Podcast 01 - Taryn Williams
(CEO of theright.fit & Wink Models)

On this episode of Digital Mountaineers, host George Mackenzie speaks with Taryn Williams CEO & Founder of theright.fit and WINK models.

ABOUT THE GUEST

Taryn Williams has proven herself as one of Australia’s most prolific entrepreneurs in the tech startup and media industry. As well as being a digital influencer, Taryn works with a number of global brands as an ambassador, appears extensively in the media and is a speaker of choice for leading industry conferences.

ABOUT THE HOST

George Mackenzie is a Digital Marketing Strategist who has worked with brands like Airtasker, Little Caesars, Inspirations Paints & Taylors Wines. He is the producer of Digital Mountaineers and an avid lover of podcasting, movies & heavy metal music.

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Time Stamps

  • 00:01:28
    COVID-19 check in
  • 00:03:05
    What is The Right Fit?
  • 00:05:28
    Becoming your own competitor, cannibalising your own business
  • 00:08:02
    Launching a 2-sided marketplace
  • 00:11:20
    Challenges in balancing supply and demand in a 2-sided marketplace
  • 00:16:00
    Importance of community building
  • 00:19:27
    How to create content for your audience to build trust
  • 00:22:00
    User experience on theright.fit
  • 00:23:30
    Broader industry changes in influencer campaigns
  • 00:25:50
    Tips on how to best work with influencers
  • 00:29:17
    How theright.fit differentiates in the market
  • 00:33:25
    Challenges with Tik Tok in 2020 for digital marketers
  • 00:37:09
    Advice for brands looking to create more influencer content
  • 00:40:02
    Advice for those looking to start a 2-sided marketplace
  • 00:43:00
    Taryn’s thoughts on where the gig economy is heading
  • 00:45:45
    What’s next for theright.fit?

Transcript

George: Hi, Taryn, welcome to the podcast. It's so fantastic to have you on how are you?

Taryn: I'm good. Thank you. Good to be here. Good to chat.

George: Fantastic. I think we have talked about the elephant in the room first COVID-19 just checking in how are you and the rest of the right fit team doing and has it been a challenge transitioning into this period?

Taryn: So we are very, very fortunate in that our office is right across the road from my house. So I have still been able to come in daily, which has been great for my mental health, and ability to maintain some sort of routine. And also, we've sort of been a global business from day one in that we've had, obviously talent all over the world, but also our internal team has been really dispersed. We've had best in breed people working in New York working in Singapore, we're here in the Philippines, working in Melbourne and Brisbane. And so we sort of already had some great practices in place to support remote working so but of course, like any business that's in the advertising and media and creative industries, it's it's certainly had an impact on on our business. And we've just been doing our best to support of our clients through this as well, who have had to pivot their marketing strategies and, and try to shift into online. So it's certainly been an interesting period, that's for sure.

George: It's great to hear that things are relatively stable. You guys have been able to make it work and one of the reasons why I wanted to get you on On this podcast was because of how sort of fresh and innovative this the right fit is. And my wife and I have used your platform a number of times for our little ecommerce business to find photographers and models, and it's just been so useful. But can you for everyone at home? Yeah. For everyone at home listening who's not aware of the platform? Could you explain a little bit about what The Right Fit is? And you know, what led you to come up with the idea?

Taryn: Of course, of course. So, the right thing is a two sided marketplace for creative talent. So we connect brands and advertising agencies with all different kinds of creatives that they might need for a campaign so photographers, videographers, models, actors, influences, celebrities down to really granular things like content experts who specialise in food flat lay for example, or, or experts in health and wellness or naturopaths and dietitians. So there's about 13 Thousand talent on the platform, globally, about 80% of that is in APAC. And essentially, we disintermediate the process. So we connect the two parties directly. And so making the process obviously more efficient and more affordable for them. But we look after all of the things that traditionally would be handled by agents, I think that contracts have a viability insurance, personal property damage, to make sure that both parties are safe and secure in the transaction. But I think it's a little bit like an air Tasker or an Ambien Bay, but for creative talent. And my background is in the creative industry. So I'm a modelling agency called weak models as well, which is just over 13 years old. And, and I've worked myself as a client side as well. So I'd work to produce and booking ad campaigns and then obviously, running the agency and I've worked as a model so I could have seen the move over the last sort of, I guess probably four years now. A shift towards smaller bits of snackable digital content and brands needing to produce more content than ever before to fill all of these new channels. They had social media channels and Facebook ads and, and that budgets were changing accordingly. And so we're the type of talent required for campaigns. There was a shift towards really authentic talent in campaigns and also obviously the advent of social media influencers. So that was sort of where the idea came for, for the right fit was allowing people to safely connect to create high volume content in a more efficient and more affordable way. And it's nearly nearly four years old now. So its been quite the journey.

