Luis Hanemann on Online Marketing, Growth and Influencers

Luis Hanemann: “There is never only black or white. But I would say that Influencer Marketing is more of a temporary hype. You can already see the problems: If people just don’t behave in a good manner, when they are lying to their audience that they don’t get sponsored, it’s something that will be either regulated by the government or by the advertisers because they realise that this is not real value. So, what I’m talking about is this ‘influencer hype’ now. I think it’s a hype. But what I think will stay relevant is that if you stay close to people in your industry, who have reach within your industry like word-of-mouth, that still is important. But it is not something that you can outsource. I think you have to be close to them and there should only be a handful of people, and then it can work.”

From Rocket Internet to Online Marketing Guru to Global VC

Luis Hanemann is without a doubt one of the biggest names in the European startup scene when it comes to online marketing and growth. Since 2015, he is a partner at venture capital firm Based in the VC’s Berlin office, he develops and implements strategic growth initiatives and provides operational support for portfolio companies around the world to ensure their competitive advantage. As a global VC firm, invests in early stage and growth stage emerging technology companies across the US, Europe, China and Brazil. The portfolio of includes well-known startups like Azimo, Groupon and Angie’s List.

Prior to, Luis served as Chief Marketing Officer at German online startups giant Rocket Internet. While at Rocket, he helped to identify and build proven Internet business models, which were then transferred to new, underserved or untapped markets where he scaled them into leading online companies. Before joining Rocket Internet as CMO on a global level, Luis worked for several e-commerce companies like smava and eDarling and also managed own web projects. During his time at Rocket, he additionally founded the online marketing agency Trust Agents, which he still is a Partner of. Given his broad experience, Luis is a regular speaker at industry conferences in the fields of digitalization, internationalization and digital marketing.

Luis Hanemann on Startup Notes

In this episode, Luis talks about ‘everything online marketing’ – from giving advice on SEO and stating his view on the current trend of influencer marketing to answering some of our listeners’ questions who e.g. have started their own company and are looking for some expert advice. He also describes why being a VC is a privilege and shares his learnings from each stage of his career so far with lots of tips for aspiring founders.

One topic that Luis often disagrees on with other people within the startup scene and beyond is: Growth. After his opinion, growth is generally a good thing for a company, but not necessarily for the whole economy and our planet. As he describes, this sometimes seems like a contradiction between his profession as a VC who is numbers-driven and aiming to grow ventures to be successful and on the other hand him caring for the environment and society. Luckily, due to this special constellation he gets to bridge the two worlds of ‘growth’ in a classical business sense and doing things in a sustainable matter. In our conversation, Luis e.g. shares that he has recently followed the example of other founders and also given the “Entrepreneurs’ Pledge”. Signing up for this means that he promises to found a social business one day. According to him, social entrepreneurship is something that Luis sees a lot of value in and a combination where he can thrive to grow an organization that benefits others.

Here is the full list of topics that we cover with online marketing expert and ‘conscious entrepreneur/VC’ Luis Hanemann:

[01:22 – 03:20]   On his private life, interests and hobbies besides entrepreneurship

[03:21 – 05:45]    The ‘conflict of interests’ between venture capital and doing good

[05:46 – 09:55]    His view on social entrepreneurship

[09:56 – 17:56]     The learnings of each position of his career so far

[17:57 – 20:48]     The biggest learnings since he started working as a VC

[20:49 – 22:59]   On the key success factors that differentiated him from his peers early on

[23:00 – 26:11]    On the evolution of online marketing

[26:12 – 29:09]    His marketing advice for an online funeral business [listener question]

[29:10 – 31:24]    The most important skills for online marketers to have in the future [listener question]

[31:25 – 32:49]    Business models where you should always go for SEO [listener question]

[32:50 – 34:22]    Luis’ opinion on the current trend of influencer marketing [listener question]

[34:23 – 35:47]    Exciting industries that he would currently start a company in

[35:48 – 36:48]   His best advice to aspiring founders that they should always remember

Podcast Host: Emil

If you find social entrepreneurship and sustainable business models as interesting as Luis Hanemann does, make sure to also listen to our episodes with Sebastian Stricker (ShareTheMeal) and Hans Stier (Bonaverde) who both try to make this world a better place in their very own way. Sebastian and his team are successfully helping to fight global hunger in partnership with the UN World Food Programme. Hans has used the help of the crowd online to fund his project of an all-in-one coffee machine that also supports coffee farmers through fostering the concept of a sustainable supply chain and ethical sourcing practices.

Subscribe and listen to our Startup Notes episodes also on iTunes. If you do, make sure to drop us some feedback and a rating! Thank you for listening and being part of the Startup Notes community.

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