Supply Chain Now Episode 533

“Some of the people I’ve worked with who are huge now were just random people creating content on a certain topic. But now they’re known to be the go-to people for these topics.”

– Rachel Miller, Global Influencer Marketing Lead, SAP


Marketing approaches that are based on independent influencers are considered to be among the most effective and authentic, helping large brands connect with their core market through trusted, recognized voices. And while effective influencer marketing can deliver a huge ROI, there is no simple, scalable path for discovering these influencers, especially in niche B2B markets.

That’s where Rachel Miller, SAP’s Global Influencer Marketing Lead, comes in. Over the years, she has perfected her own techniques for finding suitable influencers and setting them up for greater success.

In this conversation, Rachel tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:

· Why Twitter is her ‘go to’ source of information, and how she decides if someone is worth following or not

· How she spots the difference between a true influencer and someone who’s just acting the part without any depth of insight or experience

· What trend she is predicting for 2021 that will impact the way people get together and how large industry events will be run

Intro (00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world, supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts. Good afternoon, Scott Luton here on supply chain now

Scott Luton (00:33):

To today’s show Greg, how are you doing? I’m doing quite well. I’m pretty excited to have this discussion because usually we talk to stodgy, old supply chain people, right? And now we get to talk to somebody who’s really prominent in a thought leader, influencer, world marketing. Yes. Marketing people are interesting. Well said. We’ve got to that point. We’ve got a great guest. We’re gonna be talking about things, uh, technology, influencer marketing, and a whole lot more. So stay tuned for what is a conversation we’re going to be working hard to increase your market Intel, our Q today, Greg, about that one. Great adaptation quick programming note. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure to check us out wherever you get your podcasts from and subscribe for free. So you don’t miss conversations just like this one. All right. With no further ado, Greg let’s bring in. Today’s featured guest, Rachel Miller, global influencer marketing lead with SAP. Rachel, how you doing? Hey guys, pretty happy to be here. Just pretty happy.

Scott Luton (01:41):

Well, see how we force you into having joy. It says the season to our audience. If you can’t tell Rachel is a dear friend of the show, we’ve enjoyed collaborating with her through this challenging year 2020 on a variety of levels. And uh, just always appreciate the POV she brings to every conversation and Greg really excited about as we talked about, pre-show getting her origin story out there in the supply chain now communities. So she’s the right person for holding everything together in 2020, as it’s all coming down, she’s really good at kind of keeping it, keeping it together. So tell us, you got to tell us, Rachel, how did you develop these skills? So tell us a little bit about where you’re from your upbringing, any major influences or epiphanal moments, anything like that? Well, it’s my origin story. So I guess it can go way back to the beginning, your original planet, original planet.

Rachel Miller (02:39):

So I was watching born in Australia. I spent my first 20 years there. I went to art school, which not too many people know, so I have a fine arts degree. So if you ever need a pencil sketch or a sculpture, I’m your girl. My parents are from California hippies. They made it to Australia in the early seventies. I had my brother and I, and back, it was super easy to

Rachel Miller (03:00):

Register your children as a citizen born abroad. So I’ve had dual citizenship since birth. Uh, we’re very fortunate to travel back and forth quite a bit as a child. And then when I was done with school, as it’s common in Australia, you do travel for a year or two or you buckle down and you put on your adulting pants. So I figured, well, I’ve got, you know, family and contacts in California, so I’ll give it a whirl. So I landed on the central coast of California. Um, I worked at a winery through high school and college, so I kind of, I walked into a few in Paso Robles, California to the huge wine growing area and landed a job, just kind of walking in. So I did kind of the tasting thing for awhile and I had regulars come in. Um, well, you know, what are you doing?

Rachel Miller (03:42):

What’s your story? And that kind of led to a number of jobs. I started working at a shoe retailer and a sales training company. Um, and it kind of just kind of took off from there. Um, I got picked out on Twitter by the guy who’s still one of my key mentors junk bar. He’s the CEO of nimble. And, uh, he liked my style on Twitter and he, uh, through a series of DMS offered me a job in Santa Monica. So I moved down there with my young family at the time. And that’s kinda where I kind of hit the big time from there. That was when content marketing was really big. And, um, that was a really cool segue into influencer marketing because you’re identifying bloggers new voices. And I kind of just got picked up from number of agencies to, uh, here we are today at SAP.

Greg White (04:29):

We’ll just pretend you were 17 when you did all this. And you’re much younger than we are. So we’re, it’s okay for us to ask you to so about when was that when you kind of moved and content marketing got big and then transferred into influencer marketing?

Rachel Miller (04:45):

Oh, probably like around 2009, 2010. That’s kind of when SEO content marketing was really, people are starting to take note of what link-building was kind of like paying attention to the type of content. People are posting more specifically where you’re posting it. Like, where are you getting the most authority bloggers were, it was their heyday. And I remember we used to drop the links in the comments and blogs just, most people don’t even have comments on blogs anymore. Cause they’re kind of never by folks like me, like, Hey, check out this, we ruined it. Mark is always ruining something. Um, exactly. It morphed into something where it wasn’t supposed to. So then really like 2012 was when I started doing influencer marketing. So it’s kind of in the about eight, nine years now doing it full-time and just out there, basically I call it, I tell people for a living, which just the whole stocker element of that. I’m always like trying to find new people and all the platforms now it’s really, I have more than a full-time job between Tik TOK and YouTube and LinkedIn. I mean, there’s so many places people can create cool content these days, but they’re all telling a story, which is ultimately what we’re looking for is people who are telling a great story that we can collaborate with.