George: Yeah, amazing journey. And I think a lot of people would say, you know, you were cannibalising your initial business by creating this, you know, what was the thought process behind, you know, almost becoming your own competitor. between your two you know, the modelling agency and more of a traditional Avenue versus the This this totally new platform and style of creation of putting people together.

Taryn: Absolutely. Everyone was really shocked. And like, why would you build something that potentially cannibalises your existing successful business that you spent all this time building, but I really fundamentally believe that if you don't disrupt you will be disrupted and that someone was going to do it. And it could either be me and I could are in that market or someone else is going to do it. And eventually that traditional way of working was going to be disrupted anyway. I also firmly believe that if you add value in a transaction, there will always be a place for you. So if you're an agent who's proactively seeking work for your talent and who adds value in the transaction to the client, so you know, he's going above and beyond not just answering the phone and booking new talent on the job. If you're actually adding knowledge and experience through that process, then there will always still be a position for you and my wink models business has certainly sort of innovated and adapted and does different types. things, you know, over the last couple years, and then they did previously. And so I think, you know, it's an interesting situation where I think there will always be a place for both types, in the same way that there's a place for people who stay in hotels and people who stay in, in Airbnb s. But I think the key part for any business is working out the value that you add to your consumer. Otherwise you will be I think, disintermediated by any of these new gig economy marketplaces.

George: Yep, I 100% agree with that. So let's talk a little bit about you know, we're launching the right fit and congratulations, I saw a number this morning you're launching in New Zealand. That's incredibly exciting.

Taryn: Yeah. It's really exciting. We've got over 150 talent on the ground there already and some amazing, amazing clients and lots of Australian clients who are looking to execute in New Zealand as well. So it's amazing to have that finally, yep. And out and live and yeah, in the press and people being able to know what Got it.

George: Many congratulations. I know initially when you launched the right fit four years ago, you launched in both Australia and New York. So can you talk a little bit about the strategy behind those two there? And then what changed? And what were the learnings that sort of took place there?

Taryn: Yeah. So we launched Australia in New York at the same time, with one very key sort of CRM in the business being based in New York, as well as one of our front end developers. And so we naturally sort of assumed that very similar target markets. There's no language barriers, similar types of desires in our advertising clients there. And it was just before we'd raised capital with a venture capital partner. So as we went through that fundraising process, obviously, it's very, very time consuming. But we went through that fundraising process and really came to understand, you know, through building a really funnel Little board, that being able to do both of those things and being able to do them well would be really, really challenging on the business in terms of resources, and that it would be better to execute in one market really well and build out the product and features and get product market fit here before we looked at international markets. So that was a decision that we made probably six months after raising capital, with the advice of our board and, and it's definitely the right decision on reflection that entering a new market is very time consuming and very expensive. Putting boots on the ground and building out it's effectively like, apart from the tech that obviously powers the platform. It's basically building a whole second business so the time difference is also incredibly challenging. With New York in Australia, building a team and conquering a big goal here in Australia had to become, you know, first and foremost a priority before we looked at new markets.

George: That all makes complete sense and the initial sort of things that you did in New York and also your time spent in New Zealand, are you seeing a slight variation between these markets for the right fit? Or, you know, is there any light you could shed on that?

Taryn: Yeah, and it's interesting, obviously, we've just learnt so much now, in the sort of three and a half years that the business has been live. So when we launched into New York in Australia, we're very focused on speaking to advertising agencies and production companies and our sort of above the line production partners. And over the last two and a half years, and I think, you know, especially now with everything that's going on with COVID, we've seen a lot of clients bringing production in house content creation, house marketing resources and social strategy, execution in house so a number of our largest clients now actually, direct brands so launching into New Zealand really gave us a great insight. Because we had obviously now these three and a half years of Learning about HVAC, cool clients would be in a new market. So it definitely helped and definitely helped us execute better and with less resources in a new market than we have to here in Australia.

