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Be Effective by Being Authentic

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In marketers' quests to incorporate everything needed to pilot a successful campaign, they may be overlooking a key element—authenticity.

For some metric-centric marketers, the word "authenticity" may lean towards the esoteric. But consider this: In today's wonderfully rich content world, how are you cutting through the noise? And if your message is heard, will your customers believe you?

Let's evaluate what it takes to be authentic in your marketing approach and how to key in to this essential quality.

Honesty is still the best policy

Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising Report says the global consumer is more trusting now than in years past. "Survey results show that trust and action often go hand in hand," the report states. Successful marketers recognize the importance of solidifying such faith.


The report shares that earned advertising—word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family—remains the most trustworthy source.

To convey honesty that compels customers to act, effectual marketing messaging goes beyond being true and correct. To resonate as genuine, a brand must demonstrate accessibility, inclusiveness, and familiarity.

Ask these questions often:

  • What promises are we making? How are we delivering on those promises?
  • How have we demonstrated our interest and investment into our customers' needs and desires?
  • Are we relatable?
  • How have we let the customer "in"?

Prove that there is truth in advertising.

Think in terms of heart

Passion has become a buzzword, a cliché of sorts. So, let's think in terms of heart.

Everybody loves an underdog story. It speaks to us as humans on an emotional level. On paper, they have little chance of success. But in practice, there's an impalpable quality, a certain je ne sais quoi, that sets an underdog apart from the crowd. Funding, training, or experience rarely trump the drive and commitment associated with unadulterated heart.

So as marketers, how can we tap into this visceral stimulus? How does one light this fire?

  • Commit to developing a deeper understanding of product.
  • Expose any holes or unmined areas within past or existing efforts and engage in honest evaluation.
  • Retrace the development journey to isolate core drivers and inspiration, connecting with key players involved to tap into additional perspectives.
  • Establish a more meaningful connection with customer insights, exploring specific pain points and triumphs.

Customers will respond accordingly. And even if you don't win the immediate business, you’ve earned respect, which is something you can build on.

Highlight the unique

Being original is not enough. We're talking about more than being fresh and different. You may think this goes without saying but not so fast…

Sanitized, cookie-cutter marketing plans will do nothing to generate truly meaningful growth and broaden brand awareness in the marketplace.

When something strikes us as unique, we pause, observe, and evaluate. Regardless of what level of action follows, this "something" has already become more memorable.

Lack of time is a common, ongoing challenge for businesses. Moreover, many marketers are faced with creating relevant and accessible content at varying levels of frequency. The task can become daunting.

However, if you've made the effort to isolate and distill the unique upfront, as you develop your strategies, the results will be exponentially more targeted and effective. You'll have bought yourself extra time on the back end as the process will often drive itself.

And just as important as communicating the unique, ensure you back it up with substance.

Scour the marketplace and competitor materials to identify what truly sets you apart. Gain valuable customer insights through conducting carefully considered surveys. If you haven't already, go through the exercise of developing a USP. Or re-familiarize yourself with the existing one. Validate, update, or revise if necessary.

What is the most meaningful offering your product or business provides? What do we provide our customers that no one else can? Find your "hook," and compel action by communicating it in a clear and open way.

* * *

By establishing and maintaining an authentic appeal that's true to the business and the marketer, there's a level of honesty that translates to the customer. Earning trust not only validates your efforts (fiscal and otherwise) but secures relationships, which are evident in your bottom line.


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Gillian Vallee is a multichannel marketing professional, working with organizations on strategic marketing initiatives to create and improve brand positioning and revenue generating programs.

LinkedIn: Gillian Vallee 

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