and they’re like, no, like, or they’re just trying or they’re trying to manage this huge influence or partnership at a scale where they’re speaking to thousands of people. And they’re like, I just can’t make the time for this.

[00:51:50] Jessy Grossman: So I appreciate what you’re saying. And I think like, You might as well try because hopefully you will reach someone on the other side who’s like you, but I don’t want people to be discouraged if they don’t because some, not everyone you speak with is going to be a stuff Martin. You know what I mean? 

[00:52:08] Steph Martin: I understand.

[00:52:09] Steph Martin: And I’ve been there too, right? I’ve also managed campaigns where I’ve had like personally managed hundreds of influencers. And like my inbox is just, And you don’t have time to have some of these personal negotiations. It just depends, but I would say, try the other thing that I would also, I don’t know, maybe challenge you or challenge anyone listening to think about if you know, you’re not going to perform for this campaign.

[00:52:31] Steph Martin: Why would you sign up for it? Because that’s just going to damage your relationship with the brand. If you know, in your heart of hearts that they’re looking to drive sales, for example, right, that they, this is a very performance-based company that they’re, they just said their goal is that they need an immediate return on investment.

[00:52:46] Steph Martin: Like. And you know, that’s maybe not the way that your audience responds, especially if they ask for something like an infeed Instagram picture. And you know that from an image, you’re not going to be able to drive those results. Why would you also want to sign yourself up for something where you won’t perform well?

[00:53:01] Steph Martin: Because now maybe next time that brand goes to approach you, they’re going to say she didn’t perform well last time, right? But maybe it’s because it wasn’t set up correctly. So that’s another thing. If you know that you can’t meet. The goal of the program, I would also consider being more discernible in how you partner with brands and maybe having that conversation that this isn’t the right setup for me, but I think I can drive amazing results for you here.

[00:53:24] Steph Martin: And again, some people will be receptive. Some people won’t, but I also think from a talent perspective, like if I were a creator, I also wouldn’t want to set myself up for a program where I know I’m not going to be able to meet their goals. If we’re going to be upset. That’s not a great relationship for the creator either.

[00:53:39] Steph Martin: But 

[00:53:39] Jessy Grossman: that also takes like making decisions out of a place of like empowerment and because right. If you’re making decisions out of fear, being like, Oh my God, this economy is rough and this person wants to pay me a couple thousand dollars and I have to make my rent. They might say yes, but I like it, so I understand why some people would agree to things when they’re like, Little think I can do this, but I encourage them to hear what you’re saying because I think that thinking more longterm is just, and thinking from this like empowered sort of just like this abundance mindset is absolutely a stronger position to, to run your business, any business versus making decisions based on fear and insecurity.

[00:54:25] Jessy Grossman: So I love that you’re saying that. And I think like, I kind of want to like, so I want to pivot a little bit to talk about like us as folks who work in the creator economy. Right. So like talking about creators feeling empowered or talking about managers feeling empowered to have these open conversations.

[00:54:44] Jessy Grossman: And I feel like we like throw around that term. Like it’s like the word, like authentic, like does it almost perhaps lose its meaning? Meeting a little bit, but it is such an important word. So I’m gonna like, we’re gonna like bring the meaning back today, you and I. So. Okay. Let’s bring it back. 

[00:54:59] Steph Martin: Bring it back.

[00:55:00] Steph Martin: You, me and our Amazon. 

[00:55:02] Jessy Grossman: Knock on Stanley. Yes. We’ve gone from an Amazon conversation to bringing back the word empowering the word empowered. We’re turning it around here. So my question for you is. At work, you’ve, you know, you’ve worked at some cool companies. You’ve also worked at agencies to also like brand work and a couple of things in between.

[00:55:23] Jessy Grossman: When have you felt, I like to get real on this podcast, so I’ll preface this question with that. When have you felt disempowered at work? In a role that you’ve been in and like, truly, really, like, how did you get through that? Yeah, I wouldn’t 

[00:55:41] Steph Martin: say it’s necessarily a specific role, but I think I have felt the most disempowered when I haven’t been heard or understood.