George: Okay, great. So I've worked in my digital marketing career with AirTasker and a few other two sided marketplaces and launching is definitely a challenge because it's that balancing act of the supply and the demand. You know, if there's, if there's brands coming on there, and there's not enough talent in all these different services that you're providing, you know, the value proposition is a bit off. And then if you've got all these suppliers on there, and then no brands are coming in, you know, everyone's idle and then hey, maybe this this isn't as great as I thought I was gonna, you know, my photography career was gonna,

Taryn: It's gonna take off. Yeah.

George: Can you talk a little bit about the initial phase of getting that balancing act. And maybe even you know, you said in New Zealand, you've got people there to provide services. Can you talk a little bit about how you manage that?

Taryn: Yeah, and you're absolutely right, like building that liquidity point in a marketplace is so challenging. Having the right amount of supply for that demand side is certainly a challenge. So, in Australia, we were very fortunate in that I had an established group of connections here across all of the categories that we were looking to fill, so photographers and makeup artists and models and, and all of those things. So we soft launched our beta phase with about 450 talent, predominantly east coast of Australia, and then built out demand for those talents. So we were very fortunate to be able to launch with those and build initial demand from there. And then predominantly, it's spread through word of mouth, in our industry in the creative industries. There isn't anywhere for a freelance talent to be able to safely and securely manage and manage their career online. So they either have the option of being within a See, which doesn't provide them transparency to all the work opportunities on offer. And obviously, there's a number of other issues with that, you know, they don't get paid for sort of 60 to 90 days from doing a job. They obviously pay large amounts of commissions. And they don't really get a say in how their brand is developed. The other option is they can work freelance and they can build their own brand online, which we see obviously happening a lot more now with platforms like Instagram and tik tok and Facebook and people being able to build their own websites and with the cost of entry to that coming down. So that's another fantastic opportunity but to do that, talent needs to manage all of their own online marketing, their admin, their insurances, invoicing, all of those things as well. So basically, The Right Fit developed a midpoint between those two, it gives them full transparency to the worker that's on offer and that they can tender for that work and control their rights. And we look after all of the stuff that would traditionally be very time consuming and difficult for them so and so it was really lucky for us that we sort of launched with this initial talent, we then had some great clients utilising platform that helped build demand and purely by word of mouth and referrals and our client, a talent side. And we were able to build that in nearly 15,000 talent and we still see it now. Like, you know, I've been really interested in watching talent approvals come through and you know, we have talent joining in Italy and in Slovakia and like some really bizarre places around the world that I'm one day how they heard about us. And that's been really interesting in new markets, it's definitely so we've done office in Singapore as well. So in those markets, it's definitely much more about having strategic connections on the ground. So finding people who have an established network in either the client or the talent side of our marketplace, and working alongside them to build out that supply and demand so that there is the right amount of work available for talent when they join and then vice versa talent available to clients and they have work opportunities.

George: And is this something you know, beyond the launch? Is this an ongoing battle? Or once you're several months in or you know, now you're three and a half years into the right fit? Is this kind of going? Or is this a constant management?

Taryn: No look, we really like I mean, we get about 250 people a day applying to join the marketplace. So, you know, it's being processed for us is straining and keeping the quality of talent in the marketplace really high. So we're very fortunate in that the supply side of our platform has never been a challenge for us. touchwood you know, never speak to too soon, but that that side of the marketplace hasn't been the challenge. And so, for us, the focus has been on building demand and demand in our marketplace and actually drive supply as well. So that's really been the focus for us is finding new clients and then reactivating existing clients for new types of work in the marketplace?

George: So could you talk a little bit about some of the digital marketing that you're doing right now? Because so am I correct in saying that most of it is, you know, from what you've gone on saying that most of it is directed towards brands, agencies, filling up the demand? And then word of mouth and sort of Yeah. Then organically, the supply end is filling up.

