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Marketers should see the impending decline of The Influencer as an urgent lesson in the need for transparency. But what are the chances of that?

I read an interesting article the other day about male fashion. Not that I’m the most sartorially with-it guy out there but given that my job is at the intersection of marketing and media, it’s good to know what people are thinking. I’ve always told would-be editors/writers that the first thing they need to do is keep their antennae open at all times. There is no downtime when your job is to disseminate messages to the world, no matter what kind of message.

The article stuck mostly to trends in how men purchase fashion, the rise of a serious fashion sensibility, and a fashion knowledge that is starting to mirror that of women’s. So far so good.

And then the marketing side of the article kicked in. And I came across this quote:

 

Excerpt from article on influencer menswear in 2016

“The State of the Menswear Union,” Noah Davis, Racked.com

 

This passage speaks to so many things. To me, it speaks to the fact that 1) content marketing moves lightning fast now and yesterday’s strategy is tomorrow’s fail. Or #fail. (see how old that hashtag looks?) and 2) This is another example of how a lack of transparency kills. Influencer strategy was never transparent. You were never sure if the Influencer was promoting something because they liked it (their good taste is what made them influential in the first place after all) or if they were paid to promote it. This great article about celebrities holding bags of tea on Instagram bemoans how debased the idea of “strategy” has become.

The final thing: the entire idea of Influencers as strategy has been amazingly short-lived. Of course, some Influencers won’t go away. The Kardashians of the world can move a lot of product – that’s their genius. But the lifecycle of the Influencer as a prominent marketing tool is almost gone. Already. Content and PR types need to remember why this happened. After all, if we don’t learn from our mistakes we are bound to repeat them…