The rapid rise of online influencers around the world, and across digital platforms, presents an unrivaled channel for marketers to transcend traditional geographic barriers and reach new diverse audiences by tapping into the power of niche, influential brand ambassadors.

Long accustomed to traditional marketing channels such as television, radio, and print advertising – global marketers initially questioned the lasting impact of social media and the overall effectiveness of digital marketing. By 2017, there is no longer a question about where to invest marketing budget. Digital marketing spending will outpace traditional marketing in most major economies – especially in high-growth “mobile-first” markets including China, Brazil, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

As digital marketing receives an ever-expanding piece of the marketing pie, the overall online landscape grows increasingly crowded. Marketers spend outrageous sums to create original content in hopes that it will go viral, meanwhile more than 300 million global consumers use ad blockers to prevent many digital marketing messages from ever reaching them. These challenges are further amplified in international markets with country-specific platforms such as WeChat (China), Line (Korea), VKontakte (Russia) that are much harder to figure out without a dedicated local marketing team.

Online influencers are the most effective way to address these challenges.

Online influencers are individuals with dedicated tribes of loyal followers. Because of their reach, influencers can effectively promote brands and even sell products in an authentic way that global consumers WANT to receive. Furthermore, when entering new countries marketers can rely on influencers who already understand how to make best use of local social media platforms, tailor content for their unique culture, and use appropriate “internet language” to engage consumers in their home market.

In sum, the right group of influencers can open the door to new international markets, oftentimes without even needing to take a business trip or establish an official overseas presence.