Greg White (05:56):

I love this aspect

Scott Luton (05:58):

Of your journey, but I want to go back. There’s so much you covered before we dove into your craft, right? Yes. And so just a follow up question on your dual citizenship. So you still have a bunch of family in Australia, is that right?

Rachel Miller (06:10):

I do. Actually my parents are still there. Um, my brother, he actually, uh, went to school here in the U S he has a mechanical engineering degree, but he moved back after he graduated. Um, I’ve since had cousins from here moved to Australia and vice versa. So it’s kind of where we’re truly a global family

Scott Luton (06:28):

Love that, that we just interviewed. Greg Dale from good gigs is, was from Australia, grew up on a farm with, I think, nine or 10 siblings North of Melbourne. Yes, that’s right. So that Rachel will have to connect the dots on that later on. But one other question about your, your earlier days. And then Greg was gonna ask you a question about news and resources, working at a winery and you painted such a beautiful picture and he’s California wineries. I’m so jealous. What’s the coolest thing beyond, you know, beyond some of the obvious assumptions folks are gonna make. What’s the coolest thing, working on a beautiful vineyard and winery in California.

Rachel Miller (07:08):

I think it’s meeting people and getting to know people. I think that’s one thing that is the best thing about my job now is that I spend all day meeting new people, people walk in and, um, I knew drown quite a bit as a kid. So I think I kind of hooked my people skills. I was never the extrovert. Um, I guess what I call, I think it’s an Omni burglary in UberT where if there’s no other extra in the room, I’ll become that girl. Otherwise I’m happy to kind of sit back and just be the, you know, wallflower, but you quickly learn, especially when you’re in a kind of a sales environment. Cause you’re the winery you’re like pushing the line to strike up conversation, but what are they, what are they interested in? Do they have children where their passions like, are you just passing through to here on vacation, little key points to start. I mean, he book conversation that’s really important in influencer marketing because you’ve got to build that rapport sometimes relatively quickly, um, to have that connection, to see if they’re going to be someone that you’re going to collaborate with.

Scott Luton (07:58):

Love that. And then one final industry related note. I love following your beer tasting accomplishments and, and observations on Twitter. Uh, you, in fact, you’re just in general, you’re a great Twitter follow by the way. So we’ll have to, we’ll make sure we include that in the show notes of today’s episode. All right. So Greg, we’ve got to leave our, one of our favorite topics of wine and beer, and let’s talk about good news and, and meaningful, authentic, uh, accurate news in this day and age. Do we have to leave wine and beer because what’s better news than that? I mean really? Yeah. Okay. So one question, another throwback question, where in Oz are you from?

Rachel Miller (08:39):

So I grew up in the Southwest of Western Australia, um, which is, uh, so we have Perth, which is their major city. It’s about three hours South. So it’s, uh, a wine growing region, uh, very beachy. So we able to surfing kind of a touristy kind of environment, which was very small when I was there, but it’s obviously 20 years it’s blossomed. Um, so a great place to visit.

Greg White (09:03):

I don’t think people remember. So I’m going to remind them, Australia is the continent of Oceania, right? So when you, when you think about driving in Oz, first of all, it’s virtually impossible because the inner part of the country is all dirt roads and it is thousands and thousands of actual Imperial miles across there. So it is a massive, massive place. And I think sometimes forget that don’t they right?

Rachel Miller (09:32):

They truly do. Um, and people are always surprised and they think I’m joking. My used to be at, you know, Australia is almost the same size as the continental us in many ways, like putting as a slightly smaller. And, but of course the middle part is, you know, spendable, it’s just like living on the sun. Um, and there are roads that you can take that cross the, it takes weeks and you really have to look here. This is not like straight across the U S where, you know, every five miles of Starbucks, it’s not like that at all. You have to have some contingency plans for sure.

Greg White (10:01):

Be a YouTube channel unto itself, watching those big truck trains drive across Oz on the dirt at 90 miles an hour, pulling their own fuel along with the cargo that they’re pulling.

Rachel Miller (10:15):

Yeah. Yeah. Those, those are some hardcore long haul truckers for sure. That’s supply chain at it’s like extreme.

Greg White (10:22):

Right. That is hard core for sure. Uh, all right. So you you’re an O G in, in, in the influencer world, so original gangster in case you don’t know that. So, sorry, I didn’t realize anyone didn’t know what that meant. So you, you must have a ton of resources for information to either help people post about post about, or, or just to keep you informed on what’s going on in the world. So tell us, where do you get your best or even most favorite information?

Rachel Miller (10:55):

I’m going to say Twitter, um, just because it’s the most, up-to-date all the time. I follow a lot of really great people. I think that is definitely a benefit of being in this industry for a long time. I have key resources that are not publications that are just individuals and whether they’re creating content, creating content or commenting on content, which is sometimes even more valuable, um, just getting their kind of insights on something that’s trending or something somebody else has written, or even a campaign where like, Oh, we’re all looking at, Oh, that was a cool thing that just came out. Like, what could I have done better? Or what did we all really like about it? Yeah. I think Twitter is my go-to for a number of reasons for just finding the latest and greatest and finding new people because it’s so accessible. Um, it’s kind of the great equalizer. You can contact anybody, um, really cool,

Greg White (11:43):

Uh, whatever, whatever your interests are. You can find a community and, and great people to follow, informative people to follow on Twitter. At the same time, you’ve got folks that I think