[00:55:48] Steph Martin: And I think that’s a broader communication thing, right? I also think as people in the influencer marketing space, we have to remember, and I’ve tried to remember this myself, but not everybody understands. That’s the way that we understand it, right? We live this, we breathe this, but there are people out there who still don’t understand the point of influencer marketing, and who don’t see a value in it, right?

[00:56:10] Steph Martin: Or who may be it? See that value differently than you do. And that’s actually why I brought up earlier, like aligning with your leadership team on what they value, right? And set up a program that, matches that because I think the situations where I have felt the most unempowered, right, are ones where I haven’t been heard, or there’s just an overall misalignment in terms of strategy and communication.

[00:56:36] Steph Martin: I would also say like, how did I get through that? Well, I’ve worked hard on listening and being a better listener to help figure out how to navigate these situations. I’ve also helped myself, I think, by learning some different communication tactics. So there’s a few I’m going to share cause I think that they’re helpful and I hope they help people out here listening.

[00:56:57] Steph Martin: One thing. is like knowing what triggers certain people who you work with in your work environment, right? So I worked with someone once who I realized was triggered by the word, but so this person, if you would say, we’re working on this program, but we count encountered some issues, right?

[00:57:17] Steph Martin: This person would read that as, well, you’re not working on it. Cause you said you have all these issues or you’re making excuses or whatever that is. And what I realized was how can I be more mindful. In my communication. So I started not using the word but and instead saying we’re working on this project and also we need to connect with legal on a few issues I started replacing but with also and I noticed that it made a huge difference in the way that this person perceived that information.

[00:57:46] Jessy Grossman: That is so cool. Did they have the self-awareness, though, to know that? Did they tell you? No. Or you were just like, I feel like they might be triggered by this. I’m going to try something different. So this was you. This was 

[00:57:57] Steph Martin: me. I realized in listening to their conversation, and this is why I say I always work on being a better listener, because I realized in seeing how they interacted with other folks or other departments, right, that when other people did that too, They have the same reaction.

[00:58:11] Steph Martin: Like if they heard, but it was in their mind, like, Oh, you’re not working on this or you’re not trying hard enough or you don’t care enough about this, or whatever they were thinking, you know, I’m not in their brain, but I noticed that it elicited a negative reaction. So I started trying that instead. And I noticed I got a lot further with that.

[00:58:27] Steph Martin: There’s another one that I heard from a book a long time ago. It was like an audio book, like an old audio book that my mom listened to, like, 20 years ago, but I still remember it. And the tip was, I am not saying this, I am saying this. And when you feel like you’re being misunderstood, I’m not saying that we can’t activate this campaign in May.

[00:58:47] Steph Martin: I am saying we need more resources to do it. We can’t also do this campaign on this product and this one at the same time. And that helps disarm that conversation a little bit. So, I love to find those tips. I also encourage people like there are a lot of folks on TikTok who share tips like this. I love to watch those types of TikToks about communication.

[00:59:05] Steph Martin: They help in your personal life, but also in the workspace. And I think when I have felt the most disempowered are those times that I’m not being heard. You can’t fix everything, but I do think that you can start by being a better listener and sometimes changing your communication style to help work through challenges like that one change changing from, but to, also immediately made me more heard.

[00:59:29] Steph Martin: By this person immediately and so I stopped using the word, but I just started saying, and also we have to think about this or also we’re doing this thing. 

[00:59:37] Jessy Grossman: That’s so good. But I like it’s interesting because I feel like so many people could easily fall into the trap of like, I’m not heard. So I’m gonna do the opposite you lean into that so much you’re like I’m not being heard So I’m gonna listen more to you I feel like people would shut down a lot of people would turn away and be like, I’m not being heard I’m like F you I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

[01:00:02] Jessy Grossman: So I think that it’s cool to hear that you also have had the results that you’ve had. And I love stuff like that. I love that there’s like a side, of course, there’s a side of Tik Tok that talks about, you know, communication skills. 

[01:00:15] Steph Martin: Yeah. I’ll have to send you some after this. There are some good accounts.

[01:00:18] Steph Martin: I can’t remember on the top of my head, but I’ll send you some. I think the other piece too, is to your point, like it is so easy to say I’m not being heard. And I also think that it’s nuanced, right? In certain circumstances, right? Maybe you love everything about your job, but you’re faced with this one challenge or you love everything about this project you’re working on, but you’re feeling misunderstood or unheard in this capacity.