Taryn: Yeah, that's right. And community building on our talent side is really important for us. So we have like a closed Facebook group for our right fit members. We have newsletters that go out to our talent base. So for them, it's really about building community and making sure that they feel supported, they understand how to use the marketplace. And then yet, almost all of our marketing efforts are focused on the client side. And so we do a whole mix of things. So live events work really well for us in educating clients more broadly about the industry. So, how to create fast turnaround content, how to use influences how to measure ROI on influencer campaigns. So we do quarterly events face to face events with our clients. And that's really about obviously driving brand awareness for the right fit but also becoming a key opinion leader and a thought leader in that space and a go to when a client does have a campaign that they need to execute across any of those platforms. Email marketing works really well for us. Obviously, there's a really in a tech product like ours is a really easy way to to speak to people at different points in their lifecycle. So if someone has posted a job, but not yet checked out, or if someone's joined the marketplace but not posted a job or someone has posted a job but hasn't reactivated in over three months. So we have a whole complex system of email retargeting that goes out to those people at different times. In their customer journey, and then we have a whole bunch of things like white papers and informative videos and influence guide packs that are all about, yeah, lead gen for the business as well. So, yeah, it's a bit of a mix. And of course, obviously being in our space, the social channels work really love for us as well. So Instagram, Facebook, and obviously LinkedIn is another one because most of our we're b2b business at the core of it. So the people that we're speaking to, on the demand side are our decision makers in businesses.

George: I think what's interesting about what you're saying is understanding the the the audience and the community that you're building because, you know, you you've had all this experience with your, your modelling agency, and you know, you can do all these amazing things with all these tactics and channels that are available out there, but really speaking to your core audience and their needs is really the best way for you to grow.

Taryn: Yeah, yeah, I mean, And the quote Clayton Christensen, you know, methodology of like, what is the job to be done? Like, what is this person actually trying to achieve? Is it? You know, I think he can get very caught up in the practicality of using the marketplace as opposed to actually understanding, you know, the job to be done for a brand is to sell product or, you know, sell a service. And if we get back to focusing on what it is that the actual job to be done, and less about them, methodology of how they get there. That's sort of how we try and focus our marketing efforts in helping them think about the actual job unless about the practicalities of how they get there.

George: Yeah. And I thought that you had a very customer centric approach. I had a dive on the website this morning, just to refresh my memory and whatnot. And then I head back to Facebook and I got a nice ad that was one of those ebooks. And you know, what it was titled, what should you be paying influencers and I think that is a question that you know, a lot of digital marketers thinking No influences are important. Everyone's doing it, you know, but how do we go about this? What should our budget be, you know, those kinds of things and providing those answers to your audience is very critical and seems like a really great way to be going about, you know, building that trust.

Taryn: Yeah. And it's something that I'm really passionate about more broadly is just demystifying our whole industry, I think, you know, as a brand starting out, it can be incredibly intimidating, picking up the phone and calling a modelling agency or picking up the phone and calling up photographers producer or trying to understand what you should be paying to shoot a video and, and I think that that's, that's, that's not a great place to be as as an industry. We don't want our industry to be seen as one that's intimidating, that people shouldn't feel comfortable asking questions about and that they don't get started because it's full of jargon. And so I've always wanted to make this platform to really build a sense of community and trust and, and education and information for both sides of our marketplace, our clients and our talent to make it easier and more approachable for them to go about creating any type of content, whether that's an influencer campaign or a video shoot or TBC you know, just being able to unlock that process and really democratised content.

George: Yeah, I think what, what's so great about that and something I noticed, particularly at the footer of your website was just the S from an SEO perspective, I was very impressed. Like each region, each region categorise, you know, influences Sydney that I was like, Okay, these guys doing a great job there. And then to the right hand side, you know, you've got all the questions that people be asking, I believe is like, how much does an influencer cost? And you know, all these types of questions. I think, you know, provide demystifying and providing that that information is obviously a really key component to your messaging in this space.

Taryn: Yeah, definitely, definitely.

George: Can we talk a little bit about, you know, somebody's going on the website, their user experience? You know what, how? Because basically, these are like little landing pages. It's sort of like a sales tool. How does the right fit? Think about, you know, what features Do we need to put on these pages? What do we need to remove? How is that process? How does that process take place? And do the landing pages evolve over time?