Scott Luton (11:54):

Are big anti Twitter fans. They don’t take the time to really dive in and find where the great value is. They buy into all the stereotypes, but man, I’m with you, Rachel, I think it’s, you know, on every day, uh, you can find the articles. You can find the resources, you can find a thought leaders and it’s amazing the message you can convey and whatever the limit is now 240 characters. The powerful,

Rachel Miller (12:18):

It’s not about that though. They’ll hold the whole, uh, two 80 characters. It’s too many. I really liked it when it was one 40. Cause if you couldn’t say it in 140 characters, you did not know what you’re talking about. Now you can write an essay. And I was like

Scott Luton (12:31):

The Albert Einstein of Twitter, right. If Twitter had been around, Albert Einstein would have said, instead of 30 seconds, if you can’t say it in 140 characters, you don’t know it well enough.

Rachel Miller (12:42):

Exactly. Love it. And on a t-shirt. Yeah.

Scott Luton (12:46):

So you, you’ve already shared some of your professional journey, Rachel, and, and kind of taking us back a moment ago to how you arrived at SAP and how you’re on the, kind of the cutting edge of, of the influencer movement, so to speak. But I want to talk about your journey again, and what’s in particular, what’s one of those positions. I mean, I think your time, as you described at the, um, the winery really helped shape your approach to business, it sounds what else from a, um, a position to help shape your worldview or even, or Eureka moment that you, you garnered through that journey. Tell us more about that.

Rachel Miller (13:23):

I worked for a company called impact marketing systems. They were a sales training company, which worked with a lot of big technology companies, even before I was in tech. I was designing a sales and customer service training programs for these companies. So I know a CX and UX, it’s all such a hot topic these days, but learning those skills, I guess, from the inside out is really fundamental to the way I operate. And I think just having the customer service skills that you have, anyone like, whether it be a waitress to be in kind of a wine tasting environment where you’re, you know, you gotta have your game face on all the time, be really careful of how you present things, the tone of your voice. Um, it all plays into what I do now, and I’ve been really grateful for every stop. I’ve had a lot of my career journey, cause it wasn’t a straight line by any means, obviously art school to sales training, to, you know, a design job to content marketing.

Rachel Miller (14:16):

I was like, boom, but they all make sense. I use all of those skills, even what I learned in art school. Um, the biggest takeaway from there was, um, I can take criticism like a boss because you know, you spend six months working on something and then your instructor comes in and does a rips it to shreds. And they’re like, don’t take it personal. You’re like, that was literally like my baby, my heart, you know, especially the age, you know, I’m like 18 and you’re like, it crushed me. Don’t take it personal, but I’ve got, you know, my skin is thicker now. And um, yeah, and I think I love feedback. I actually get more concerned when I get feedback. So yeah, every, every stop has been really fundamental to getting me the skillset I need to execute my daily job.

Scott Luton (14:59):

Love that. We’re going to talk more about that in just a moment. Hey, really quick. You mentioned CX and UX and for our community here, that might be tuned in, she’s talking about customer experience, user experience, and one other X is edX. We hear a lot about, uh, you don’t hear that acronym as much, but employee employee experience is something that’s getting a lot of attention. Rightfully so in a year like 2020 when we had to really double down to protect our employees and team members on a variety of levels. So I appreciate you bringing up that, uh, that, uh, I was, I was late to the game in terms of a real appreciation for the discipline. That is a CX and UX and, um, I find it fascinating. All right. One final question. Before we dive more into your current role with Greg, you you’ve talked about some of the skillsets and some of the key positions, but what’s when you think of that key apifany or that key moment where, you know, you, you maybe it changed your assumption of just a key learning moment. You know, that, that Eureka moment we talk so much about in these conversations. What’s one you can really point to that really was a profound one as part of your journey.

Rachel Miller (16:07):

I think I’ve had several, um, I guess one thing that I I’ll toot my own horn, but I don’t do very often, but I think I’m quite skilled at identifying new voices who are going to be something, um, that I have some people that, you know, they had a very small YouTube channel, or maybe I randomly stumbled upon their podcast late at night, or, you know, I found them doing something like he could, their passion was shining through, but they didn’t have the footprint or that catalog of content where we’d be like, Oh yes, that’s someone I’m going to work with, but you can coach them up and work with them, give them kind of mentor them. And then they blow up and they kind of, and then like, Oh, what got to see my little birdie fly? Um, that’s been really fulfilling over the years. Um, and there are some people that I’ve worked with who are huge now that they were just, you know, random people just kind of, it was their hobby, creating content on a certain topic. But now that they’re like known to be the go-to people for these topics. So that’s a proud moments for sure. And that kind of like knows that when I want it to double down in some marketing, Camille’s say, Oh, I’m actually quite good at this.

