Per Forrester, influencer marketing platforms fall into three categories related to their service offerings.
- Full Service
- Managed Platforms
- In-House Platforms
While Forrester offers in-depth definitions here in their New Tech: Influencer Marketing Solutions, Q2 2020 report, we paraphrased the three options as follows:
- Full Service influencer marketing platforms are essentially influencer marketing agencies with proprietary platforms. They offer a wide range of services – from strategy to tactical campaign execution. These companies don’t require their customers to use their platform, making the technology a nice-to-have.
- Managed Platforms are hybrid ‘platform-agencies’ with fewer managed services, often requiring their customers to log in to the platform to complete tasks, communicate, and more.
- In-House Platforms (like CreatorIQ), offer a limited scope of highly specialized consulting services for mature influencer marketers seeking to manage all aspects of day-to-day campaign execution in-house. For this reason, the consulting services are related to sophisticated needs such as advanced implementation, data operations, data insights, CRM strategy, transformation strategy, and innovation.
There is no right or wrong option to outsource or in-house operations as it often depends on a marketer’s budget, maturity, priorities, and experience. Ryan Skinner, Principal Analyst at Forrester wrote in a blog post, “The needs of the most experienced influencer marketers and the less experienced will increasingly mean different businesses and solutions. Some vendors straddle that divide, but the distance will grow.”
During a Forrester webinar, hosted by CreatorIQ on December 9th, Ryan Skinner provided more detail with regard to these different options, adding that many marketers are currently opting for “hybrid management.”
Before moving on, if you’ve reached this sixth blog post in our 13-part series, you know that choosing the right influencer marketing platform is mission-critical to your program’s success. There are many things to consider as you evaluate prospective influencer technology companies. To refresh, in parts 1-5, we discussed:
- The influencer marketing platform selection process, i.e. timelines, questions to ask, etc.
- How your long-term influencer marketing strategy will help inform your decision.
- What industry reviews and rankings to consider when researching prospective solutions.
- Evaluating platform maturity via customization, security, and user settings.
- Why you should prioritize advanced data science solutions during your search.
Don’t want to sift through each blog post? We’ve got you covered. Feel free to download the full user-friendly guide below:
Download the Complete, 13 Part Guide & Workbook
One additional option that’s important to consider is owning the platform – which allows for in-house data ownership, process control, and more – while outsourcing the services & day-to-day execution to a third-party. For example, CreatorIQ is seeing a trend towards brands bringing the influencer marketing platform ownership in-house but outsourcing the services to trusted agency partners.
If your company is running influencer marketing campaigns through an agency, for example, and your campaigns are producing excellent results, that’s great! However, the key to your influencer marketing strategy’s long-term success will be determined by your access to and control over the first-party data that your campaigns provide. So, if you don’t have access to the influencer marketing platform they are using to deploy your campaigns, that means you don’t have control over your own data – and if you plan on growing your influencer marketing program in the future, it’s critical that you have access – and are able to manage your data. But how do you ensure that you are getting the most out of the team managing your data?
For global enterprise brands using influencer marketing as a core channel in their marketing strategy, you will need two things: A) ownership of your own data for use across your organization, and B) a dedicated team who can show you what to do with the data collected by your influencer marketing campaigns.
Owning your first-party data empowers your brand or agency teams with the right infrastructure and enables your company to make well-informed decisions from important insights. The right Data Services team can help you make the best use of your data, and the right Enablement and Customer Success teams will help you improve your daily workflow so you get the most out of your influencer marketing technology.
At CreatorIQ, our data management capabilities support all of your custom application or workflow needs via a robust API. From our product to our Strategic Data Services team, we are here to help you integrate with top analytics platforms, visualization tools, document management software, payment solutions, and data suites – and when it comes to intuitive tech, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Our machine learning (ML) solution – One60 – brings unprecedented efficiencies to influencer marketing processes such as brand safety, creator identification, content prediction, paid media, and advanced measurement. From Strategic Data Services to our ML solution – we can help transform or uplevel your influencer marketing workflow and performance.
What really brings our product to life, however, is the Data and Customer Success professionals who work with our clients on executing their influencer marketing strategies – from onboarding all the way through campaign management and reporting. Remember: when evaluating software solutions, the team helping you manage your campaigns is just as important as the platform itself – and it’s important to ask the right questions, so that you get a comprehensive understanding of what your services will include.
While evaluating professional services, here are some important points to consider:
- If you need services in the short or long term, you may be best served to engage a platform with external strategic services partners.
Questions to Ask: Prior to purchasing a software solution, be sure to ask about the company’s onboarding (or “Enablement” | “Implementation”) process, and for specific details on the Implementation team’s experience. For some companies, the Implementation Manager role is an entry-level position, and for your expansive influencer marketing goals you’ll want a more seasoned hand. Specifically, you could ask:
- What type of experience do your Implementation consultants have? Have they worked with enterprise clients or clients of varying sizes? Do their clients have multi-regional deployments of influencer marketing strategy?
- Does your team develop completely customized Implementation plans based on the client’s unique use case?
- What data points will the Implementation team will be covering during the enablement process
It can be difficult to think about these services holistically, which is why we suggest creating a worksheet like the one above. Need more inspiration? We created several other workbook grids to help you during your platform selection process. You can access them here.
There are several things to consider when choosing an influencer marketing platform. Our next blog post will discuss how to select an influencer marketing platform with the best creator search solution. Get the complete Guide & Workbook for Selecting an Enterprise Influencer Marketing Platform or stay tuned for the next blog post.