Skip to main content

Twelve years ago, our fledgling agency opened its doors in a world that would soon be redefined by the digital age. At that time, we primarily catered to PR agencies, serving as a bridge between the agency/brand entity and the influencers. The prevailing model involved pricing our services like a commodity, delivered at a flat rate.

Fast forward to today, and this increasingly outdated model persists, despite the landscape of marketing undergoing a seismic shift.

Woman with red hair standing next to a chart with a picture of a lightbulb and a money sign.

Our focus now lies primarily with brands: a striking 75% of our clients are brand direct, as opposed to agency intermediaries. We’ve earned a ‘seat at the table’ in brand planning, working alongside PR, digital, and advertising agencies, and frequently establishing long-term, year-long partnerships.

We are not just peddling commodities, but creating bespoke strategies, tailored content, and fostering genuine engagement. It’s high time we pivot away from the outmoded model of commodity pricing, which fails to reflect the true value of the services we offer.

I propose a shift towards a model where agencies bill hourly, disclose all costs, and eliminate hidden fees. This could be the game-changer the industry needs, promoting clarity, fairness, and rebuilding trust between brands and their marketing partners.

But this can only happen together. The entire influencer marketing ecosystem, from agencies to influencers to brands, needs to embrace an agency-based pricing approach. This means shifting from commoditization toward recognition of the strategic, creative, and consultative value agencies contribute to campaigns.

What would this change involve? First of all, influencer and advertising fees would become pass-through out-of-pocket (OOP) costs. An influencer agency would bill hourly for all work executed, with rates predetermined and approved by the client.

Under a new, more transparent model:

  • Clients would see exactly how much is paid to each influencer
  • The precise advertising fee is disclosed
  • The agency’s fees are itemized based on hours spent by the individuals working on the program

For the full rundown of how this more transparent pricing model would work — and why it benefits brands so much — be sure to read my Media Post op-ed: The Case For Fee Transparency In Influencer Marketing.

Want to know more about our own approach to pricing? Get in touch with us with any questions!


P.S. Be sure to check out this week’s new episode of The Art of Sway Podcast!

Episode 35: Leadership Skills & Emotional Intelligence: Cheri Alexander’s Mentorship Magic – Want to unlock the secrets of leadership and personal growth from a top expert in emotional intelligence and digital learning? Step into the world of Cheri Alexander, a powerhouse former C-suite executive now rocking the world of education.. Gain exclusive insights into her unique mentorship approach, which empowers over 250,000 Coursera students and is further amplified through her faculty role at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Cheri also shares her expert wisdom on harnessing people skills, the art of adaptability in the corporate realm, and the ever-crucial mantra of embracing change.