Gordon Glenister On Influencer Marketing, Trees, and Entrepreneurship

Gordon Glenister is a global expert on influencer marketing having set up the UK association arm of the Branded Content Marketing Association influence division. He is also an award-winning author with Influencer marketing strategy and hosts the Influence the Global podcast. Gordon is a regular on the speaker circuit and often hosts panel discussions around influencer marketing and community building. Gordon also writes for the London Evening Standard. He is also a member of the Marketing Podcast network. he is a father to 3 boys and lives in the UK just outside the university capital of Cambridge Little known fact, he is also a qualified tree surgeon.

Key Moments

[00:05:00] First book success reveals self-doubt struggles.

[00:06:56] Quick break, back to show, love it.

[00:11:26] Making a difference, inspiring, collaborating, connecting, variety.

[00:14:08] Cash flow problems, fluctuating investments, reviewing success, hiring good people, appreciating hard work, questioning affordable charges.

[00:17:40] Entrepreneurial upbringing, inspired by gardening, making people happy.

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Transcript (Provided by CastMagic.io)

Seth [00:00:00]:

Entrepreneurs Enigma is a podcast for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. With the wins and the fails that we all face be entrepreneurs. How we learn from adversity. Every week I talk to a different entrepreneur with a story to tell. I’m Seth Goldstein. Come with me on the journey. This is Entrepreneurs Enigma. Let’s get started. You. Hey everyone. Welcome to another edition of the Entrepreneurs and Digma podcast. I am, as always, Seth, your loyal host with the mostist. I am here with another MPN or marketing podcast network host. He has a great show on the network. We’ll talk about that a little bit, but it’s Gordon Linnister. He is an influencer marketing expert. Some people don’t like to be called that, but I’ll call him that because I think he is he’s based in the UK, so he’s got the cool accent. He has been involved in membership organizations setting them up. I mean, if you look at his website@gordonglanister.com, literally, his timeline is insane. He did this, did this. He’s been added to some diapers, it seems like. So he’s also a tree surgeon because at some point during this time, he felt like being a landscaper. Where he found the time to do any of this, I have no idea. I mean, I thought I was busy. He is a father of three boys and he lives just outside of Cambridge, UK, not Massachusetts. So let’s bring him in here. Hey, Gordon. How’s it going, buddy?

Gordon [00:01:36]:

Good to see you, Seth.

Seth [00:01:40]:

Good accent. So how are you, buddy?

Gordon [00:01:44]:

Yeah, no, I’m good. I was just talking to you earlier. We just come back from the podcast show last week, which was amazing. Biggest podcast show in the world.

Seth [00:01:54]:

And so 10,000 people or something like that. It’s insane.

Gordon [00:01:57]:

10,000 people, 40 countries represented.

Seth [00:02:00]:

10,000 people listen to podcasts like, wow, maybe this is a real thing now.

Gordon [00:02:07]:

It was a lot of fun and obviously a lot of people that were thinking about starting podcasts, a lot of people think about monetizing it. So one of my sessions was just that how to monetize your podcast, which is tough.

Seth [00:02:20]:

It is monetized.

Gordon [00:02:21]:

It is tough. But I was able to say to the audience, the session, I think grabbed them. Is that one of my podcasts? I’ve got three, actually.

Seth [00:02:29]:

One of them add that to the timeline.

Gordon [00:02:33]:

One of them, the membership world one actually, we’ve only done 15 episodes, but we’ve already generated seven and a half thousand pounds worth of revenue with just 15 episodes. And actually one of the things that’s been really interesting is this is very relevant to influence as well. They supported me right from Naught followers. They just felt as though because of the nature of what I was doing and the type of people I was going to be interviewing that was completely targeted towards their audience and they supported me right from the start.

Seth [00:03:06]:

That’s awesome. Oh my God. You’re like, Damn, I’m good. You are awesome. I forgot to mention this also, you are the author of an awesome book, influencer Marketing Strategy, which is right behind his ear. There you go. It’s got a hashtag and a word bubble as his graphic, which is very well designed to cover. I like it. I like covers that are simple, that get the message across. Catch your eye when it’s on a bookshelf.

Gordon [00:03:32]:


Seth [00:03:32]:

Don’t hurt you over the head.

Gordon [00:03:34]:

Yeah. No, I agree. I’ve actually got another book that’s the same it’s the same book. I’m going to show you this, actually, because you probably haven’t seen this. So it’s the same book here, but in Portuguese. And what they oh my God.