[01:00:39] Steph Martin: Like, there’s also different layers and nuances to it too, right? If someone’s just terrible to you all the time, that’s completely different than feeling like there’s a misunderstanding. So I also don’t want people to think, take that advice, and say, I’m the problem. You might not be the problem. 

[01:00:55] Jessy Grossman: Oh my god, you live long enough that you learn that for sure.

[01:01:00] Jessy Grossman: You know, not all the circumstances, but there’s a lot of circumstances in life where like, we, you know, I don’t know. I also like, I wonder if it’s like, sometimes it can be, A woman thing like we like to blame ourselves. We try to be introspective to say like, well, maybe I’m not blaming myself, but maybe I’m just like, how can I contribute to fixing it?

[01:01:19] Jessy Grossman: It’s like, I have to be, you know, part of the problem. Like maybe I’m not a hundred percent of the problem, but like, sometimes it’s not you at all. 

[01:01:27] Steph Martin: Not, I mean, I also think like just going back to that example of the butt and also, right. I don’t, I don’t think there’s an issue with communicating with the word, but I think.

[01:01:36] Steph Martin: That’s a normal communication style. I would say the issue is more with that person who had a problem with that word. However, right. You’re a professional. You have to find a way to work with people productively if you choose to do that. So that’s a solution for it. But again, the problem isn’t using the word, but the problem is actually that other person.

[01:01:57] Steph Martin: Who has trouble listening when they hear that word? So I also want to make it clear that adapting your communication style doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the problem. I would argue it means that other people maybe need to work on the way that they perceive information or statements.

[01:02:13] Jessy Grossman: But you can only control yourself at the end of the day. And if you want to achieve a certain result and you’re, you know, You know, you check your ego at the door. It’s not like who’s right or wrong, but if you’re like, all right, well, if I make this little adjustment, I get what I want. And that’s the most important thing.

[01:02:30] Jessy Grossman: Then I guess that’s the most important thing, right? Yeah. 

[01:02:34] Steph Martin: I mean, I think it also depends, right? Like if you’re working in a capacity where the project wins. When everybody wins or the team wins together, then yes, sometimes you do check your ego at the door because you have to figure out how to work with these people in a functional capacity that achieves the greater goal of launching this new product or whatever it is that you’re doing in the workplace that you need to get done.

[01:02:57] Steph Martin: So I do think that there’s an element of that too. And again. Every scenario is new eyes. This advice is tip is not for everything all the time, but I do think it’s something to consider if you’re feeling like you are maybe misunderstood. Misunderstood sometimes think about ways that maybe why that’s happening and listen and observe too.

[01:03:18] Jessy Grossman: Well, it certainly is an empowering thought, right? Because like, if you’re stuck, you know, with somebody, you don’t have to be reliant upon them to do something to change it. The empowering piece of it is like, I can figure out a way through this problem. So that’s freaking empowering.

[01:03:36] Jessy Grossman: So speaking of like workplace and I don’t know, we’re talking about innovation earlier. You and I, like the last time we chatted, I think it was the last time we chatted, we were talking a bit about like AI, which I find like so fascinating. I think you’re fascinated by it as well. And I think I just, I wanted to incorporate it into our conversation today because I mean, there’s so much to talk about, but I guess my first question about AI just generally because I.

[01:04:07] Jessy Grossman: We don’t talk about it enough on the show. I don’t think we talk about it enough in our industry. And so the second you said that you’re into it, I’m like, Oh my God, we got to talk about this I’m curious. So like from your perspective as somebody who is more well-versed in AI than maybe the average person in our industry, how have you seen AI help our industry thus far?

[01:04:28] Jessy Grossman: And then conversely, based on what you’ve seen, What should we all be cautious 

[01:04:34] Steph Martin: of? So many things. So I love AI. I’m super interested in it. I think it is the future. We, you know, it’s the future in a lot of different ways. I would also say for the women listening to this, that there are some super interesting studies and Jesse, I think I shared this with you last time that we chatted.

