Image courtesy of Jeremy Knauff

You’ve probably heard me talk about why I’m not an influencer or how scammers can’t survive when anyone can Google if they’re real. I outed the course sellers who peddle courses on how to sell courses as a Ponzi– the latest version of network marketers in the personal development space.

Anyone can see through the rented Lambos and posing in exotic locations– to the hollowness of one person’s self-proclaimed vanity lifestyle.

But there is a coming wave of intelligent, organized influencers who have teams that curate their content and are monetizing through brands– not through mere celebrity.

We’ve seen the Fyre Festivals and George Foreman grills drive sales. And with the rise of DTC (Direct To Consumer) brands embracing funny videos with charismatic spokespeople, traditional advertising models are just not as effective.

While the term “influencer” has been polluted, there is definitely a new wave of personal brands that have authority in their community– driving that audience through sophisticated sequences through to purchase.

This is where influencer marketing and affiliate marketing collide in an awkward marriage. Think of these influencers each as micro-properties with inventory available for sale. In the world of media buying, we’re used to evaluating the traffic levels and quality of various sites on which we want to buy, and lists from where we want to rent.

When the measurement system to truly value individual brands is in place, we’ll assess people based not on the vanity metrics of fans and likes, but the standard ad metrics of reach, cost per click, conversion rate, CPA, and ROAS.

Then everyone is a publisher with inventory– not just A-List celebrities.

At that point, marketing systems will be so smart and so frictionless that we can each opt into whether we want to make our audiences and property available for distribution. Thus, a coming data exchange that empowers us as consumers who can earn micro-commissions on everything we buy because of the trackable influence power we each have with our friends.

The FTC won’t be able to regulate this, since they can’t even keep up with the tiny trickle of influencer marketing that has just started.

You need a team.

I think that, as ridiculous as it is, the Fyres will continue to flame ever greater, since brands and networks are guided by what gets the highest engagement.

Thus, there will be thousands more, each with their stable of content creators– moving from whorehouse to more like an ad agency.

So that eventually, brands will be less like sponsors and more like advertisers– and talent will care less about “fame” or vanity metrics, but about affiliate earnings.

This situation will not go away– it will get “worse” because the product earnings are real and more powerful than traditional CPG marketing, and not fluff, like today’s influencer programs.

Putting on events takes a team and Fyre Festival— not just something an influencer can declare and expect all details to magically fall into place.