Seth [00:03:49]:

They got really fancy for those on the audio podcast. Your front flap, it goes up and down. It’s like spaceship. Yeah.

Gordon [00:04:01]:

Well, the reason they did that was because they wanted to show the power of influence. And obviously by having it growing and exponentially, it was quite a smart way of doing it. I didn’t design any of these things, but it’s really interesting to see how what grabs your attention, that grabs your.

Seth [00:04:16]:

Attention, and it’s actually a simple design. So you open it up, it’s like, whoa, it expands. That is what we call a metaphor. Definitely. So, Gordon, you’ve been at this for just a few years, right? Just a few years, yeah.

Gordon [00:04:29]:

And to be honest with, I fell into it because I used to think that my entire career would be largely around promotional merchandise, or swag, as you call it. I used to be the CEO of the British Promotional Merchandise Association for eleven years, and that’s what I thought I would be doing always, Mr. Merchandise. And it wasn’t until 2018 that I thought I’ve done.

Seth [00:04:55]:

I was joking when I said just a few years, but you actually have only gotten into this part of it in 2018.

Gordon [00:05:00]:

Yeah, literally. And that’s why writing a book was really quite a momentous thing for me because A, I’ve never written a book before, and last year my publisher put it forward for the Business Book of the Year Awards, and I was the finalist in the Sales and Marketing category. And I won’t lie, Seth, I was so emotional because I bet even though you’re writing a book, you don’t make a lot of money from writing a book at all unless you’re in the consumer domestic sector. But it’s because I was around such amazing other authors and I felt very humbled. And I wanted to say that to your listeners and viewers because sometimes when you look at somebody and you think, wow, they’ve achieved so much, but actually they can also be going through some challenging self confidence issues about, am I worthy? Am I good enough?

Seth [00:05:48]:

And it was my sister that imposter syndrome.

Gordon [00:05:51]:

That’s the word. Yeah, impostor syndrome. And she said to me, nobody else is going to write a book on influencer marketing strategy by Gordon Glennister. And I thought, she’s right. And I just went with it. I think what I did do, though, which I think is a real lesson in influence, is I thought I always have this approach, always find industry godfathers. I’ve always done it. I’ve always found I want to be sat at the top table. How do I get at the top table where all of the major discussions in the industry are going on? And I think it’s probably because of my background in associations that you associate.

Seth [00:06:27]:


Gordon [00:06:28]:

So is this credibility by association? And so I interviewed some amazing people that were leaders in their field and they felt quite honored to be involved in the book as well. So, of course, when I came to launch the book, I had all these amazing people that were sharing it and saying amazing things about the book. And of course, that in itself became my own influencer marketing strategy by the book itself.

Seth [00:06:56]:

We’re going to take a quick break here from our sponsors and get right back to the show. I love it. I mean, that’s the whole idea behind Entrepreneurs Enigma. I’ll fund my own podcast. The fact that I’m on our marketing podcast network is fun because I get to hang out with you. Cool chaps. But literally, it is a business development tool for me. It’s a way for me to meet people when I get to talk to a guy across the pond who is an influencer marketing expert who wrote the book on it. Yes, it’s because we’re in the same network and I know you that way. Our paths might cross anyhow because I’m out looking for people to talk to. And literally this was Ian Trescott, one of our buddies on the network says was his Rockstar CMO podcast was a pandemic project because what hell are you going to do during a pandemic? You’re stuck inside. This is a pandemic project for me and I love it because of it.

Gordon [00:07:47]:

Yeah, one of my best guests actually on my podcast was the founder of B and I, I don’t know if you know B and I yeah, I interviewed Ivan Meisner and what an amazing I mean, he’s worth $13 million. He’s in 83 countries, he’s accessible.

Seth [00:08:06]:

I’ve actually talked to him before. So again, I’ve actually talked to him before.

Gordon [00:08:09]:

He’s a lovely guy, really lovely. And I actually named my podcast episode We Need to Get a Bigger Boat because he realized that actually what he started was not big enough. It was growing. And it was a lovely, lovely story. And I think that’s what’s great about the whole world of podcasting and just we’re helping build relationships and connections with people that I find a lot greater, longer lasting, where trust is built. For me, influence is all about trust.