Rachel Miller (17:11):

Let’s get paid for it. So, and here we are

Scott Luton (17:15):

Here, we are very, it must be very rewarding. In fact, there’s a great Andy Griffith episode called, uh, Oop, the Birdman. And it’s one of the most famous episodes, a whole series. And as you were describing to help these little birdies long, and then one day you gotta let them go. Is that there’s a pretty important scene in that episode. So, Hey, Greg, you know, I can tie everything back to an Andy Griffith episode. I believe it’s pretty impressive. I’m telling you, that’s your hobby and that’s where you become big on YouTube is Andy Griffith. Don’t you think Rachel

Rachel Miller (17:45):

Work with me, Scott stick with me kid. We’ll make it up. So,

Greg White (17:50):

But Rachel, one quick comment. I love that few people that, that we’ve come across in our conversations and I’ll talk about my conversations, take a mince, pleasure and joy in, in kind of helping others evolve and, and seeing them take off. I mean, that really, uh, you don’t find that very often. I think of sports analogies and some other things, but it’s really cool to hear that for one of the first times, at least in, in these professional conversations. So I appreciate that. All right, Greg, I think that’s a great, great segue though. I mean, cause this immediately, when you talked about this, Rachel, this thought came to mind and that is the people who do get kind of really big in this. I’m asking your professional opinion by making a statement. So the people who do get really big, it seems like it is kind of their hobby or passion. And that shines through in that organic authenticity is what really attracts people to them. I mean, is that kind of what you’ve seen when you see people go from a tiny birdie to flying out of the nest?

Rachel Miller (18:56):

Absolutely. Cause the passion shines through and you can tell, um, I think that’s one thing over the last couple of years that has evolved and it has made it a little bit more challenging, um, in influencer marketing because people do wake up and they’re like, I’m going to be an influencer and they become one, but then it’s like, their content is kind of wishy-washy, it doesn’t have a lot of substance because they’re not topic experts. They’ve never had that boots on the ground experience. They’re not super passionate about it. They’re just kind of they’re shadowing someone and be like, well, this is someone who I want to be like, so they become kind of like a, a smaller version of this person, but it’s not open-ended to who they are as a person and then their success, they might reach it, but it’s fleeting because that you can see through that really quickly, their audience gets tired because you want someone who’s just like you, they start to glow when they start talking about a certain topic. Um, someone who’s just up there just like, you know, reading the words, it doesn’t no one’s going to tune into that on a consistent basis.

Greg White (19:50):

Yeah, you gotta, you gotta live it. And we often tell people, cause people ask us, which is misplaced requests for guidance, but they’ll ask us, you know, how did you guys how’d you guys become an overnight success? And we’re like, well it took two decades of supply chain expertise. And then we became an overnight success. And I think that I just gave a, had a talk with some students and one of them said, I want to be a supply chain futurist or a futurist of some sort, how do you do that? And I was like, well, I don’t know if I would argue that I’m a futurist, but if you think so that’s one person more than yesterday. But I said, you know, you have to really know the topic, right? You have to really know it deeply live it, frankly.

Rachel Miller (20:34):

Yes. You have to be a futurist. I think on any topic you have to have a body of work that backs up your predictions and your insights. Otherwise you’re just saying stuff like you can’t, I wouldn’t, there’s not going to be an 18 year old analyst because you’re analyzing Tik TOK or something that you’ve actually maybe done for the last 12 months. I’m not going to, you know, there’s very few topics, but I’m going to consider you to actually be a futurist on, because I want to see that wealth of expertise. That’s what you’re basing your words on. And it’s funny that you, I said the overnight success, I always love it when there’s like, I think it was like show Crow when she went like best new artist, obviously a long time ago, she was like, Oh yeah. I’m like, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, but thank you for the award

Greg White (21:16):

  1. I believe that was something that was 1990.

Rachel Miller (21:20):

Yeah, it was. I always remember that because she had such a quick witted response to the best new artist. She’s like, man, I’m older than you, you know, like,

Greg White (21:30):

Right. Um, I think people are fascinated by this whole they’re fascinated or furious by this whole thought leadership influencer model and uh, you know, and all this, you know, all this that’s going on. And I know that you have, I would argue a day job with SAP, but I think you’re such a heavy hitter that SAP has given you a significant amount of leeway to work with other folks. So do you still advise people, I mean, tell us a little bit about a day in the life of Rachel Miller.

Rachel Miller (22:04):

Sure. I mean, I do spend a lot of my time just talking to people, which is pretty cool job to have. Basically I’ll find someone that I think is really compelling, whether it’s on YouTube or Twitter, I’ll send them a little slide into their DMS and I’ll get a call scheduled like a zoom call. Cause he can’t really, you can email back and forth. But if you really, you know, you gain rapport so much faster than in a video setting, which is, I’m really thankful that we have these technology tools at our disposal. And then I see what’s, what’s up sometimes they’re just, it’s a discovery call. I don’t have a project in mind. I just want to see, like, who are you? What are your ballet? Like kind of like the origin story you guys were asking me, like, how’d you get to do what you’re doing?

Rachel Miller (22:40):

Like, what are you passionate about? And I spend the bulk of my time doing that and then often they’ll go then get funneled into various programs that we have. We do have an always on program that SEP, um, just so we’re not like it’s an event, it’s kind of like when to have a steady drum beat of cool content, but I do, um, I am able to retain to consultancy projects less so than I have in the past, just because SAP is, it’s something we’re always on. But, um, no, it, it is super fun to go back to like my, my passion is like working with people who, I don’t know if I would sign up to be with someone who was like, literally put on paper, I want to be an influencer. But just finding those people that come to me was like, you know, genuine questions about how they can be better at their craft, you know, creep for whatever their goals are. Um, so there are people they work on with personal branding or whether it’s content creation as just general storytelling. It is a skill set that not everybody has. You can be very proficient and editing videos, but if you’re not able to convey your story, it still pulls kind of flat.

Greg White (23:39):

It’s a really well edited, boring story as well.

Rachel Miller (23:43):

It’s very pretty, but just be like, just like, wow, that was 10 minutes.

