Salt Lake City-based Experticity and San Carlos, Calif.-based ReadyPulse are combining to create one of the industry’s largest micro-influencer marketing community.

The combined company will continue to use the Experticity brand. It will leverage ReadyPulse’s proprietary enterprise technology for tracking and ranking online influencers and Experticity’s community of more than a million offline, real-life influencers. 

The goal is to provide marketers a complete suite of tools they can use to authentically reach consumers at every phase of the buying journey, the companies explained.

The enterprise software will help marketers recruit and manage their influencers and maintain relationships with people who make trusted recommendations on what to buy. In other words, it will encourage customers to follow the lead of influencers or brand advocates.

The companies already collectively work with about 750 consumer brands, including Nickelodeon, Stance and The North Face.

Connecting With Customers

Experticity aggregates influential category experts and enables brands and retailers to engage them through training and product seeding. The idea is to help brands get closer to people, CEO Tom Stockham said.

ReadyPulse's technology will provide the tools marketers need "to really start to tap into these people,” he said.

“For a marketer, the first thing to ask is 'who is influential on my behalf?' The next steps are to get in front of those people, build real relationships with them and help them become better storytellers on my behalf.”

Stockham said consumers trust other shoppers more than ads and paid endorsements. And that shift away from traditional advertising opens the door to influencer marketing, where brands invest in connecting with experts with the clout to influence others in what they purchase online and in stores. Until now, however, he said, “There has never been a way to do this at scale."

McKinsey found word-of-mouth recommendations to generate more than twice the sales compared to paid advertising. Sales acquired through word-of-mouth marketing also see 37 percent higher retention rate, the study found.

Influencer Marketing Heats Up

With that trend in mind, businesses are investing more in social media: social media marketing spend will climb 70 percent in 2016, a Salesforce survey found. Social media opens up the conversation for consumers to share reviews and experiences, rather than getting talked at by brands and their ads.

Influencer marketing will continue to grow in response to ad-blocking technologies and weaning display advertisements, Dennis O’Malley, CEO of ReadyPulse, said. And that way of marketing is unsustainable, he added.

“The old way was paying someone to do one-off tweet or [Facebook] likes. It’s like a hangover set in, and you say, ‘Wow, that didn’t work.’ The biggest aha for marketers and what we get asked most is an authentic way [to endorse their products]. Every marketer has paid somebody to like a product publicly. I’ve never met one marketer who is proud of doing that.”

ReadyPulse provides a SaaS platform for B2C companies, helping identify social influencers and building campaigns to boost brand awareness and purchases. The patented technology also provides analytics and ambassador programs for brands like Skullcandy, NatureBox and Adidas.

Experticity will continue operating out of San Francisco and Salt Lake City, with a Seattle location on the way.

Title image "Follow Me" (CC BY 2.0) by Ozzy Delaney