San Francisco based influencer management platform Traackr in partnership with Top Rank Marketing, has released its global research report evaluating the current state of influencer marketing.
It polled 102 brand strategists and marketers from enterprises such as Microsoft, American Express, 3M, Amazon Web Services, and Diageo, with 48 percent of respondents working in companies with over 10,000 staff.
The report, "Influence 2.0: the future of influencer marketing" highlights that current influencer marketing is tactical, with low-level financial and resource investment.
It states that this is a "fundamental failure of current programs" that hinder performance and prevent influencer marketing becoming a strategic investment at a board level.
Although 71 percent of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic or highly strategic marketing category, 43 percent "experiment" with the practice. 28 percent only involve influencers at campaign level.
However, 83 percent of respondents said that their top priority was to "identify and build one-on-one relationships with industry key influencers."
24 percent of brands do run an "always on" program, but only five percent of enterprises implement an integrated influencer program across all business functions.
The report data demonstrates a "considerable lack of understanding of the vast untapped potential for the enterprise".
Budget is an issue. Many of the brands surveyed reported small influencer budgets relative to the rest of the marketing allocation. On average 10 percent of the total marketing budget is allocated to influencer marketing.
Half of respondents allocate less than $100,000 annually, limiting the potential impact of influence to a tactical level.
Although influencer marketing is expanding within enterprises, there is a disconnect about ownership. 16 percent of respondents said that PR is the owner of influencer marketing. 65 percent of companies reported that PR executed campaigns against influencer marketing initiatives.
The report shows that influence is now starting to expand its footprint within the enterprise, with marketers starting to see the bigger picture. The role of influence is expanding into new areas including marketing, sales, support and loyalty programs.
The report shows that 94 percent of marketers would like to explore how it can improve brand advocacy, and 92 percent want to use it to expand brand awareness.
88 percent want to reach new highly targeted audiences, 86 percent to achieve increased share of voice, and 74 percent want to improve sales conversion.
The report highlights that short-term, campaign-driven and paid activities fail to deliver the opportunity inherent in 'always on' strategic programs that live beyond a single campaign.
To demonstrate success to the business and justify the costs, influencer marketing must be a priority in its own right to get executive sponsorship. It should not stand alone as an add-on to existing advertising, paid for endorsements or PR programs.
Traackr CEO, Pierre-Loic Assayag said: "The business of influence is maturing and proving to be a driving force in enterprise growth and digital transformation.
CMOs must make Influence 2.0 a priority investment now to harness this power and lead in redefining the impact of marketing in enterprise business."