Taryn: Oh, my gosh, absolutely. And we've had so many iterations of the core product itself, we're actually in the middle of a big product development at the moment. Okay, so a Beta, what are we now in mid May, it probably two months away, maybe. And, and we're really fortunate in that we get so much incredible feedback from both sides of our marketplace, and they are so on this journey with us, which, you know, I honestly can't thank them enough. We have got clients who will proactively come to us with ideas about how we could improve the user experience or new features that we could add. You know, same with the talent side. So it's absolutely a, you know, an ongoing work in progress. And, and a lot of it is obviously, based around the data and the usage of the platform. So seeing how people what categories they're posting jobs in, and how long it takes them to check out, and the volume of talent was joined in different categories and from what regions and, and as we have all of that sort of usage data. And then we have the actual sort of qualitative feedback from customers and talent, it makes it really easy to say what needs to change or what new landing pages that we need or features that we want to build out. So it's been a really iterative process. And I think also as the broader industry changes, you know, even 18 months ago, we certainly didn't have brands using influencers in the way that they do now. You know, it was much more of this sort of, you know, buy this protein powder kind of thing, less about a really holistic, integrated campaign with content creators and long form video and and SEO, you know, building out backlink strategies with influencers on their blogs and things like that. So the industry is evolving so quickly. So our job, you know, as a platform is to sort of try and innovate and adapt and continue to meet the needs of the market. And both our client and talent side so yeah, it's been an interesting journey.

George: When you say the could you shed a bit more light on the changes you've noticed with the influences so when you say more holistic approach, you know, less of, he has one post with the protein bottle and more like you're doing Instagram stories, you're gonna do a YouTube vlog, you're gonna have these things sprinkled in, in multiple ways.

Taryn: Absolutely. And I think we saw, you know, say 1824 months ago, and there was a real focus on the vanity metric. So brands are looking for someone that had a really, really high number of followers. And then they started thinking about not just a number of folks But engagement, right? And that's, you know, a good first step. And then they were starting to think about, okay, well, what is the audience of that person? Do they actually have the right age and gender and location of their followers? And you know, that that was as some of the platforms started making that data more readily available. And also, I think, as brands tried and tested things and saw what worked and what didn't, and started asking those deeper questions. So I think, you know, we got to a good place there where they were starting to understand analytics and then I think we've seen this almost deeper understanding of engaging with an influencer about creating trust and authority. So as opposed to seeing it as just purely a distribution channel. Like, you know, I can use it use this platform to deliver, you know, 100,000 impressions or whatever. They're actually seeing that this person has built trust and community and authority over time in a particular niche and the best way to utilise that perfect Is allow them to collaboratively create a brand story. And that's really scary for brands right? Because marketing is usually brand first. It's this is our message. This is what we're selling. This is the language we use. This is what we wanted. Here's an ad. And social media doesn't work like that social media isn't for ads. It's the conversation and two way dialogue. So I'm working through that process of relinquishing control for a brand and finding people that I can work with on a collaborative basis. has definitely taken time, but we're certainly seeing it now. And it's really powerful. I mean, you'll see great campaigns where a brand has integrated an influence and maybe into the Babylon content, maybe that person features in the TV, commercial or in the print ad. And then they are creating content on a regular and ongoing basis. Maybe they're appearing at the launch event. And it feels much more holistic and real than those ad hoc one of posts, which I think brands have identified. Just don't really move the maida in a city. Why now. And I think that also comes from consumers maturing to the market as well. And understanding that there is a new, I guess, economy here where people are paid to create content and post on social channels and, and that for a consumer to want to engage with content, it needs to be informative, it needs to be entertaining, it needs to add value to their lives in some way. So for brands who have to get cut through and to really shift the needle in driving brand awareness, or purchases, or some type of conversion down the funnel, they really need to be looking for new and better ways to engage influences. So I certainly think we're coming you know, in the right direction. And I think, you know, over the next 12 months, especially with some of these newer platforms as well talk and and brands looking more cohesively about these sort of influencer strategies. I think we're going to see some really exciting things and brands, really doing cool things that, you know, and I think COVID hopefully will prompt that as well. Because I think it's, it's forced a lot of brands and marketers to stop and think about how should my brand be communicating during this time? And how can I build community? And how can I add value? And a lot of those things are things that can be done in social channels and using influences. And so I think it's a really a really powerful step in the right direction.

George: Yeah, I mean, it's so interesting to hear that evolution, I think I've seen that as well in my you know, my day to day job working in an agency, you know, a few years ago, people all about click through rates, impressions, and now it's like, you know, what are we actually trying to achieve here? What is our main objective? So, you know, you've sort of mentioned briefly there, you know, some of the changes and new ways of thinking about marketing and influences you. What have you seen within the two sided marketplace? What have you seen some of the changes there? And I'd imagine, you know, there's probably more competition. I know, you're indirectly, one of your indirect competitors is tribe. So, you know, how, what are some of the things that you guys do to separate yourself from the rest of the pack?