Seth [00:08:45]:


Gordon [00:08:45]:

And for example, I’ve known you through our networks and stuff, therefore I trust you. And if you bring in people to my community, there is a sense of inbuilt trust. But if I didn’t know you, and you were just sending me stuff on LinkedIn or spamming me like so many other people think is the right way to go about, they wonder why they get such a poor level. Of response and why influence marketing, I think is such a powerful tool, to be honest, is you are using people that have already got engaged audiences to tap into that and share your product or service. But it’s not about selling in, it’s about collaborating with them so that the influencer adds value to their network as well as you being able to promote your product and service through their tone of voice.

Seth [00:09:38]:

Oh, I love it. Yeah, I love it. So you’ve been an entrepreneur for a while, you’ve run associations, you’ve done this, you’ve done that, you’re a tree doctor, all that good stuff. What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur? Not necessarily cog in the wheel.

Gordon [00:09:57]:

I like the freedom. I like the fact that every day is different. I love the fact that when I used to go into London on the train, I mean, this is how I don’t know if it’s the same in America, but when you see people that have literally done jobs all their life I’ve got to say, it’s a funny story. When I started out commuting into London, I had a job where I had to go in for a while, actually, when I was running the association, and I went onto the train platform and it was empty, it was hardly anybody there. And then people started to arrive and then this guy came in and stood next to me within about a few inches, and I’m thinking, For God’s sake, there’s an entire platform. What’s going on here? And then somebody else stood next to him. And then I realized that there was these groups of six people all the way along the platform and they were literally geared towards exactly where the train doors came out. I thought, oh, my God, this is what commuting is all about.

Seth [00:11:00]:

It’s not quite that much, at least in Philadelphia, because in Philadelphia, we’re not at the point of origin. A lot of times you’re not pushing.

Gordon [00:11:10]:

Them in the train like in Tokyo.

Seth [00:11:13]:

You kind of just go, it’s kind of free for all. It’s not orderly queue like in Japan.

Gordon [00:11:20]:

The British are famous for queuing.

Seth [00:11:21]:

Of course, they coined the term.

Gordon [00:11:26]:

What else do I like? Do you know what? I like? Making a difference. And that is the core of what I do. I love the fact that being able to educate, inspire, and I’m approaching nearly 60 now, and when I think I’m in an industry full of lots of young people, I love the fact that I’ve got 24 year olds and 23 year olds looking up to me and saying, how can you help me with my business? And they’re also the ones, Seth, that have got sometimes a million followers on TikTok and yet they’re still coming to me. I love this sense of the word collaboration, which is very core to what influencer marketing is all about. It’s less transactional, it’s much more about people relationships. And I love listening to people’s journeys. I was speaking to somebody earlier today that on the face of it was quite successful. But actually financially, when I say successful, doing lots of things, but we can all do lots of things as entrepreneurs and put this facade out there, but are the bills being paid? And I think I’m a great believer in particularly amongst men, might I say, we love to talk about when things are going well. But actually I connect sometimes when people are having a bit of a rough time sometimes and saying, you know what, things aren’t as good as they are and I don’t know what it is. But when we share stuff, either one on one or even online and we’re sharing a bit more about frail side that things aren’t as good as they are, I think certainly we found this with content. People engage more because it feels like it’s real or it’s authentic and people genuinely want to help you, particularly when we’ve gone through I’m still going through a cost of living crisis and people aren’t spending as much as they were. Tell me about being an entrepreneur is being able to talk with other people about different things. And what I love about influencer marketing is I can be an event about beauty and fashion. One money and then I’m at the International Food Exhibition another time and then I’m at something completely different, like in finance. So that’s the love I like about it is the variety more than anything else.

Seth [00:14:04]:

So on the flip side, what keeps you up at night? What’s the scariest thing about being an entrepreneur?

Gordon [00:14:08]:

Well, cash flow. I mean, probably who doesn’t have that problem? Particularly when you’ve got things that are going up and down. I think you can review what you did well and what you didn’t. Having good people around you. I’m always a great believer in you are defined by the company you keep and the people that you employ. And I’ve got a team of people in the Philippines that have been absolutely fantastic. One person in particular who is a machine in terms of his work ethic. And then when I get the bill in, I think, is that all it is for that level of work?

Seth [00:14:50]:

I always feel bad. I always feel bad but I realize that our $8 an hour over there or whatever over there, over here, $8 doesn’t get you very far. But over there, that’s a lot of money, 100%.

