For all the dramatic headlines about influencers, our research states that they’re capturing steadily larger proportions of marketing budget.
For our latest report, we interviewed more than 30 enterprise marketers who are responsible for their brand’s influencer marketing. And the data shows: Investments continue to rise, and marketers’ budgets for influencer marketing are growing in double and triple digits. At some brands, the budget now accounts for many millions in annual spend. Lee Jeans, for example, doubled its digital budget for 2019 as a result of honing its approach to influencers. And the growth will continue.
At the same time, marketers don’t spend their money how they used to but are dramatically changing how they work with influencers. “The bigger the influencer, the better” is no longer the favored approach. As consumers become more wary of how fake the industry can be, marketers’ tactics are becoming much more sophisticated and collaborations are becoming more well thought through. An increased focus on authenticity drives marketers to work with smaller influencers or even non-influencers (individuals who are not classified as professional influencers but are well aligned with brand values).
However, when it comes to their tech, marketers have not advanced much. While most marketers are turning to an influencer marketing solution (IMS) for help, only very few use it strategically to maintain and nurture a broad array of influencer-related relationships. Most still treat their IMS as little more than a media buying tool and seek a broad set of different technology partners with almost no consolidation.
What’s in the future for influencer marketing? With the “influencer” term already unloved, brands will converge on a new hybrid practice: consumer partner strategy.