Taryn: Yeah, I mean, tribe is a great business, you know, they're, they're a content creation platform. So if you need fast turnaround volume content made for your brand, from micro influences for things like, you know, can of coke or, you know, products and that, especially in the fmcg space, people can go out, purchase the product, shoot some photos, upload it, and you decide to buy it. And obviously, our platform sort of encompasses that but then obviously, what about celebrities and hair makeup artists and videographers and people to actually appear in TV campaigns and print campaigns? So I think for us as a brand, it's been about saying really At core values as well, which is about empowering the creative community, and giving them the tools to do their job and pursue the careers they love. And so it's about making sure all of the things that we, you know, launched to do. So making sure that they get paid on time making sure that they're safe and secure, making sure that they have full transparency for the work that's on offer. And then they get to set their own rates and, and that they're not doing work, that they're not being compensated for, you know, they're not going out and buying a product that they haven't been booked to, to create a campaign for. So just really staying true to, you know, why we launched the business and then I think just looking for innovative new ways to adapt, so certainly with platforms like tic toc and and as we see demand coming from our clients, the new features and functionality and, and types of talent. You know, the celebrities division that we sort of copped out on the platform was really driven by both supply and demand side. We saw so many celebrities coming to the platform wanting to listen to And carve out a Korea. And then we had the demand from the client side coming to us saying, Hey, we need a, you know, celebrity dad for this TV commercial in Melbourne or whatever it might be. And so that was a product feature that was added based on demand from both sides. So just listening to the market and seeing what their needs are and trying to continue to adapt, I think it is really key for us. But without losing sight. I think why started because you know, it is so easy, especially as an entrepreneur, it's so easy to get caught up in shiny things. And you know, you see great new ideas all the time thing, I'm gonna add that I'm gonna, you know, we'll pivot here, we'll do this thing, but staying core to what your true core values are and why we launched the platform and making sure that it's going to be a value add to both sides of that community, I think is the most important thing for us.

George: That's something that has rung true with every one that I've interviewed on this podcast so far is you know, the shiny, shiny object syndrome, you know, oh, there's this new algorithmic x y Zed and this bid optimization and this is gonna be this is the linchpin to success. But yeah, you know, really at the broader level, you know, it's really about understanding the market, the authenticity, and the community aspects. You've mentioned a number of times the Facebook group, you know, not only are you a two sided marketplace, but you add that safety element. So those barriers to protect your audiences, obviously, there's a caring, or, you know, an understanding of the kind of predicaments these individuals go through in their day to day lie.

Taryn: Absolutely. And yeah, I think it's such a true trait of entrepreneurs is that we love shiny objects and tunity to see an opportunity everywhere. And I think for us, it's, you know, focusing on our Northstar metric and, and it's something that you know, I really struggled with in the first year of business because we had so many amazing opportunities, you know, people wanting to white label the platform or to do a JV into a new market and you know, so you're constantly almost inundated with these things that seemed like really, really exciting ideas, but working out what was going to make the biggest difference to our core community and what was going to drive us closer to whatever that Northstar metric was, you know, so, and it's hard. I mean, saying no is, you know, is hard, right? Like you really want to pursue every but understanding that you've sort of got a finite finite resources and finite amount of time to prove that product market fit before you can go in to see all of these other exciting ideas. Yep,

George: Yep, completely. So you mentioned tik tok a few times. I'm on tik tok. And one of my videos actually went viral. It was my cat's tail. Oh my god, and it got 400,000 views. And yeah, that was hilarious. Hilarious, hilarious. I mean, I'm just babbling you know, but it's, it's really fascinating. It's a fascinating platform. And I find myself a lot more glued to it than Instagram and Facebook. I can just keep scrolling and just the creativity that everyone's put on display and these songs and these themes come through, you know, are you seeing tik tok as a big player in the next few years for not only the right fit, but this whole influencer or digital marketing landscape that we're in? We're moving Yeah,

