The P-Process: A Million-Dollar Framework for Influencer Marketing Success

Apart from a lack of good information on the subject, I believe what confuses people about influencer marketing the most is that it’s a business development program disguised as a consumer marketing channel. Think about it–although the end result is a consumer-facing piece of content, what creates that content is a relationship between two business entities (your business and the influencer’s business).

To help you navigate the unfamiliar land of influencer partnerships, today I’m showing you the business development framework I learned form the former CMO of Discord: the P-Process.

The P-Process consists of six steps or “stages” from P0-P5. Each step has a distinct set of conditions and actions that define it. Below, I’ll go through each one briefly to help you get started building a successful influencer marketing program today.

This light-weight framework has effortlessly supported millions of dollars in spend with hundreds of partners world-wide. I’m excited to share it with you so let’s dive in!

P0: Casting a Wide Net for Potential Partners

The first step in the P-Process for influencer marketing is P0, or the influencer discovery phase. The goal here is to build an extensive list of potential influencer partners. Focus on identifying creators who meet baseline criteria around audience size, content type, and target demographic alignment.

For audience size, consider both the influencer’s total followers as well as their average views or engagement rates. This indicates how many people they are actually reaching on a regular basis. For content, ensure they are actively creating content relevant to your industry or product. And for demographics, confirm their audience matches up with your target customer profile based on age, gender, location, interests, and other attributes.

If you’re using a tool to do your research and discovery, set your filters as broad as possible to get the maximum number of results.

If you’re doing your research manually using the search bar on your platform of choice, go with your gut and grab anyone who seems vaguely interesting based on the information you have available.

Cast as wide a net as possible in this initial prospecting stage. The further P1 stage will involve more rigorous filtering to identify top candidates worth reaching out to. The key is to start with a sizable volume of prospects.

P1: Rigorously Filtering for Top Prospects

Once you have a large list of potential influencer partners from P0, it’s time to refine this list by identifying the most promising prospects. This is the P1, or influencer qualification phase.

First, apply additional quantitative filters to your list, such as assigning a “quality score” based on criteria like views and engagement rates. You can rank prospects from 1 to 3 and filter out all 1s and some 2s.

Next, conduct a qualitative review of each influencer’s actual content. Watch their videos or read their posts and assess fit with your brand values, guidelines, target audience and so on. Take notes on what you like about their content to personalize future outreach.

This rigorous filtering ensures you only reach out to top-quality prospects worth having conversations with. It weeds out creators producing irrelevant or brand-unsafe content. The result is a focused list of highly compatible influencers to contact via personalized emails in this stage. Response rates tend to be higher with this approach.

P2: Getting to Know Your Prospects

P2 represents the interview stage with influencer prospects. Once a creator responds to your outreach, schedule a 30-60 minute call to get to know them and their business better.

The goal here is to understand their content strategy, monetization approaches, past brand collaboration experiences, and expectations for working with you. Build rapport and take a genuine interest in learning more about them.

At the same time, share details around how your brand approaches influencer marketing, from campaign timelines to content guidelines and licensing policies. Provide transparency into your contracting process and payment terms as well.

While money may come up, avoid formally selling or making offers in P2. Simply gather all the information you’ll need to put together a compelling proposal in the next P3 stage. If budget numbers are requested, provide a reasonable range you’ve prepared ahead of time.

P2 calls lay the foundation for successful partnerships through mutual understanding. They also allow you to assess fit so you can craft the best offers and close partnerships poised to drive results.

P3: Making the Offer

Armed with a deep understanding of an influencer’s business from the previous P2 calls, you can now progress partnerships with the right prospects into the P3 phase. This involves formally making an offer to work together.

Use the metrics, models and pricing strategy you developed when planning your program to shape offers tailored to each creator. Include details like payment terms, deliverables, timelines and any incentives tied to performance goals.

Be prepared to negotiate if your initial numbers don’t align with the creator’s expectations. Also, don’t hesitate to make an offer that you don’t think they’ll accept (within reason; don’t insult people). I’ve had numerous influencers take deals at prices I never expected them to accept for a variety of reasons, such as their excitement over my brand or product.

The goal of P3 is to successfully close a deal and progress the relationship to an official partnership. If no agreement can be reached after back-and-forth communication, be ready walk away rather than overpay.

Assuming the offer is accepted, formalize the final details in the next P4 contracting stage.

P4: Contracting Stage

With an accepted offer in hand, we enter the P4 phase focused on contracting.

You should have hammered out all your contract details already in P2 and P3. If you did this properly, P4 is often as simple as building and sending the contract and collecting signatures. If you encounter any surprises or pushback on terms at this stage, you missed a detail in P2.

Attach any supplementary materials like tax forms, payment info paperwork and specific campaign briefs or creative guidelines as appendices. This is a huge time-saver.

The only hurdle that commonly arises in P4 contracting is if the influencer brings in legal representation to review agreements. They may request changes to sections like indemnification policies or licensing terms to shift additional protections to their client. Be prepared to stand firm if any modifications unfavorably alter the balance of the deal.

Besides navigating possible lawyer involvement, P4 is largely about formalizing what’s already been discussed into an official agreement both parties can sign and execute.

P5: Executing the Partnership

With the contract signed, we enter the final P5 phase focused on executing the influencer partnership.

Start by onboarding your new partner and providing all the resources they need to deliver per the agreement. Resend any creative guides, ship product samples, and tell them how they can get help if they have issues.

Track progress of campaign deliverables in a spreadsheet and share access with cross-functional teams to keep everyone aligned. Proactively communicate with your creator partner to discuss performance and results from their content. Provide additional support whenever required.

Monitor and report on campaign success levels using your core metric dashboard. Keep stakeholders up to date on how influencer content is driving outcomes tied to your “One Big Number” goal for the program.

Manage the ongoing relationship with your creator through transparent and collaborative two-way conversations. And don’t forget to highlight their work internally and on company social channels!

Build Your Successful Influencer Marketing Program Today

With the basics of the P-Process under your fingers, you’re ready to go deeper into the world of influencer marketing. Here are two excellent resources I’ve created to help make your program as successful as possible:

  • The Influencer Marketing Playbook – A comprehensive, 10,000-word resource on how to build, launch, and scale a successful influencer marketing program.
  • The Influencer Marketing Toolkit – The exact set of tools I’ve used myself to build profitable multi-million dollar influencer marketing programs.

If you’d like hands-on help building your influencer strategy or improving your program, you can also schedule a time to chat with me directly.