Management practices for digital influencer marketing

Kajee, Ahmed
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This research report highlights the growth of Digital Influencer marketing on social media, and how consumers interaction and engagement with brands are changing as a result. Through qualitative research with 17 Digital Influencer experts and practitioners in South Africa from various marketing disciplines, this study sheds light on best practices for this emerging marketing field. In South Africa, consumer attention and media consumption are increasingly becoming digitally centric, and the use of online channels for marketing continues to grow exponentially. This has implications for brand building, advertising, and marketing management. This research reports on how the traditional marketing and consumer behaviour paradigms have shifted from uni-directional static advertising, towards bi-directional digital engagement using Digital Influencer Marketing (DIM). As a growing field, the research found that although DIM as a marketing tactic is increasingly effective in meeting business objectives in modern day digital marketing environments, there is a lack of knowledge and shared best practices amongst marketing practitioners. The research finds that despite DIM growing and being strategically important in all the marketing environments that have been researched, most organisations are conducting DIM on a “best-effort” basis with limited cross functional co-ordinationor strategic planning. Due to a lack of knowledge about the field, there is also relatively little action being taken by organisations to meet the growing demand by putting in place the requisite skills and capabilities to better manage influencer marketing initiatives. Aspects highlighted in this research such as Influencer Performance, Payment, Brand Safety, Campaign Management, Creative Control, Organisational Capabilities, and Risks associated with DIM are discussed and reported on, providing marketing practitioners with practical insights into this emerging marketing field. A key recommendation emanating out of this research is that DIM is not the responsibility of any specific marketing function, for it to be successful, cross-functional expertise, integration, and management is required
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management (in the field of Digital Business), 2021