Taryn: it's really interesting because brands are sort of struggling to understand how to engage with the platform, which is completely understandable. And then one of the platforms that they don't they don't have open API's. So it's harder for external parties to be able to work with Tick Tock as a platform. And that presents a challenge for marketers, you know, obviously they need external validation tools and auditing and reporting and even campaign management tools which all the other platforms have but unfortunately Tick Tock without an open API's is impossible to work with in that capacity. So I think when you know, for the first probably 12 months that Tick Tock has has been sort of a thing in Australia, and it was very targeted to that Gen Z, maybe straight into millennials, but definitely a younger audience. And I think with COVID, we've seen a big shift. So I think now we've got, you know, lots of people who have downloaded the platform who are using it, who are if not creating content, at least consuming content. And that's another challenge now for marketers to say, Okay, well, we thought we had an idea of what this platform was, you know, it was a platform that we would use to speak to a very particular type and age of an audience. Now, it's not that now it actually has, you know, a vaster type of demographic on the platform. So I definitely think it's something that brands are starting to look at integrating into their campaigns. Again, as I touched on earlier, social media and influence campaigns are really challenging for brands to relinquish that control to content creators or influencers at the best of times. tik tok is even more challenging in the sense that, you know, challenges can be set daily. The platform is changing so quickly, what is trending, trending is changing so quickly. They can't have a six week lead time to craft a tic Tock campaign and decide they're going to use this particular challenge or this particular debt. It just won't be relevant by the time content goes live. So I think, yeah, there's a couple of things at play there, I think until brands can get faster or more comfortable with relinquishing control, not having content approval processes and things like that. And until the platform really opens up the API and allows external parties to plug into that and pull data and help marketers manage a campaign. I'm not sure I don't see that it will surpass Japan in the short term, at least as the most prolific platform but for marketers at the moment.

George: Yeah. But it's interesting how I feel as though the lifecycle of a social media has almost become a little more concrete with the launch of Tick tock, you know, we've seen Facebook, you know, grandmas on Facebook now. Yeah, mom's on Instagram. Now. Yeah, and you know, mums maybe not on tik tok quite yet, but in a few years time, you know, it sort of starts to pile in, what would be your advice? You know, you touched upon something interesting there with, you know how brands relinquish control, you know, what would be your advice to a brand manager or somebody looking to move into maybe tik tok or more influencer branded content? You know, what, how would you Yeah, sort of position this or how would you change their way of thinking here?

Taryn: Absolutely. So, we always say be clear, but don't be dictatorial. So, if you think of influencers as like little mini media production houses, a great influencer is a storyteller, a creative director, a photographer, videographer, retoucher, model, stylist, you know, all of those things in mind. So, the best way to work is to work collaboratively, empower them with as much income as you can and don't assume that they know things like your brand colours, your brand tone of voice, you know any of your other brand guidelines. So empower them with all of that information and then explain to them what success looks like and what the overarching goal is because I think a lot of the times that's missed a lot of the times a brand will say, okay, we want one Instagram post, and we want it to be online for 60 days, and we want one Instagram story with swipe up or whatever it might be without actually saying, Okay, well, the end goal here is to drive signups for our newsletter, or is to drive conversion of a particular product or reposition the brand and a new target audience. So if you actually have the conversation with an influencer, about what the end goal is, they can add so much more value in the process. And they might say, Well, actually, a better way to do this would be doing a EDM out to my database of 100,000 subscribers, offering a discount on that particular product or us writing a collaborative white paper together that can be downloaded for lead gen to drive subscribers to your database. So if you can work collaboratively with them and empower them with the information about your brand, and then an understanding of what the goals are that you want to achieve, that can add so much more value, and you'll both succeed more, because they'll be able to understand how they can add value through their audience. And they obviously deeply into that they know their followers and their audience. And for your brand, you're actually going to achieve what it was that you set out to achieve, you know, whether it's repositioning or conversions or whatever it was that we sort of talked about, instead of just being this prescriptive dictatorial process. I think that we still, unfortunately see.

George: So more sort of looking at them as an expert, less less of a transaction or you know, like, what, what can you do for us and how can we wrap that around our objectives?

Taryn: Yes, yeah. perfect way to sum that up. I'm stealing that

George: Taryn, that I would like to just briefly touch upon with you. What are some of the lessons you know, we talked about some of the things that happened with the launch? You know, if someone were to say to you, hey, Taryn, I'm thinking of starting a two sided marketplace, what would be some of those few takeaways? And particularly validating your idea because I think you were in the industry. You saw it first hand where it was going, you know, that's a very critical part. Have this, you know, knowing that the idea is going to work and having a good inkling of that, you know, what are some of those top line pieces of advice you would say to somebody if they were to start a two sided marketplace?