Greg White (23:48):

Right. And I won’t give again, I mean,

Rachel Miller (23:52):

That’s the important time, right?

Greg White (23:54):

Yeah. You’ve mentioned working with people a lot. Clearly. That’s one of your favorite parts of your role. But aside from that, I mean, what really makes this so enjoyable for you? Because it is so obvious that it is so enjoyable and you’re so good at it that it, that clearly shines through that’s your organic authenticity is, is helping people make those connections that make them, or make them more interesting or accessible or connect them with the right people that can leverage that. So aside from, you know, just the number and it must be jillions of people that you meet every year. What else jumps out at you as kind of a favorite aspect of what you do?

Rachel Miller (24:36):

It gets the storytelling aspect. I know I’ve always, even as a child, I’ve always written stories and poems and whatever, and I’ve always gravitated to people who are natural storytellers, whether it’s, you know, singer songwriters or whatever it was. So just some people who can just have that gift, but again, to your point, like it is truly my joy to see people do their best and enabling them to shine. Um, and then especially when you introduce people and then together they’re better. That’s even the best thing I know recently. Like even this year, you guys have collaborated with other influencers that we partnered with on various programs. And I love it when it’s just organic. I wasn’t even a part of it. You guys just went off and did your own little thing. And then it pops up into my Twitter feed and then I’m like, Oh, okay.

Greg White (25:17):

We are, we’re like your children aren’t we?

Rachel Miller (25:23):

But even like my employees, like I love it when a hundred, the years or people will get recruited to cooler jobs and cooler companies. And I’m so proud like in this go like do it, like you’ve earned it. Like, it’s always weird when you see the opposite happen. And someone gets mad that their team members leaving are jealous. I’m like, why? Like just, there’s so much to go around and just be stoked for them. Like, cause it comes back in so many ways. Um, and when someone leaves a fan, they become even a bigger family. Leave it. If they’re still advocating for you and your team and what you do while they’re working for somebody else you want like there’s no greater success. I think, um, as a leader,

Greg White (26:01):

Well, anybody who would I, no, I think that’s totally legitimate. I mean, anyone who would leave an organization and still be a huge fan, says a lot about that organization. I have friends who’ve worked at all the biggest Palo Alto companies and even competing companies. And they’re still fans of both right. Microsoft and Apple. So I mean, you know, whatever, I think that you’re absolutely right. That if anything has changed in the workplace, it is that ability to have your own identity outside of your company. And I think companies finally get that, that accrues to their benefit as well. Yes. Great point. And I’ll want to also high-five on another key point you’re making there Rachel, cause we’re big believers. There absolutely is abundance in the universe. There is business for all, you know, the life’s too short to be throwing elbows. And for some, the reindeer games out there do good work, find kindred spirits, find voices that are different from your own and spotlight it and, and facilitate those conversations and share those learning opportunities with your community and your audience. That’s what life’s all about. It’s a big part of our Mo here. And I really appreciate how you just approach that and, and, and shared your POV. It’s really important.

Rachel Miller (27:22):

Definitely. Especially on Twitter. I think that’s also why I like Twitter because it’s such a positive platform. I think overall, compared to slime, I know I have strong feelings about Facebook. I don’t know how you guys feel. It’s just the opposite. I log into my Facebook and I’m not, I feel like I’m like, everyone’s just about, or it’s just not the happy place and Twitter. Everyone’s like sharing cool motivational quotes and like, you know, give each other high fives. And, um, it’s just such a great environment.

Greg White (27:49):

They’ve all gotten so much better about allowing you to tune your feed. I am now friends with one of my favorite and wittiest high school teachers, my English teacher, Polly Welsh go Polly. She loved this color Polly in high school, by the way. And her that’s on Facebook and Dina McKinley, who was an executive at several gigantic retailers and is retired now. And it’s just having a whole lot of fun and pulling together together. COVID memes and every single day she’s got 10 or 20 of those things. That’s a whole lot of fun, but I think that tuning your feed is really important because I’m still tuning my Twitter feed. And I’ve still got those people with three followers who just, they’re just looking for something negative to say about anyone or everyone. But I mean, I think that’s the revelation that a lot of these social networks have come to is they have to allow you to tune in and tune out whoever you want. So aside from that, which I don’t know if that’s a trend, I know it’s something that I noticed and I’m still I’m working through on all of my channels. Any other big trends or directions or, well, let’s just say trends or directions in, in marketing, digital marketing generally, or influencer marketing specifically.

Rachel Miller (29:05):

I guess one thing that I think we’ll probably see in 2021 fingers crossed that, you know, the 20, 20 SQL isn’t too is that where we’re all missing people. We miss human connection and we’ve tried really hard this year to kind of replicate that in a virtual environment. And we can’t. So I know I’ve personally been watching all of the, you know, award shows and kind of seeing how people are doing it with like the socially distanced, very small audience. So people are still in-person, but then they’re broadcasting to the greater masses. So it’s, it’s kind of a win-win cause I know, particularly for companies like SAP, where historically were in-person like since our inception 40, 50 years ago, big, massive events in person, very locked down, closed doors, right. Or that you knew if you weren’t too bad, we opened them up this year to hundreds of thousands of people. So that was like, we got to spread our message to a huge audience, which was really beneficial. But so I see that hybrid model where you still get that in-person connection and kind of randomly meet people and, you know, create new friendships and collaboration opportunities, but then we’re still sharing it to everybody. That’s kind of a trend that I’m predicting for next year.

