“I want an influencer on board.” I hear this from my clients on a daily basis. It is music to my ears because I firmly believe that influencers are the best thing to happen to the direct marketing industry since the door to door salesmen of the 80’s. While even the very best door to door salesman could secure your brand a comfortable seat in every house in town, a real influencer can get your brand into homes worldwide as they broadcast their carefully crafted message to the hundreds, thousands, and even millions of loyal followers across the globe. Despite the fact that they are no longer pounding pavements come rain, wind or shine like their predecessors, this does not make their efforts at getting your brand exposure any less worthy. They might work differently due to technological advancements, but they still work equally as hard.

Almost every client I have worked with this year, and they have varied greatly from construction companies to hospitals, has been keen to have an influencer on board until I share with them the costs involved. The usual retorts include;

“That much to simply take and post a picture? My grandmother can do that!”, is the usual retort. With all due respect to your grandmother, if any Tom, Dick or Gertrude could make an ordinary cup of coffee look like the most coveted drink of the day to millions across the globe, I doubt we would have any need to book influencers and we would not be having this conversation right now, would we?

After some convincing comes the inevitable, “But they should partner with us for free, we are a strong brand and it would be great exposure for them.” This would probably be true if the client had requested to work with iPhone Imelda with her mediocre photography skills and 300 followers, but that is never who they have in mind. If an influencer is of a calibre and social media standing a brand wants to work with, they are no longer rising talent and it is the client who needs them, not vice versa.

It is undeniable; influencer marketing is here to stay. For every person sharing their annoyance at the rising trend of influencer marketing, there is another willing to part with their hard earned cash thanks to a successful influencer driven marketing campaign. It is important that clients understand why they want an influencer, have a clear definition of what they hope to achieve by engaging one and respect the hard work, dedication and professionalism of influencers. Their job is not as easy as it looks.