[01:04:50] Steph Martin: There are super interesting studies that are coming out that are saying that women are adopting AI at a slower pace than compared to their male counterparts. Right. That women are more hesitant to use AI. So some super interesting studies came out that women almost felt ashamed of using AI or maybe had more hesitancy around AI than their male colleagues.

[01:05:11] Steph Martin: So they felt like, Oh if people know I’m using AI, are they going to think that I am not good at my job because I’m cheating using AI? Whereas. Some of the men interviewed were like, Oh yeah, I’m using AI to get ahead. So I think that’s super interesting too, is that there maybe are some other elements there to unpack.

[01:05:28] Steph Martin: I also read some stats that women’s jobs are more susceptible than men’s jobs to being more obsolete or impacted by AI. So I do think it’s important that women start learning about AI as a whole. In terms of our industry, I mean, AI is extremely powerful. So some ways that you could use it are using it to help you write your briefs.

[01:05:50] Steph Martin: And one of the things that I’ve tested is I’ve put in some information and asked it to like, help to chat GPT and asked me to help write a vignette. So I can get creators inspired on different storylines. They can tell you can use it to help you write a customer profile or customer persona.

[01:06:05] Steph Martin: There are so many things that you could do. To help automate your work, save you time. You can also help it to use it to help scan the internet. So who are five traders right now talking about X, if you just want to know what’s happening in your industry can help you pull that info. It’s not perfect.

[01:06:23] Steph Martin: I’ve also noticed that I’ve asked chat DBT-specific questions about like helping me pull people from Tik TOK. It’s not great at that, but if there are other things out there that you’re looking for information, it’s not perfect. Use it for that, especially when it comes to things like research, and competitor analysis, there are so many things you can use if you’re launching a new product and you need information on how people are using that product or you want to pull studies, right?

[01:06:46] Steph Martin: Has it helped you? I mean, fact-check things that come through, but you know, it’s a huge tool that can be super helpful. 

[01:06:54] Jessy Grossman: Huge, huge, huge. Yes, huge. And at that point, I experimented with the other day and I thought of you because it was AI. I was, I was in, it must’ve been Instagram and I think it was Instagram.

[01:07:06] Jessy Grossman: And there’s like the search bar now has this like blue little circle in it. And I clicked it and that is the built-in AI tool within Instagram. And I was like, Interesting. So it’s like pulling from Bing like it says that it’s, you know, hold on, we’re calculating and pulling from Bing, which is the same as chat GBT, I believe.

[01:07:26] Jessy Grossman: Right? Yeah. So, because I was like, Oh, do they have their own AI? Like, I wonder what I could pull here. But I’ll tell you, I was like, What influencers are the most popular on Instagram? You know what I’m like, I’m asking Instagram that and like, you know, in this category and I got reasonable, like decent answers, some of the influencers I knew.

[01:07:47] Jessy Grossman: And so I could validate like immediately I was like, that is so cool. So to also just see it like become more easily accessible, even within the social platform, like that is fricking 

[01:07:59] Steph Martin: cool. Yes, definitely. I would say it doesn’t come without potential downsides or watch out. So I’ll share those two. One, please remember that chat debt is public.

[01:08:10] Steph Martin: Do not put any proprietary company information in there. Any financial information like chat, or chat debt does have enterprise options. So if your company has a secure gated enterprise version of that, which some companies do use out for your work, if you’re just a regular user, don’t put in any of your personal information.

[01:08:27] Steph Martin: Don’t put in. Just know that it’s public and act appropriately. I would also say, keep in mind, right? That your competitors can, could be making the same searches as you and getting similar results. So keep that in mind in terms of safety. I mean, I think there are a lot of things to be aware of, right? I think we’ve probably all seen some of the new video generation tech that’s come out, mid journeys, image generating tech that’s come out.

[01:08:53] Steph Martin: That stuff is going to be interesting. I think there’s a lot of conversations happening right now around like, Okay. AI-generated art and what’s being fed into the model. What is the output? What if it’s generating material that was copyrighted? Like there are tons of conversations happening right now around.