Greg White (30:13):

It’s stunning that we didn’t think of it. Like the NFL did several decades ago to black it out in its home market, but to broadcast it worldwide. Other than that, I mean, it is surprising to me that this year I’ve gone, Oh my gosh, why did we not think of that for all those people who can’t come right? At least give them something to watch. It doesn’t have to be full access. That’s really powerful. And that’s a discovery that I’ve seen so many light bulbs go off with so many companies, AIG Scott, I think of immediately the automotive industry action group, the very first physical event to go virtual in case anyone is going to put together a history book on 2020, which I hope they don’t just think 20, 20 next as of January 1st is turning 21. Anyway, I think that that will be a fantastic trend that I hope survives. Speaking of 2021, Rachel, after such a predictable and stable year, I think what we’d like to have you do, let us know what your bold predictions are for 2021. Not all of them, cause I’m sure you have hundreds, um, because you seem like a risk taker, but maybe just one or two bold predictions for 2021. What do you see coming in the coming year?

Rachel Miller (31:33):

Well, there’s no doubt that Sharman stock is probably going to continue to increase, especially I know California or in that we’re back to being stay at home, locked down again. So target is now out of toilet paper, which is, I don’t know what people think it’s so important about stocking up. Still blows my mind. I don’t know if it’s a bold prediction, but I just think we’re infants. The marketing people keep thinking of it as a new thing. It’s not though. It’s just an extension of word of mouth, which has been around since cave. Men were pedaling, rocks and shelves. Um, because always been that town crier, the person’s spreading the news, so it’s not going away because it’s always been around. Um, we just have new tools, new formats and new ways to communicate. Thank you, Sam. So, no, I think we’re just kind of ramping up, especially for B2B companies, 2020 kind of forced us into accepting virtual. Um, I know we were dabbling in it for a long time, but having to go a hundred percent virtual was that necessary push for a lot of companies and I’m grateful for sure. So yeah, not a, not a bold prediction by any means, but I’m really optimistic about what next year holds.

Scott Luton (32:41):

That’s good to hear. That’s great to hear can only be better. So many people say, but you’re right. There have been a lot of awakenings and changes and transformations and epiphanies this year. And I hope people use them for good in the coming years

Rachel Miller (32:58):

On so many levels and back to Scott with the CX and the IEX. I think companies are realizing that their employees don’t have to be physically in front of them for eight to nine hours a day. I think that’s a really big one, um, to come out of 2020, it’s better for the environment. There’s less people driving around. It’s more productive if you have a better work-life balance. So many positives. So that’s one that I definitely that’s a trend that I see continuing. Yeah.

Scott Luton (33:25):

And of course the technology and the platform and secure technology and the practically successful platforms got to be in place to enable that. Right. And I think that that’s been some, some big lessons learned for a variety of companies as it relates to this remote environment, but, but to pick up, you know, there is a lot of good news. I think whether it’s supply chain, whether it’s technology, regardless of the sector, we’ve, we’ve all uncovered. Some blind spots that have, are being addressed have been being will continue to be addressed. That will make, I hate to use the word resilience. I won’t, but it’ll make at least supply chain more antifragile, which is a phrase we picked up on earlier this week, Rachel and Greg

Rachel Miller (34:07):

And fragile

Scott Luton (34:09):

Instead of resilient. Right? I mean, I think

Rachel Miller (34:13):

Eggshell, yeah,

Scott Luton (34:16):

Something like that. I mean, I think, you know, I think it’s the intent of that term is to give a new perspective on what resilience really means it is to remove the fragility, not in your supply chain, not just look to recover and have the fragility remain right. That, and I think so many folks, they stop for a minute and believe they know what resilience means, but it’s become such a buzzword. Oftentimes as buzzwords can lose the real definition behind them and the reason that they became buzzwords in the first place. So that’s really why we’ve been embracing more, the notion of how fragile organizations are versus how resilient. I think it really changes the conversation a bit, um, just that simple word choice, but one of the big celebration and the racial one, it gets you to weigh in on other things you’re tracking globally is the celebration of the workforce.

Scott Luton (35:06):

I think that’s one of the other things that we all hope continues into the new year. Not only the celebration and recognition across healthcare and supply chain and technology and truck drivers that keep us moving forward, but ensuring their safety and welfare, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of work still to be done globally there. So, um, those are all good news stories for sure. Good trends. So Rachel, I really have enjoyed the opportunity to get some of your backstory and some of that origin story. You are a superhero in our book. Let’s talk about, you know, what else you’re surveying when it comes to global business and global technology, global marketing, you name it, uh, what’s one topic or issue or, or development that you’re tracking more than others here, right?

Rachel Miller (35:52):

I’ve gotten really interested in, um, the role that AI can play in content marketing. There’s a lot of different capabilities as a lot of tools out there, particularly for, to socialize content. I’m not going to share any of them in case they leap out at me. But, um, yeah, just kind of funny new ways to leverage technology because at the end of the day, technology is here to make human life easier, better, more productive, more fun. Um, and why not put that into a marketing context? So I’m kind of a tool junkie. I’m always trialing a bunch of tools. So that’s been kind of interesting to see, cause to kind of like, you know, you’re trained Siri and Alexa get don’t Alex is going to start calling them, but train these tools, whether it’s the center of your voice, so your speech patterns and they can help you write content or create videos. So it’s been really kind of cool to see how that could potentially play out in influencer marketing.