Taryn: Definitely start with an MVP. I mean, we started with a WordPress website, that every time when I was building, it was like that is a polling idea. You can't build a two sided marketplace on WordPress. But we did and it was fine. And WordPress has come a long way. So I would highly recommend just starting with something quick and dirty and seeing if there is actually an appetite for what you're building. Because as you touched on building the supply and the demand side of the marketplace is time consuming and expensive. Like everyone knows that about marketplaces. That's how they are. So if you can actually get a little bit of a proof of concept first before you decide to throw all of your time and energy and go out and raise capital into building the supply and demand. I think it's definitely something that I would highly recommend. And I also think deeply understanding the domain that you're going to operate In, because I think, you know, people say, you know, you can create a marketplace for anything, right. But I think if you don't really deeply understand the pain points that you're actually solving for. So I was fortunate in that I had a really deep domain expertise in the creative industry and modelling industry and talent industry. So I think if you are going to want a two sided marketplace, make sure that you understand the pain points that you are actually solving, because I think that that can often be missed when people are just in a in a hurry or desire to build a two sided marketplace. And then I think really listening to your customers, I think, you know, it's always the entrepreneur trap, you are not your customer. You know, we all have these bright shiny ideas, but making sure and we ran so many customer feedback sessions, and we still do every time we're going to launch a new product. We'll have figma files for people to click through and touch in and fill out and really workshopping all of that before we go about building any new features and functionality because I'm done. As customers, especially those first, you know, beta testers, or you know, early adopters can provide so much important feedback, and and use case scenarios of how you may never have expected your product to be used. So, I think, yeah, never stop listening to your community.

George: Yeah, I think that's very sound advice and understanding the pain points, what are you offering, and what solutions are you offering to these individuals? I think that is a really key takeaway from this podcast. So to finish up terron. You know, I'd like to ask you just two more questions. Where do you see the two sided marketplace space going in the next sort of three, five years? What sort of challenges or things that you expect down the track?

Taryn: I think especially, I mean, I know a lot about the gig economy. And, you know, that's obviously the area we operate in. I think we're already seeing it. And I think that that's only been sort of expedited through This period of Coronavirus is people shifting towards using experts instead of generalists. And I think that Gone are the days that you hire someone in a full time role that has, you know, some of the skills that you need. And when you can now find because of globalisation and technology, you can find the best in breed person who is an absolute expert in UX or digital marketing or whatever it might be, you know, CFO, and you don't need to have that person full time you can have them, you know, through a gig economy marketplace, you can have them ad hoc as you need to deliver results to deliver a project. It's far more financially viable for a company to deliver better results. And I think from an employee or from a talent side of the marketplace, allows them to do what they love and do what they do best. And be paid accordingly. For the expertise that they are So I think we will definitely see more of that and especially now after COVID will see businesses thinking much more strategically about how they engage with the human resources in their organisation. And I don't think that we're going to see a rush for organisations to fill back up with full time employees, I think we're definitely going to see many more people engaging, get experts and, and contract workers, especially, you know, with all of the fantastic economy, marketplaces that we have up work and freelancer, and, you know, all of these things that people can combine truly talented experts. And I think we've just proven through, hopefully most companies through this period that you can work remotely and that does work. And so the person doesn't necessarily need to be in the 20 kilometre radius of where your offices are, they can be on the other side as well and deliver fantastic results.

George: Yeah, it's a Definitely we're in a very interesting time and you know this site, you know, your business couldn't have existed 10 years ago. So it's been great to have you on to share your insights, Taryn.

Taryn: Thank you.

George: Yeah, it's been really great to chat. Just Finally, what's next for the rifle? I know we've already touched upon you launching in New Zealand. Yes. Anything else you would like to? You know, let the audience know that's coming up.

Taryn: Yeah. So we're doing a big product development, which Fingers crossed, we'll be ready in about two months. So you'll see some exciting news about that. And also launching in one more new market touchwood pending all things Coronavirus. And in the US in about four months as well. So international expansion is on the cards for us and new products and, and services for both sides of our marketplace. So, all hands on deck over here.

George: extremely exciting. And it's been really, really great to pick your brains. I think there's some very good key takeaways about you know, you can, you can get distracted with all the features and all this new amazing stuff we have in digital marketing and technology but the human element understanding you know the needs. I think that is a really key takeaway to take from this podcast. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for moving forward and we'll speak soon.

Taryn: Sounds good.

George: Cheers.