[01:09:09] Steph Martin: Inputs and outputs and copyright infringement and art and like a lot of things. And if you’re a creator and you’re interested in AI, be mindful of how your content is being used, right? So if you, cause I do think that there will be a world in which brands may ask creators to shoot a couple of videos and then they might feed that into an AI model and make an AI-generated video of somebody, right?

[01:09:32] Steph Martin: More of like a UGC content piece. What is it, when you send that video to that brand? What are they doing with it? Do they have to delete it after a certain time? Like, I would continue to ask questions, especially if you think that eventually they, you know, might be using it for AI purposes. So there’s a lot to be mindful of.

[01:09:50] Steph Martin: Last thing is like, and this one freaks me out personally a little bit. It’s just online. Safety as a whole, I would also say that voice tech is getting more advanced if you’re out there on the internet, especially if you’re a creator, that stuff is public and people could be using that in negative or malicious ways.

[01:10:08] Steph Martin: It could be taking your image and your video and using it negatively. So just be mindful of that. And. Know that it’s out there and be careful. 

[01:10:15] Jessy Grossman: And I hope that also what comes to light are like qualified legal professionals tell us what to do when the bad thing happens. And like, because the bad things are just going to inevitably happen.

[01:10:29] Jessy Grossman: I like, I’m never one for like, Government overreach, but I do think there need to be more regulations in terms of all this. And I think that it’s wild because like, if it’s the government who’s going to regulate it, because like who else really would, like, you’re also relying on those people who are like in their eighties or seventies to like to understand AI.

[01:10:50] Jessy Grossman: And like, that’s a tall order, a tall ask. So I don’t know. I like. I, the stat that you shared with me last time and then again today, it blows my mind how like just women are more slowly adopting it. And I hope that changes because I do see all the potential of how it can just, it can be such a tool.

[01:11:12] Jessy Grossman: It can be such a helpful tool. Fact check it of course, like all the things that you said, and be aware of where it can go awry. But I also don’t want to deter people from leaning into it. Because like, you could have said all the same things about the internet back in 1995. A hundred percent. I mean, like, Oh, it’s a scary place.

[01:11:32] Jessy Grossman: Like, no way. I can’t trust it. But like, if you didn’t know it, like today, imagine if the person was so scared back then and didn’t lean into it and like literally never went online, Where would we be? So I see it as a very similar thing. So anyways, I love that you’re into it. And I hope that you encourage and inspire some of our listeners to check it out and just to be more comfortable with it.

[01:11:56] Jessy Grossman: It’s not scary. It isn’t. Like, it’s not that intimidating. Like, just try it and you’ll see, you know, 

[01:12:02] Steph Martin: right. I mean, some tools can make presentations for you. for you. Like there are tools out there that can make presentations. Some tools can help you automate your emails.

[01:12:09] Steph Martin: There’s tools like I heard of a tool the other day that can help you practice your interview skills. If you’re someone on the job market and you’re looking to, you know, practice how you interview, like there’s so many interesting tools out there that can help you be more productive in all kinds of things.

[01:12:23] Steph Martin: Different elements. I’ve heard of one that I think can like help you with your sales calls, right? Where you practice on video and it like gives you feedback. So anyway, I just think that there are a lot of different tools. It’s not just chat GPT, even though I think that’s a great and powerful tool, but there are so many different options out there.

[01:12:40] Steph Martin: And there’s also some cool women innovating in AI as well. So. Keep an eye out 

[01:12:45] Jessy Grossman: for that. A hundred percent. We’ve talked about this on this podcast before even, there’s a tool called caveat, for example, that reviews your contracts and your agreements. Talk about something that nobody enjoys doing.

[01:12:55] Jessy Grossman: So like let AI be the one to help you with that. Canva. I use the Canva AI tools all the time talking about like visual things and it just, makes it so much easier. So quick and so much easier and imagine like, that’s like, I mean, I’ll wrap it up with this. One of the most valuable things in this world, in my opinion, is time.

[01:13:16] Jessy Grossman: And so imagine if you have this tool at your fingertips that can give you so much time back, like what that can do both for you, professionally, like in every aspect of your life to be able to either be choosing. different things where you want to invest your time. We’re just having, Oh my God, I have time back.

