Experiences from the LinkedIn Agency Influencer Program

As the LinkedIn Agency Influencer program kicks off for 2017 the runner up in last year's program, GroupM's director of technical operations Timothy Whitfield, shares what he got from last year's experience.

The LinkedIn Agency Influencer Program is wrapping up in a couple of days and it’s been a very tumultuous ride. The competition ran for about 6 months and was represented by almost every agency or media holding group. This is the last article written for the LinkedIn Agency Influencer Program so it seemed fitting to write a “wrap-up” article.

Timothy Whitfield finished second in last year’s program

Below is a list of 10 unexpected experiences gained by participating in this program.

  1. Found Great Competition – Some of the articles that have been written by my competitors in this competition have been nothing short of first class. There have been articles from Pokemon to Presentations and from Trump to Viewability. Also, a strong shout out to the amazing level of great ‘office banter’ about the competition. Not a day has passed in the last 6 months without some type of friendly rivalry between some of competitors. I feel that offices should be powered by equal parts of (a) hard work (b) office banter. 🙂
  2. AdNews Power List– I’ve been luckily enough to be put on the edge of the AdNews Power 50 list. This was an amazing honor, but partly due to the great platform that LinkedIn has created. It allows people to ‘find a voice’ and project this voice to a global audience.
  3. ANZMAC Conference – One particular article on LinkedIn was called the The Pitt-falls of Programmatic Data. The article on LinkedIn was only 3 pages but we also published a longer document (12 pages) and will be presented at the ANZMAC conference later this year. Without the LinkedIn program this paper would never have been written!
  4. Started a Debating Series – During the last 6 months we have launched a quarterly debating series. There has been two debates so far (Full Stack vs Pure Play) and (TV vs Digital). The most recent debate was organised purely on LinkedIn. The LinkedIn platform was used to promote the event, organize the tickets and even explain the rules. Without the LinkedIn Influencer program the debate may not have even happened, but now it will be a quarterly event!
  5. Other Writing Opportunities – One specific article on Hyper Local Geo Targeting seemed to catch the attention of several companies. People felt that it was shocking that (a) companies says that location targeting is so easy, but (b) when put to the test it was much harder than you think. Other companies picked up on this and asked for more specific articles to be written. See here for an example. This opportunity wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the LinkedIn program.
  6. Interviewed New Technologies – One of the best things about the job is meeting new technologies and meeting the people selling these pieces of Ad-Tech. Since beginning the program there has been dozens of new new Ad-Tech companies, that I’d never heard of, which have reached out to me and explained how their technology works. The more tech we learn the better for our clients!
  7. Found Passionate People – There have been so many people met during this period. My network of LinkedIn colleagues has quite literally doubled over the last 6 months. Some of these new connections naturally wanted me to review their technology, others just wanted to give their feedback on the Ad-Tech articles and a few even wanted my opinion on selecting which Ad-Tech company they should work for. Each and every one of these people have been amazing and I’m truly grateful to have met them all.
  8. Interesting Investment Insights – One of the articles about Automated Guaranteed ended up on a couple of stock market sites. This was very flattering but also very “real”. I later learned that some people invested money in various Ad-Tech companies based on this article! Once again, something that wouldn’t have happened without this LinkedIn Influencer program.
  9. Found my love for writing – This program has shown me that I actually love writing articles. I don’t play golf, I don’t ride push bikes on weekends but I do look forwards to pouring myself a tall Gin (Hendricks) and Tonic and writing a piece on Ad-Tech on a Sunday nights. At the beginning of the LinkedIn program I was dreading the process but towards the end I was really looking forwards to it. I needed my ‘weekly writing fix’.
  10. Found my personal limits – I never believed that I could be part of this competition. When I first told my family that I was taking part they didn’t really understand what it was about, however at the end of the competition my family were all very supportive. They proof read documents, helped me come up with new ideas and supported me by finding time for me to write. For that, I say a huge THANKS to my amazing family for helping me participate in this program.

This experience has been amazing, and I strongly urge YOU to participate in the program next year. It doesn’t really matter if you win or don’t win the competition, as Nelson Mandela said “I never lose. I either win or learn“.

Timothy Whitfield is director, technical operations, GroupM

 

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