Scott Luton (36:41):

Love that. All right. So can I put you on the spot since you say you’re a tool junkie, I’m a bit of no 60 minutes questions, man. Well, I’m a tool junkie as well, and I’m sure we’ve got lots of tool junkies and our audience. Is there one and feel free to say, uh, connect with me after the interview, but is there one tool that you think more folks should explore

Rachel Miller (37:05):

In a marketing context or just generally getting content from, I guess we’ll go back to the kind of like an AI perspective. There’s one tool that I’m, I’ll give them some prompts it’s called try lately. And they use an AI to you drop in your video or your blog content and it’ll spit out a potential social copy that you can use. And it kind of, you can kind of yay Nate, certain things and it starts to learn like how you would organically do it, but you know, we’re all time stricken, I guess. Yeah. I know I share a lot of content, but I also spend a whole lot of time curating and then like trying to share it in a way that people are going to engage and find it useful so that this tool it’s really quite impressive actually outside of invite everybody to trial it and let me know what you think. Cause they, it does, it does evolve over time and after a while it starts to like, wow, I don’t think I could have written that better myself. So

Scott Luton (37:57):

While lately, or I’m going to try, I mean, certainly you can give that a try, but you’re right where we are Tom stricken as you call it. And, and there’s never enough time in the day. Uh, even if you’ve got, you know, teams and, and your you’ve got folks to help you out. I mean, you still have enough time, uh, certainly in the, you know, early stage company arena, but it seems like one of the things we didn’t talk about right before we close here is, you know, Greg, we talk about all the time. Some companies just don’t get that, that digital footprint leveraging social media channels is like, what, what websites were 20, 25, 25 years ago? You know, it’s, it’s not a

Greg White (38:36):

Flavor of the month. It’s not a passing, um, hobby or something. It’s here to stay and it’s here to stay in a very powerful way of getting your, your story out there and your, your POV and your thought leadership and good news and things that you’re doing it in the community, which is just outstanding. So Greg, we have all kinds of conversations along those lines. Well, 2020 has given us a new perspective on a lot of things, right? Not the least of which is that some is that physical events are much, much less prominent than they’ve ever been before X yeah. Ever been before. And some of them are probably not coming back. Those ones that in Rachel, you have to have experienced this. I know I have as a technology provider and I bet SAP has also you’re at this event because you’re conspicuous by your absence.

Greg White (39:29):

Not because there’s any real value there. Right? And, and we were at one of those events right before the, the wall came down and I have a feeling that a lot of those type events that don’t show real value or direct enough value, they may be gone forever. And even, you know, as we transitioned to virtual events, people have of course become tired of this zoom thing and, and big events. So it’s going to be interesting to see how those even virtual events evolve. I think those that are very targeted that are very topical, that are very, that are very educational, are the ones that will continue to have value and they’ll have value whether they’re physical or whether they’re virtual. So yeah, of course. I, I just believe that this has been another one of those paradigm breakers that, that we’ve seen throughout 2020. Yeah. Right. Great point.

Rachel Miller (40:31):

Absolutely. I think there are a lot of, uh, legacy events and I could name drop a bunch of them that have just, you know, they’ve been around 20, 30 years, I’ve just gotten bigger and bigger. They’re multi-track they have competing keynotes and you kind of, it dilutes the experience. Cause I know I’ve been to them and I’m like, well, I really want to go to both, but it’s like you miss out. And I’ve always been a fan of one track events. They’re smaller. They’re hyper-focused, you’re meeting people who also share interest in the same topics. So the collaboration opportunities, a greater otherwise you’re like, why aren’t you here? Oh, I’m here for mobile UX. And like, what are you here for? It’s like, well, I’m here for your completely opposite topic.

Greg White (41:07):

Right? You’re going to hang with the same. You’re going to hang with the same 67 people at every show anyway, or within kind of a significant circle in any case. So I think that, I think it does give you a lot of focus and allow you to add a lot of value. And if you want to explore, see, that’s the other thing about virtual events. If you want to explore a new topic it’s really low overhead to do so you just pop virtually

Scott Luton (41:34):

Into another room and you go, Oh, that’s not as fun as I thought it was going to be or, wow, this is amazing. And I see how it ties into what I’m doing,

Rachel Miller (41:41):

The replay option, which is awesome. Cause I know there’s been events where I couldn’t attend because I was doing something else, but I can tune in to watch the replay of the sessions, which you can’t do at these physical events because it’s like, it’s a one and done that’s a closed door experience. Um, I also think it’s the cost involved. I think that’s another thing that companies and employees are realizing. I know going to events, it might be a two day event, but you’re gone for a week because you got to get there a day or two before. Um, you’re physically at the event and then there’s like the post, whether you’re creating content, whether you’re doing so it’s your time away from your actual job and your family and your life and just the expense of the hotel and the travel. And we don’t have to do that anymore. You can get the same experience with, uh, obviously a several exceptions just from your couch.