[01:13:37] Jessy Grossman: It’s a huge improvement in life in general. So anyways, we’re like the biggest cheerleaders for it. So I wanted to bring it up today and hope that people are at least open to the idea. Continue chatting with you for like a whole other hour, but I probably should like to get you back to work. So my question, my last question to you is like, what’s, if our listeners want to reach out, want to learn more about you or just connect with you, learn more about the tech company you work for now, what’s the best way for them to get 

[01:14:11] Steph Martin: in touch?

[01:14:12] Steph Martin: Find me on LinkedIn or through Wim. I’m obviously on the Wim Slack channel. Those are probably the two best ways. And then I would also say like, for creators out there, this is just a PSA. Always be kind to people on the brand side. I wanted to say this earlier, but this is my parting thought always be kind to people on the brand side.

[01:14:35] Steph Martin: And if a deal doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but be kind and be respectful because. Let me tell you one thing, like creators, I think, forget that people don’t work at that same brand forever. So maybe they don’t work with this brand that you like right now, but next year they could be working somewhere else or same thing on the agency.

[01:14:51] Steph Martin: Maybe you don’t like the brand that they just brought you now, but they may have a client that you love, right? And six months from now. And if you were rude, inappropriate, you know, not super professional in your communications, they remember. I remember. The creators who have said inappropriate things to me from seven years ago.

[01:15:09] Steph Martin: I remember all of you. So, and I also remember the flip side, right? I mentioned Cara, who’s amazing lovely and so kind. And I remember the ones who are kind and respectful and act with integrity and are super honest. Like, I also remember those folks too. And I think that goes for a lot of people in the industry that goes for agents overall.

[01:15:28] Steph Martin: I would just encourage everybody to. Be kind, be respectful to one another, and know that we’re all, you know, working with, you know, our best interests, the best interests of the industry at heart, and trying to work together to do our best work. 

[01:15:42] Jessy Grossman: Cause Steph is not going to forget. 

[01:15:45] Steph Martin: I just had to throw that out there.

[01:15:46] Steph Martin: If you’re mean to somebody on the brand side. They will remember, I promise you, we remember if you’re 

[01:15:52] Jessy Grossman: mean. They will, and then they’ll end up a couple of years later at the dream brand that you’ve always wanted to partner with and you’ll never be able to work with that brand again because you were mean to them.

[01:16:03] Jessy Grossman: You never know. But if you’re nice. You never know. The crazier things have happened, and, uh, Why weren’t you just kind? You could have just been professional at the very least and you could have just been kind. You get met with kindness back usually when you give it so hot take there. It’s always so nice talking to you, so I appreciate you coming today.

[01:16:24] Jessy Grossman: Follow up. We’re With Steph, she’s a wealth of information. I’ve known you since your style hall days. So I’ve seen you through, I remember getting was like lunch or breakfast or something with you in LA like years ago. And anyway, Steph is like a great person. She’s on the West coast, bouncing back between SF and LA, and she’s also a mentor with us.

[01:16:46] Jessy Grossman: So if you’re a VIP member, you can have a one-on-one hour-long session together with her. Pick her brain. And thank you for coming on today. I appreciate you. Thank you 

[01:16:57] Steph Martin: for having me, Jessi. So fun. I’m glad we’re finally doing 

[01:17:00] Jessy Grossman: this. Same, same. And thank you guys for listening. We appreciate you so much and we will see you next week.

[01:17:06] Jessy Grossman: Bye guys. If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back. Back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information@iamwim.com. Leave us a review, or a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast.

[01:17:28] Jessy Grossman: Thankfully listening.

[01:17:29] Steph Martin: Tune in next week.

Steph Martin

Brand and Influencer Marketing Leader

Steph Martin is brand marketing leader with an expertise in influencers, partnerships, and brand strategy. Her decade of experience spans industries with an integrated approach to talent, media, entertainment, and brand partnerships. Steph began her career on the agency side activating influencer campaigns for brands like Walmart, Sephora, Warner Brothers, and Verizon before transitioning to in-house roles at ThirdLove and Hims & Hims to establish brand marketing programs. Her specialties include building brand activation strategies and leveraging partnerships to grow emerging companies into beloved household names.

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