Gordon [00:15:01]:

And they love it because he has got so much work, just not from me. And I’m still paying him hundreds of dollars over the projects, but I just know that it would be potentially a lot more. But it’s not just that, it’s the quality of the work and the efficiency of the turnaround. I get some people over here that think mana is, I’ll get it to you when I get a moment. And a week later, you’re still chasing it.

Seth [00:15:27]:

It’s crazy. Exactly.

Gordon [00:15:29]:


Seth [00:15:29]:

So here’s a question for you. What is the most important thing to carry with you all the time?

Gordon [00:15:36]:

My enthusiasm and my energy. Most people say that I have a lot of enthusiasm and energy. It’s only because other people say that to me. And I have a very positive aura. Even if things and honestly, I care about people. I want, from all walks of life, different ages. I think it’s important that we only have one life and we want to make the best of it. And if you can make I remember when I was on the London Underground little while ago, on the Tube.

Seth [00:16:14]:

That’s right tube.

Gordon [00:16:16]:

I just saw somebody wearing it was a lady wearing some amazing shoes. And I just said randomly, I said, I love your shoes, they are amazing. And I just saw her face light up.

Seth [00:16:28]:

You made her day.

Gordon [00:16:29]:

I’m sure I did, in a way. And it just made me feel good. It wasn’t about me trying anything on, because we were going one way, I was going something. It was just a nice thing to do and being able to make a comment. And I’d also say the same. If a guy was wearing a cool jacket, I say, I love your jacket, man.

Seth [00:16:48]:

Yeah. It makes everyone smile and they feel like they did something right and they’re being noticed.

Gordon [00:16:52]:

Yeah, 100%.

Seth [00:16:53]:

So, Gordon, this has been great. Where is your major watering hole? Online. Where do you hang out online?

Gordon [00:16:58]:

The most watering hole, I love that. What’s? My instagram. Facebook LinkedIn. I would say my main channels. So, yeah, I mean, I’ve got the biggest audience on LinkedIn. I’ve got about 16 and a half thousand on LinkedIn. So that’s where I would put some of my content.

Seth [00:17:23]:

Gordon glannister too. Gordonglanister.com.

Gordon [00:17:26]:

My own website.

Seth [00:17:27]:

Gordon.com, check out that timeline. Check out that timeline. It’s insane. It makes me feel like, oh, my God, what have I done with my life? Literally, it’s like, well, you start when you’re 15.

Gordon [00:17:40]:

Well, I’ll tell you why I put 15. I tell you why I put 15. There is because what I wanted to show is that I started out my mum and dad were divorced, actually, and I was brought up by my dad. And one of the things I wanted to do was to be quite entrepreneurial when I was young. You have to remember that this was many, many years ago. I was influenced by my grandmother, actually, who was a great horticulturalist. So I started to mow lawns for people and look after their gardens. And you know what? Then I was getting a pound an hour. And I was happy with that. And at the end of the little session, a lot of the people I would do this for would be for little old ladies. And honestly, they adored me for some stupid reason. They would do me tea and cake. They want to make sure that I finished before the hour and come in and just have your tea and cake. And I realized that I’ve never lost the sense of making people feel good about what I’ve done for them all through my life.

Seth [00:18:52]:

I love it. And that’s a perfect I can’t speak. That’s a great place to stop. Thank you, Gordon, for being on the show, and we will see everyone next time. That was a great show. If you’re enjoying Entrepreneurs Enigma, please view us in the podcast directory of your choice. Every review helps other podcast listeners find our show. If you’re looking for other podcasts in the marketing space, look no further than The Marketing Podcast Network@marketingpodcast.net. Goldstein hopes you have enjoyed this episode. This podcast is one of the many great shows on the MPN Marketing Podcast Network.

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About the Author
Seth is a former journalist turned digital marketer. He started his own agency in 2008 at the start of the banking crisis. Great timing, right? In 2010, after being a consumer of podcasts since 2005-ish, Seth ventured into doing his own podcasts. He started with Addicted to social media that eventually morphed into Social Media Addicts. Both of these shows have been of the web for a few years now. Currently, in addition to Goldstein Media, Seth's agency, he hosts two podcasts: Digital Marketing Dive and this one. He also has a weekly newsletter called Marketing Junto. To say he's busy is an understatement, but he enjoys every minute (well for the most part).

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