It's time to bid goodbye to the #influencer era
I have been thinking a lot lately about “influencer” marketing. Partially because, well, it is my job to. From discussing it on the podcast, to question it myself, to engaging with self-proclaimed influencers; I’ve been thinking a lot about the effect that this type of marketing has had on my life & on global business.
If there is one super power that I would proclaim to possess, it would be to see patterns. That is why I know how to sew, and it also why business development has always come naturally for me. I can see and connect patterns in the market. That ability and along with a slightly over zealous amount of determination have driven much of my career successes.
I have watched as the influencer age unfolded. My generation grew up on this shit. I had my first Myspace account in middle school. I got invitations to join Gmail & Facebook before they were public platforms. We were quite literally raised to be influenced by the internet.
Fast forward to today, in a world where (almost) all of our data is available online. Where we shared our photos and our stories at a completely unprecedented rate with people from around the world. Where AI could predict our desires & influencer our purchasing habits prior to us even Google searching for the next thing we wanted to buy. But it isn’t just software doing the influencing. People are also involved in this process.
Magazines, TV, and movies used to be the main culprits. With a limited cast of characters, we were taught from the Disney era onward that to be beautiful was to be straight, white, and skinny. But today’s media is everywhere. We can’t turn it off or put it down. Especially since we all carry tiny supercomputers with incredible listening capabilities in our pockets.
We are more connected than ever before. We can find folks online & feel connected to “our people”, whether it be for good or for evil. We can share our stories or sell products using all sorts of contrived means on social media. It’s the wild wild west out there.
In my mind, Instagram is an easy culprit to point to in the story of using images to manipulate people. But deep down, I always found parts of Instagram to be pure and powerful. I first joined Instagram as a fitness-focused #singlemom. The workouts, body positivity, and encouraging community I found in other #fitmoms rocked my world and gave me hope. But when Instagram was bought by Facebook, something changed. They were fully bought into the business of harvesting people’s data to sell shit & we all got sold to in the process.
In my feed, ads consist of: health/wellness products, online masterclasses, gyms, other marketing agencies, software companies, and, of course, outsourced bookkeeping shops. I actively shop online & have purchased products regularly through the platform.
But it isn’t just ads that are influencing my purchases. It’s #mommybloggers and other women with over 100k+ followers & a cute wardrobe that are selling me on everything I think I need to be more beautiful, more relaxed, and carefree.
I got sold to as well. We all do.
But I think this influencer area is coming to an end. Let me explain.
For the past 5 years I have been watching the peak, and then the subsequent decline of the age of the Instagram Influencer. From the increase regulation of online #ad campaigns, to the debacle of the Fyre Festival, to the significant decrease in engagement on the platforms, it has become clear that consumers want stories. And not in the form of another Youtube star.
We want real, genuine human beings.
You know that word, the one we keep hearing everywhere?
It’s often accompanied by words like: Real. Bold. Strong. Honest. Empathetic. Human.
We don’t want useless products. We want people. We want to feel connected. We want our purchasing power to make an impact. We want to build relationships with the companies whose products we consume. We want to buy things from people that are passionate enough to believe that their work will change the world.
We want to shift in a new direction.
This is the feeling & force that is driving the next era in marketing. We are dubbing this one the Era Of Authenticity (EOA), and we are wildly passionate about what this era means for the future of marketing.
That is why we will be writing all about this new era for the next quarter, and sharing both the new vision for our brand (yippee!) and upcoming online training classes & events (more on that below) designed to bring your brand into a new and authentic way of building your business.
I cannot wait to transform the future of marketing together with all of you.
With grit & gratitude,