Scott Luton (42:27):

Yeah. Great point on your favorite beverage, not one that and one you already own not wanting to pay $18 for a

Scott Luton (42:40):

Tip of the hat SAP. You know, we’ve really enjoyed, uh, Sapphire now and CX lab in particular two that Greg and I were involved in and CX love in particular, the keynote with dude where’s my car. Yeah. [inaudible] yes. Talk about going in with certain expectations and leaving, just blown away with what he shared and the, in the authentic, genuine interview and conversation that took place in it. That was that alone was worth the price of admission. Uh, and it was free to attend and that that’s something else as Greg was alluding to earlier, something that is very noble, that many companies are doing despite the cost, despite the resources, despite the investment, but opening up the doors of these events and letting folks make those connections and learn during this trying year of 2020, it’s a big tip of the hat to you and Ursula and the whole team at SAP for driving that and being pioneers in that regard. There’s so much more we could talk about Rachel, but pleasure to have you. It’s been so neat to kind of have a different conversation amongst everything else we always talk about. Let’s make sure our listeners can connect with you. So what’s the best way of connecting with you and with SAP,

Rachel Miller (43:52):

For me, I’m going to, it’s going to be Twitter just because I spent a lot of time there, Twitter or LinkedIn. Those are probably my two go-to and probably SAP would probably be LinkedIn are a top platform for engagement. Just send us a message. Okay,

Scott Luton (44:06):

Outstanding. We’re gonna include those links in the show notes or after that one click to get you our audience and community in touch with our featured guests. We’ve been talking to Rachel Miller, global influencer marketing lead with SAP and so much more Holy cow, Rachel really have enjoyed our conversation here today and look forward to having you back. We’ll do a sequel to this interview and it won’t, it will be better. Yeah. Right. We’ll do it in 2021. That is right. But Rachel, thanks so much for joining us here today. Really enjoyed our conversation. And with that, Greg, uh, you know, I got my proverbial 17 pages of notes here, but what’s one of the key things that Rachel shared before we sign off here. Uh, storytelling, I think is the, it’s the important thing. I mean, of course Rachel has a tremendous passion for people and people are the storytellers, but I think it’s, you know, it’s really fascinating that we’ve been being told for decades that storytelling marketing is storytelling, right?

Scott Luton (45:09):

It’s the hero story for your customer. It’s the story of how your product solution, whatever, how it impacts people’s lives. If anything, this is kind of new age storytelling, isn’t it? I mean, it is people sharing their story. If you think about what makes someone a true, genuine influencer it’s that they are sharing a story that they are tremendously passionate about. And it happens to inspire some people who go, Oh, I like that thing you use. Right? So where’d you get that? I agreed. Thanks. You stole both of the words I was going to use there because I think we heard a lot about passion for, from, from Rachel’s POV here today and certainly a lot about authenticity and then the power of both of those in addition to storytelling, as you rightfully called out. So great conversation. Huge. Thanks to Rachel Miller with SAP, make sure y’all connect with her, follow her on Twitter.

Scott Luton (46:04):

You’ll enjoy it. And, and Hey, build those digital relationships. That’s the other thing we’ve heard a lot about. That’s really important and you’ll be surprised if you’re a naysayer, you’ll be surprised about the relationships you can build the effective ones, successful ones and meaningful ones you can build digitally. All right. So Greg, we’re going to have to wrap it up here. Hey, to our audience. Hopefully you enjoyed this conversation as much as we have some great takeaways here, really enjoyed it. If you’d like conversations like this, check us We’ve got a new website being rolled out in the next few months. We’re excited about that project, but it’s all about Rachel and Greg enhancing the user and the customer experience, right? Making it more functional and successful and valuable. So look for that fondness and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from, Hey, we’ll challenge you. Like we challenge our team every single day. Do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed to be like Rachel Miller.

Intro (46:58):

We’ll see you next time here.


Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Rachel Miller to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Rachel Miller has over 15 years of experience in marketing with expertise in social media marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. Her social strategies have achieved global recognition working with well-known agencies and brands in the B2B technology space spanning enterprise to startup.

Rachel is an avid learner which is essential in the fast-moving social media and influencer marketing space and is an adviser to many popular social business applications where she provides feature evaluations to support product innovation.

Greg White is principal & host at Supply Chain Now – The Voice of Supply Chain and digital media publisher – where he helps guide the company’s strategic direction, and interviews industry leaders, hosts weekly Livestreams, and is creator, executive producer & host of the TECHquila Sunrise vlog and podcast. Greg is a recognized supply chain practitioner, industry thought-leader, founder, CEO, investor, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits.

Prior to his current initiatives, Greg served as CEO of Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Previously, Greg founded Blue Ridge Solutions, and as President & CEO, led the bootstrap startup of cloud-native supply chain applications to become a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC), and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder) where he pioneered cloud supply chain applications in the late nineties.

Today, rapidly-growing tech companies & venture capital, and private equity firms leverage Greg as a partner, board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies that are widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies align vision, team, market, messaging, and product to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors, and leadership teams to create breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum that increase company esteem and valuation. 

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now, the voice of supply chain. Supply Chain Now digital media brings together thought-leaders, influencers and practitioners to spotlight the people, technology, best practices, critical issues, and new opportunities impacting global supply chain performance today and tomorrow. Our leaders are frequently sourced to provide insights into supply chain news, technology, disruption and innovation, and rank in the top 25 on multiple industry thought-leadership lists. Supply Chain Now digital media content includes podcasts, livestreaming, vlogs, virtual events, and articles that have accumulated millions of views, plays and reads since 2017 and continue to reach a growing global audience.

Scott has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He’s also been named a top industry influencer by groups such as Thinkers360, ISCEA and others.

Having served as President of APICS Atlanta from 2009 to 2011, Scott has also served on a variety of boards and has led a number of initiatives to support the local business community & global industry. Scott is also a United States Air Force Veteran and has led a variety of efforts to give back to his fellow Veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.


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