Influencer marketing through social media has become an indispensable tool in the modern age. Companies dedicate whole budget lines for this form of marketing and those that fail, do so at their peril.
However, despite the technological advances, the word of mouth still carries a lot of weight among prospecting customers, which is why consumers spend a lot of time on social media platforms finding out product user views.
Until a few years ago, no one had found a way of monetising these user views until Brian Mogeni, 27, and Mike Otieno,33 stepped in with their innovation, Wowzi. Their platform is revolutionising the marketing space not just in Kenya, but in Africa.
Theirs is a unique entrepreneurship journey. Unlike most start-up founders, when the two came together, they had no idea what to do.
"“Wowzi is a platform that makes everybody an influencer while enabling brands to get a return of investment for their efforts.""
They happened to share a mutual mentor, David Gatende, the CEO of Davis & Shirtliff who would mentor them separately.
However, noting that two of his mentees had complementary skills, he organised a dinner where they met for the first time. At that time, Brian was working at Opera, the multi-platform internet giant, building products such as opera news. Mike was working in the venture capital side helping start-up founders find investors.
“We only came together because we noted that our values aligned and we could build something together. Most of our first months were spent talking about what we believed in and what came out was that technology was very important and Africa was important to us. We were interested in solutions that could solve deep African problems. We did a lot of dinners and coffee to figure out if we could start something and that’s how we ended up with Wowzi,” says Mike.
“Wowzi is a platform that makes everybody an influencer while enabling brands to get a return of investment for their efforts. Wowzi amplifies what has existed since time immemorial and that is the idea that word of mouth is still the best kind of marketing. However, no one had organised word of mouth before. So we thought; how can we organise and turn everyone into a potential influencer? ”
Wowzi has automated and integrated with a variety of platforms and pays influencers weekly. Brand safety is a crucial concern for firms putting their money into influencer marketing and to address this, Wowzi has integrated facial recognition to verify the identity of influencers.
“We also do background checks on influencers, monitor what they post on their social media pages, and train them on content creation.”
Wowzi has been in existence for less than two years and has over 60,000 influencers using the platform. The growth has been exponential and in the next couple of weeks, they will be setting base in Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana.
In a week, the platform pays over Sh5 million to influencers in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania thanks to brands such as Coca-Cola, Netflix, Safaricom, and other brands that use their platform.
Through their Artificial Intelligence-powered machine learning platform that can algorithmically match a brand with the right influencer they are on their way to creating over a million jobs, in just under two years.