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Leo Burnett Business
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Lisa Abbatiello

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646-840-8350

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Chicago

Why This Influencer Expert Has a Seat at the Strategy Table

Director of Influencer Megan Maguire shares details on the type of collaboration and education that produces compelling influencer campaigns.

Touting unrivaled authenticity, built-in audiences and impressive ROI, influencer programming is one of the fastest-growing spaces within today’s marketing industry. In 2015 alone, interest in influencer marketing more than doubled and, according to one Tomoson study, nearly 60% of marketers planned to boost influencer marketing budgets just this year.

Director of Influencer Megan Maguire leads the influencer discipline within Leo Burnett’s social practice, working across the agency to develop strategies for clients like General Motors, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble. With more than seven years of experience in the influencer space, she serves as Leo Burnett’s resident subject expert. In the following interviews, she discusses her role in the development of creative campaigns and decodes this rapidly developing space.

Despite its growing popularity and magnitude, wide misconceptions still exist about the influencer discipline. Maguire serves an important role in working collaboratively within creative teams not only to build effective and creative programs, but also to educate them about best practices and trends within this space.

“Frequently I will be pulled into a room because the word ‘influencer’ is such a hot topic right now,” she says. “I spend a fair amount of time, depending on the team, educating and helping people understand not just the best ways to use influencers, but where they fit within the space.”

From strategy planning through to the selection process, influencer experts like Maguire help balance an influencer’s authenticity and the brand’s message in order to integrate these new-media celebrities into campaigns in effective ways.

For Maguire, even the challenges that face influencer marketing are opportunities to evolve and think differently about the practice. For example, she encourages amplifying an influencer’s work with traditional media support in addition to leveraging that influencer’s following. This tactic allows brands to utilize different types of influencers, such as those with smaller followings but genuine, authentic ties to the brand, while still achieving strong results.

Consumer packaged goods brands, in particular, are challenged by a market space already saturated with influencer campaigns. To succeed in this environment, Maguire explains, the creative, strategy and influencer teams need to work in tandem to ensure the strength of the campaign across platforms.

When it comes to best practices for influencer strategy, Maguire explains that the needs change based on the campaign itself. Whether influencers are used as second-layer amplification or they are at the core of a campaign, there is no one-size-fits-all way to design an influencer program. Megan advises approaching each campaign as its own, and constantly collaborating with strategists and creatives to produce activations that authentically and strategically place brands into the cultural conversation.