Ru Az

Foxy Platform

Diving into influencer marketing was a natural step for Khayala Mammadova, leveraging over a decade of experience in social media and marketing. As the founder of Foxy, a leading influencer marketing agency, she has seen the industry evolve firsthand. In this interview, Khayala shares her journey, challenges, and Foxy's impact on Azerbaijan's influencer marketing scene.

Can you provide us with some insight into how and why you started this business of influencer marketing?I have been working in the social media and marketing sector since 2010. As someone with experience and direct involvement in this sector, I can say that in recent years I have witnessed the impact of influencers in shaping consumer behaviour. Based on my experiences, I decided to start my own business in influencer marketing.

What inspired you to enter the realm of influencer marketing?
Several factors motivated me to start this business. Among them, I can specifically mention my love for project management and being in a close interaction with people in a creative environment as the main reasons.

Could you describe the evolution of your company from its inception to its current position in the market?Of course. As you know, our line of business is to provide influencer marketing services for companies and management services for our exclusive influencers. When we first started, it was just me and one other employee on our team. I would even say we were only doing our work online. We had a few meetings a week to discuss plans to get things done. We used to work with very few influencers and only provided influencer marketing services to a small number of clients. After we started participating in tenders, our influencer base also began to grow. Currently, we have around 30 exclusive influencers and a client base of more than 50 people.

Specifically in Azerbaijan, what is the state of influencer marketing, and how does your company contribute to it?
This is an area that is currently growing. Of course, if I say that "the influencer marketing market is fully formed", it won't sound quite right. The market is new and, as I said, evolving. Foxy is one of the first companies to offer an influencer manager. It's true that agencies used to have a membership service, but they didn't provide a management service. In that sense, Foxy is the first. After our company started it, several other companies have entered the market with similar services.

What unique challenges do you encounter while operating within the Azerbaijani market?
One of the main challenges we face is that companies don't provide a proper brief and sometimes companies want to contact our exclusive influencers directly. However, as the market evolves, behaviours change. if you compare the situation three years ago when we started this work with the current situation, it is easy to see that a lot of progress has been made. The problems I mentioned earlier used to be more difficult to deal with, but now they have become somewhat easier.

How do you select influencers to collaborate with, and what criteria do you prioritize in this selection process?
Quality content. For me, this is the most important criterion. In addition, the reputation of the influencer is an important factor as well. Once you create quality content, you can easily develop that influencer and ensure their presence in the market.

Can you elaborate on some successful influencer campaigns your company has executed, and what made them effective?
So far, we have had almost no failed projects. From the smallest to the biggest projects, we pay close attention to the smallest details and work as a team. We are involved in most of the shoots ourselves. Sometimes we also help influencers develop ideas. That is, when we hand over a project to an influencer, we give all kinds of support to that project. This also plays an important role in making our projects more effective.

In what ways do you ensure authenticity and alignment between influencers and the brands they endorse?When a brand sends a brief, representing the most relevant influencers for that brand is at the core of our business principle. Sometimes brands want to work with an influencer who is not suitable for the campaign, in such cases we express our suggestions and opinions in a professional manner. In most cases, clients agree with our suggestion. Although it happens very rarely, sometimes the brand did not agree with our idea at all, in which case we abandoned the project. Reputation is very important to us.

How do you navigate potential risks such as influencer controversies or backlash?
It is an undeniable fact that negative opinions and criticism cannot be avoided when working with people. In the most difficult moments, we waited for the right moment to walk away from conflicts. After the aggression of the person in front of us had passed, we tried to solve the problem by talking face to face again. In most cases, this method works. In addition, it is important to approach everyone individually. In general, as we try to maintain a friendly relationship with both Influencers and clients, these cases don't happen very often.

What strategies do you employ to stay ahead of the competition in the rapidly evolving influencer marketing landscape?
If I tell you this secret, I would reveal the main principle of our work. However, I can emphasise that it is very important to research constantly, be innovative and stay up to date with the business.

How do you maintain long-term relationships with influencers?
Maintaining a friendly relationship with them. Because influencers are the backbone of our work. You need to show attention, even if it's small, to make them feel that you are there for them on their special day.

What advice would you give to brands looking to integrate influencer marketing into their overall marketing strategy?
Make sure you contact professional companies. If they want to do this with in-house resources, they will still need to do the research. The quality of content provided to an influencer is more important than the number of subscribers. I would even say that micro-influencers are better at it now.

Are there any specific industries or sectors in Azerbaijan where influencer marketing has shown exceptional effectiveness?
Influencer marketing already embraces all areas. The power of influencers in the implementation of any campaign is undeniable and inevitable.

Finally, what are the future plans and aspirations for your company in the realm of influencer marketing, both in Azerbaijan and beyond?
Our current goal, desire and main plan is to grow, become global and apply foreign experience in Azerbaijan. Nowadays, we are even negotiating co-operation with a foreign company.