Instagram Influencer Marketing: Creating a Winning Strategy 

June 2021

The onset of new age digital marketing strategies has created a plethora of new trends, one of them being ‘Influencer Marketing’, which has taken the ad world by storm. This fictionalised case titled ‘INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER MARKETING: CREATING A WINNING STRATEGY’ showcases a French fashion and cosmetics giant inclined to move with the times, but only after a careful analysis of the pros and cons of adopting this strategy. We invite two experts to share their views and insights on the popular trend. 

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Case Study:

Disclaimer: This case is an abridged version of the fictionalised case INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER MARKETING: CREATING A WINNING STRATEGY - ISB241, written by Abhishek Rishabh, Doctoral Student at Indian School of Business and Professor Philip Zerrillo, Professor of Marketing at Thamsaat University and Board Member at Thammasat University College of Commerce, Thailand.


On August 9, 2020, Sean Jean De Ville, who had recently joined French fashion and cosmetics giant Satix as digital marketing head of the shampoo products division, was preparing for his first meeting with the CEO. He had been tasked to explore the viability of employing influencer marketing on Instagram. This would be a new promotional vehicle for the company, which had traditionally used billboard, print and limited digital advertisements. He was also told that a budget of USD 500,000 would be allocated for influencer marketing and that the boss was anxious to get his insights and recommendations.

Sean quickly read a number of advertising reports, industry reports and research studies. He found numerous studies supporting an interesting trend in influence marketing. Specifically, instead of employing a single big celebrity or macro-influencer for endorsement, advertisers were suggesting that it might be better to employ multiple small Instagram influencers or micro-influencers.

Convinced by these detailed studies, Sean started collecting data on local influencers. He eventually narrowed the field to two options: employing two influencers, Abby (A) who had one million followers and Billy (B) who also had a million followers, or one big influencer, Cassie (C) who had 1.5 million followers. A and B together would cost the company USD 500,000, whereas C wanted USD 450,000 all to herself.

Abby and Billy had appeared in the same local soap opera several years earlier. Abby was an avid poster, with 1.8 posts per day, while Billy posted less than once a day. They were both well known in the national media as fashionistas. Cassie was a relatively new celebrity who had begun her acting career by performing in arthouse productions but had recently captured a great deal of attention with her most recent film role. Cassie was posting 1.6 times a day.

The next morning, Sean presented his data to the CEO. The CEO, himself a veteran of the industry, said, “Sean, it is a very serious step for us to invest in these influencers. Remember, we have multiple objectives with this project. It is not just about short-term sales, it is also about reputation. I am not convinced that what you’ve shared is either sound or comprehensive enough for us to spend 500,000 dollars. I want to see you back in my office in four days, and I want hard data, insights and recommendations that I can be confident in. Whatever we decide to do may or may not work, but I want to feel that we did the right thing.”

Sean left the meeting wondering if he had a future at the firm. He knew he had to be better prepared for the next meeting. He would have to better anticipate the questions his boss would ask.


  1. What factors should Sean consider as he plans the social media strategy for the next meeting?


The experts bring in their perspective as they respond to the key questions the case poses.

Medhee Jarumaneeroj

Medhee Jarumaneeroj comes with over 20 years of experience in strategic brand and corporate communications. He’s the Co-founder and Managing Partner of BrandAholics Co. Ltd., a boutique brand and marketing company providing consulting services on strategic brand, marketing communications and capability building for many local and international organisations in Thailand for over seven years. 
Prior to starting his consulting business, Medhee has worked with Procter & Gamble (P&G) for over a decade leading the global communications for Olay in the P&G Headquarters, Gillette male grooming in Asia, where he took care of brand communications and influencer marketing for beauty care of ASEAN region. He also loves teaching as a guest lecturer on brand management, communications and crisis management for many universities in Thailand.


Dr. Philip Zerrillo

While holding faculty positions in multiple universities across the globe, Dr. Zerrillo has written and taught extensively in areas of distribution channels, brand management, strategy, counterfeiting and its effects on brands and brand valuation. He has authored and published several cases, also conducting numerous workshops on case writing and teaching at business schools across Southeast Asia. Dr. Zerrillo currently holds the honorary “Dr. Benvenido Tontoco Chair in Retailing” at Jose Rizal University (Manila) and sits on the board of directors for Thammasat University College of Commerce (Thailand).


Digital Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Digital Strategy, Influencer, Instagram

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