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Influencer marketing seems all set to reach new heights in the coming years. Zefmo’s India Influence report says that 2021 witnessed a 40% surge in influencer marketing spends. GroupM’s INCA reported that influencer marketing was a Rs 900 crore market in India, by 2021.

Not just that, but the segment will grow at a CAGR of 25% till 2025 to become a Rs 2,200 crore industry, as per GroupM’s INCA report.

The GroupM report also brings out a contrast between celebrity marketing and influencer marketing. The report says that while celebrities contributed 27%, influencers had a share of 73% in the overall marketing spends in the category. 

With such promising numbers, the future of influencer marketing seems bright. Brands from across categories and agencies are building their army of influencers to reach out to untapped markets and acquire new consumers. connected with a few leading brands who have recently spent heavily on influencer marketing campaigns and learned that while some brands are partnering with influencer marketing agencies, others have been doing it in-house and are only now opening up to taking help from agencies.

Zouk, a premium bags, wallets and accessories brand, had been executing its influencer marketing campaigns in-house until recently. The brand has now partnered with an influencer marketing agency because the brand is up for something new and it has got some aggressive plans to go ahead.

Adhisa Ghosh

Adhisa Ghosh, Marketing Lead, Zouk, said, “Currently we do have certain agencies on board in terms of influencer marketing. But I think they’ve only done that after we have paved that foundation in-house where we have done it in bulk on our own. Now we are in the stage where we do projects with influencer marketing agencies and we’re able to give them a very descriptive brief that this is how we want to go forward because this is what we have done and this is a tried-and-tested formula and this is what works for us.”

The parameters to choose an influencer marketing agency  

In the age of Instagram and Shorts, creator economy and influencer marketing, these agencies play a crucial role. From data-driven agencies to geographically strong ones and from large influencer base to agencies with reputed clientele, they all have a role to play in the influencer marketing space.

Achint Setia

Achint Setia, Head of Marketing and Social Commerce, Myntra, spoke about the parameters that his platform looks at while choosing an agency. He said, “The parameters we have in mind are the expertise, the network and the creativity these people bring onboard. The agency should be able to manage these creators because, at the end of the day, the agency is about networking and managing the people along with a creative approach. We like working with an agency that has a pan-India network. We also look forward to metrics, as well as engagement by these influencers.”

Joy Chatterjee

Joy Chatterjee, General Manager- Sales and Marketing- Mankind Pharma, said, “A few aspects contribute towards evaluating an influencer marketing agency. Talent roster is a very important criterion as it helps assess the reach. Clientele and case studies of past or recent campaigns is another element that gives a better idea of the type of projects the agency has a deal with and is capable of managing. Thirdly, how much the agency partners can help analyse the creative side of the campaign becomes important. It helps in better alignment of overall campaign execution – be it concept, scripting, shoot and final output/editing.”

Short-term assignment vs long-term relationship?

With the declining attention span of users, where choices are fluctuating rapidly, one might assume that long-term association with influencer marketing agencies might not be a very good idea.

But the majority of the brands advocated for a long-term relationship with an influencer marketing agency. One of the major reasons is – everyone, from brands to agencies and even influencers have yet to unfold the many layers of this ecosystem and they all are learning by doing.

Ghosh said, “When it comes to credible influencer marketing agencies, going long-term will help us. Why? Because otherwise, it doesn’t really fetch us what we are trying to chase – some metrics as a brand.”

Another major highlight from the conversation with Ghosh was how well the agency knows the brand, which can only happen with time and with a long-term association.

Myntra’s Setia too supported an association for a longer time period. In contrast to that, Mankind Pharma’s Chatterjee shared a different point of view. Chatterjee said, “As a brand, we are open to both models – retainer as well as assignment-based tie-ups, totally depending on the requirement.”

The Indian pharmaceutical major has been doing its campaigns with digital agencies. While speaking about their association, Chatterjee said, “So far, it has been an integrated functioning with our digital agencies. We believe and trust them, as they are managing the brand end-to-end, the influencer part can be kept more in alignment with the brand/campaign’s objectives, including selection, content and execution. With the industry becoming more organised, we are in touch with specialised agencies who offer exclusive talent rosters as per our brief, which helps in smoother execution and a quicker TAT.”