Spotlight: Why The Weeknd, PartyNextDoor & More Are Turning to This Influencer Marketing Agency

Spotlight: Why The Weeknd, PartyNextDoor & More Are Turning to This Influencer Marketing Agency

At his home in Atlanta, Ben Hiott has never been busier.

The 32-year-old is your co-founder of digital advertising agency Get Engaged, which specializes in influencer marketing. Ever since artists started canceling tours and press runs & ldquo;We’ve noticed a surge in business,&rdquo. “We’t become a strategy for marketing music. ”

Founded by Hiott together with Cameron Fordham, 28, along with Alex Dermer, 34, both the Atlanta-based bureau ’s audio division helps record labels discretely market their music on social media, whether through digital marketing, content production (for example, generating Instagram blockers and gifs), or even — increasingly — working using social media influencers to market music and musicians in their platforms. Get Engaged has conducted over 500 such audio campaigns using acts like Marshmello, Megan Thee Stallion, Blink-182, Khalid along with Steve Aoki, and a few labels and artists now have the business on monthly retainers.

As companies shift to digital ad spending amid the term, it’s boom days for Get Engaged: In the past few weeks, the bureau has worked on campaigns to market The Weeknd’s After Hours record, PartyNextDoor’s “Believe It” featuring Rihanna, Leon Bridges along with John Mayer’s quarantine-ready collaboration “Inside Friend” and much more.

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After getting friends in college, the 3 co-founders initially embarked on careers that were separate. Hiott built a small cult following the rapper Ben G; Fordham, who played football at Louisiana State University, worked at the sport industry; and Dermer managed Wacka Flocka Flame before co-founding job management system Curo Software. When Hiott believed he’d hit a “plateau&rdquo he and Fordham leveraged their networks to initiate a side hustle monetizing actors ’ Facebook webpages together using videos and articles. Within six months, they went from monetizing 10 webpages into 100, and Dermer united. “It just blew up,” says Hiott. “We were like, ‘Let’this turns into a real agency. ’”

Get Engaged was founded in 2016 and the team built out their offerings to add Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat along with TikTok. The audio marketing branch was designed in 2018; outdoors audio, Get Engaged also has significant customers in the sport (Major League Soccer, The PGA Tour), trend (Kendra Scott) and fast food industries (Raising Cane’s).

Their edge: “A brand would like to receive a huge celebrity, and they don’t even need to navigate through the huge agencies and all the red tape,” says Hiott. “We can run through the deal and pitch them it. ”

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Those connections have required years to construct. Fordham went into every audio, entertainment and sports event in Atlanta that he could detect till he’d “tapped out” on meeting new people, he says — at which stage he proceeded to Los Angeles to do the exact same thing. “I love to do great by people. If I state I’m definitely going to do anything, I&rsquo he says. “I don&rsquo. I love to bring them value as well. ”

Nowadays, the co-founders state that record labels and manufacturers pay Get Engaged anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per campaign, and campaigns can run from every week to months. Labels come to Get Engaged using a budget along with a couple of marketing ideas, and Get Engaged helps figure out who to call from the community of dozens of actors and over 2,500 influencers.

The trick to successful influencer marketing campaigns, Dermer adds, is “credibility ” — which is why the Get Engaged team spends ample time understanding the likes, dislikes and lifestyles of every influencer they use. “We’ve noticed so many campaigns where someone will push Coca-Cola, but they don’t beverage soda,” says Dermer, for example. “The typical consumer is becoming smarter. They’ll be like, & lsquo, and see this;Woah. You don&rsquo. Why are you doing this? ’”

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While the co-founders are mum on the specifics of particular campaigns, they aided amplify a recent TikTok challenge for The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Videos tagged #blindinglightschallenge have accumulated over 168 million viewpoints on the platform, and TikTok stars like David Dobrik and Addison Rae have engaged.

Influencer marketing allows labels to be nimble and shift release strategy based on tendencies that are fan-created. While working on Megan Thee Stallion’s March record SUGA, Hiott says that they planned to focus efforts on “Captain Hook” — till a “Savage” dancing challenge frees up on TikTok, at which stage the label shifted strategy to promoting that song. Now that movies tagged #savagechallenge have gained over 516 million viewpoints about TikTok, they’return to working on “ even Captain Hook. ” “People have to release audio with an open mind, and listen for fans,” Hiott adds.

As dancing challenges are still catapult songs like Roddy Ricch’s & “The Box” along with Doja Cat’s & “Say So” towards the best five of the Hot 100, the trio predict that the influencer marketing is only going to become more important to the audio market. And in fact, recent reports quote that influencer marketing will grow into a $15 billion business entire by 2022.

“If there are 40,000 release on Spotify per day, just how are you going to stand outside? ” says Dermer. “We do a pretty good job of curating a strategy to permit you to be a person that gets noticed. ”


I knew I was committed to music when I recorded my first demo at 17 years of age. Following a mildly successful career as an artist, I began navigating through business ventures that led me to starting Get Engaged. The world worked it’s magic and I have found my way back into music. I believe having the perspective of someone that has been a musician and music historian has contributed an immeasurable amount of value to people creating out the audio marketing arm of our agency. (Hiott)

Everything ’s changed is the way music is marketed, distributed and consumed. It’s so available, but with the enormous influx of information and new artists, then you have to determine strategic techniques to create visibility. Music is one of the very ancient types of entertainment and seeing that the evolution in my lifetime has been amazing. (Hiott)

I’m learning that the more information is distributed across social media, the more imaginative and innovative you’ve got to be to earn music stand out. How can your music go viral? Why is your content better than the 100s of millions of people on social media? (Dermer) 

It’s great to have a good team and support system. You wish to surround yourself with people that can force you to satisfy your entire potential for success and have your best interest in mind. A team is defined. (Fordham)

Dealing with musicians directly has enabled us to leverage our social media skills into producing other connections [with] managers and labels. It’s critical to have a dimensional community. We’ve connected many people which builds trust. We want people to work and thrive. Even if you do not see anything come from it at that particular stage, it will eventually come back. (Fordham)

Spotlight is an Billboard Business series that aims to highlight those in the music business making creative or innovative motions, or that are success in behind-the-scenes or under-the-radar roles. For admissions for the series, please contact  

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