InnoKOL | Elijah Whaley: Content is a gift that you give to potential customers

2020/02/28 Innoverview Read

On Feb.28th, We had a fascinating  conversation with Mr.Elijah Whaley,the Chief Marketing Officer of PARKLU and Co-Founder of Melilim Fu,talking about his leadership experience on marketing and foreseeing the trends of content markting and KOL marketing around the world. 

Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What's your motto?


Positive, Analytical, Doer.

Mantra: Live with passion.

In addition to a mantra, I have seven values that guide me.

Value 1. Be true to yourself: Choose your way, even if no one else has gone before or will follow.

Value 2. Pursue a life worth living: Be zealous and take risks.

Value 3. Life is about relationships: Love others the way that they want to be loved.

Value 4. Continually seek truth: Let compassion guide your pursuit of truth.

Value 5. Knowledge increases life: Give your knowledge away so that it might multiply.

Value 6. Be patient: Grow slow and grow strong.

Value 7. Be transparent: Share those things about yourself that lift people up and let the rest remain a mystery.

Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we'd love to hear what brought you to China pioneering marketing.


When I was young, I struggled with a significant learning disability. So my parents decided to homeschool me. Being homeschooled from grade school through high school was the single best thing that ever happened to me. I attribute much of my self-motivation, nonlinear thinking, and eccentricity to my early childhood education. 


I joined a video production club when I was 16 years old and became obsessed with the medium. Until my mid-20s, video was the focus of my career. But similar to autonomous driving today, video tech started to shift in ways I thought might eventually jeopardize my livelihood. So attended the University of Nebraska, where I studied international business, which brought me to China for the first time.


By the time I graduated, I was in my late 20s and felt a little behind the curve. I knew China was booming and had an excellent time during my studies in Beijing. I looked at China as an opportunity to hyper-growth my career, as I thought all I need to do was keep up with China's GDP, and I'd be fine. I have been fortunate that my background in video production gave me a solid footing to adapt to the influencer marketing industry.

Jokia: One of the most exciting pages of your biography is the 5-year working experience as the head of Production & Video. How do you think "video is the now, but short video is the future"? What's the future of short-form video marketing?


Smartphones and social media have democratized how video is produced, distributed, and consumed. Mass-media was never able to satisfy the infinite range of human interests. This paradigm shift in content enabled people in digital environments to congregate around niche interest verticals. Every interest vertical will have a few experts or entertainers that create and distribute content free for general consumption. It is this dynamic that birthed the influencer marketing phenomenon.

I don’t believe short video is the future. I think everything is driven by innovation and it just so happens to be that there is a lot of innovation happening around short video at the moment. The truth is that short video is a very challenging format for creators and consumers as it lacks the depth of storytelling and insights that typically makes content valuable. Not to say that brevity isn’t a value, it’s just shallow. But so long as innovation is being poured into short video, creators will have to do their best to entertain, inform, and persuade within 15 to 60 seconds.


If you want to stay ahead of the curve, I think it’s best to look at the future of conversational content, like that which we see in live-streaming and on Bilibili today. I believe that engagement from the audience that further enriches the experience for everyone is the future. However, we might not see the full potential of this type of viewer engagement until immersive VR roleplaying entertainment is widely adopted.

Jokia: It seems that explaining content marketing to outsiders is a never-ending challenge. How would you describe it in one sentence? What are the innovative content marketing strategies to boost customer lifetime value from your point of view?


Distribution is content marketing's greatest challenge and can only be overcome by unique and exceptional value as measured by the audience. 


Content is a gift that you give to potential customers.


I find content marketing and relationships to be very similar. Done right, both take extreme effort and improve with time. There is no hack; only passion will produce long-term positive results.


I have found that the best content marketing efforts strike a balance between utility and entertainment, and leverage our psychological desire to increase social credit amongst our peers. Advocacy demonstrated via sharing is the holy grail and should be the sole concentration of the content marketer.

Jokia: Why KOL marketing is so effective in china? How to measure the ROI of KOL marketing?


Reciprocity is a core trait of Chinese culture when it comes to forging and maintaining relationships. Great social media content has intrinsic value on top of the time, energy, and resources it takes to produce. KOLs have dedicated themselves to consistently delivering this value to audiences. As a byproduct, KOLs build up massive amounts of reciprocity credit with their followers. This reciprocity credit can then be leveraged during product promotion campaigns for brands. And that is one of the main reasons why KOL marketing is so effective in China. 


I don’t like how most marketers measure KOL marketing ROI. I think Gary Vaynerchuk put it must ineloquently when he said “What’s the ROI of your mother?”. Your mother kissed your booboos, tucked you in at night, cooked for you, prayed for you, disciplined you, and praised you. She was arguably the most crucial component of turning you into a person you are with all the contributions you now make in the world. Your life is your mother’s ROI.


What single action that your mother took triggered in your current work performance? Which time did she nurse you back to health that elicited your charity? What evening was it when she forced you to study that induced your current ability to innovate? The reality is, there is no single action that your mother took which resulted in the value which is you. We can not measure the ROI of any single action your mother took.


The same is true in commerce. To attribute a single action to revenue is foolhardy. It is the symphony of the whole that produces results. And the cool thing is, there is real data to back this statement. At PARKLU, we utilize statistical correlation data, sometimes spanning months to measure the impact of KOLs, which goes far beyond direct sales and vanity metrics that are typically used to evaluate KOL campaigns. This data is so convincing that we have a basket of the world's largest stock investment consulting companies which use our data to recommend trades to clients.

Jokia: China's beauty influencer landscape is evolving every day, could you share 1-2 cases on how Melilim Fu can outshine other influencers in the industry? 


Elijah: Melilim Fu is a good example of striking a balance between utility and entertainment. She is a makeup artist with experience leading fashion shows around the world and designing the makeup for magazine covers from Vogue to GQ. These experiences give her the expertise that many beauty influencers lack. She then creates extremely original content, pioneering content like makeup music videos, and storytelling tutorials. This is all wrapped up in so of the highest-quality video production among her peers. All of which makes for a unique content experience and something that few other beauty influencers are able to achieve.

Jokia: We've noticed that you spent two years independently traveling across six continents and more than 40 countries. What inspired that move?


I had recently graduated high school and was sitting around with some friends talking about what we were going to do next. One friend mentioned that he wanted to go backpacking. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. Honestly, there is nothing you could give me today that I would trade those memories for.


The only problem with long-term solo traveling is that it is addictive. The entire time you are traveling with a heightened state of awareness that you are alive. Every day is an adventure. It is absolutely incredible. The best part for me was that I learned how alike we all are. Everyone just wants to be loved and accepted, and if you give people that, no matter where you are, you’ll have friends.



WeChat: elijahwhaley   

Skype: elijahwhaley

CN M: +86 135-2150-0226 


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Elijah Whaley: