By Seth Lusk
The Demand for Authentic Marketing
What is authentic marketing? Is authentic marketing really so important? Do entrepreneurs and business owners want to familiarize themselves with how authentic marketing works, and implement it? I would say, beyond a shadow of a doubt; the answer is, “YES”.
In the 21st century, authenticity is being demanded more and more in life. It is being demanded in how people carry themselves in relationships with others, how they show up in their own life, AND it is being demanded in the world of business. Authentic Marketing is the answer to that demand.
Consumers, and customers today are being inundated daily with so much media, and advertising. It would be such an overwhelming distraction if people paid attention to all of it. So, people have developed strategies and tactics to “tune out the noise” that is not so important to them. This includes noise in marketing.
People today are being pulled in so many directions for their attention. And deciding where it will actually go, is a powerful display of self-discipline, and self-awareness today. Authentic Marketing is how companies can still speak to people who are being intentional about where their attention is going.
Consumers make decisions about where their attention will go when it comes to advertisements too. Consumers WANT to buy things or pay for services that will help them in their life. They WANT to pay attention to advertisements that will lead them in the direction of where to purchase these things, or services. And with authentic marketing, companies can position themselves to be directly in the line of sight of these consumers as they search for which advertisements will get their attention.
With the demand for authenticity on the rise. One of the many ways that consumers are directing where their purchasing attention will go, is how authentic a company is. They are looking for brands, businesses, and companies that run their business authentically, and market authentically.
How does a brand market authentically?
How does a business, brand, and/or entrepreneur market authentically then? This is the billion-dollar (quite literally) question. Because if we can accomplish this, then we get the attention of those looking to spend their money to improve their lives.
Authentic marketing can only be accomplished, when we understand what authenticity actually is. Authenticity has many ways of defining it. It is complex. So, to keep it simple, authenticity is when something is of undisputed origin. It is consistent in actions aligning with words, and messaging. Authenticity is about building trust in the fact that what is being said is true and will be done. Authenticity also means that a person (or brand/business in this case) knows what is most important for them, and clearly communicates that, AND that their actions also reflect this (not something different).
Authentic Marketing Starts in the personal life.
In our personal lives, authenticity would mean that we know what we value the most in life. Not the things we should value (because those were suggested by someone else and are therefore not of undisputed origin). To live authentically, a person will take the time to dig through and separate what is authentically important for them in life, versus the things they are maybe pretending or thinking are important for them in life, because they think they are supposed to. Authenticity is all about peeling back layers of inauthentic to get to know the authentic.
Once the authentic is seen, and known, then it is about putting it into clear, and consistent action, and then setting the intention to grow and learn from the results of those actions. We bring those results back to ourselves, and the values we hold, and we self-reflect on how we are expressing ourselves authentically, and we evaluate how we want to grow and change that, as we receive input from our actions we are currently taking.
Basically, authenticity is a journey. And authentic marketing is no different. It will be a journey for companies to choose and continue to choose for the entire life of a business being active and marketing to consumers. This is important to establish up front. Authenticity is not a one-time destination, that when we arrive at “being authentic”, then we no longer think about it, or develop authenticity. It will be an ongoing lifelong process. And this is because we are constantly receiving input from life around us. And authenticity is about how we will take that received input and implement what we learn from them in a way that is authentic, instead of creeping back into inauthentic actions, in an attempt to please others.
As business owners, and entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to practice authenticity in our personal life, AND in how we develop, operate, and market our business. We basically get double the “gym time” in exercising our authenticity muscles in life. Which has some beautiful advantages, as well as responsibilities.
From an authentic life to authentic marketing
So, how does a business actually DO authentic marketing? Let’s look at what this would look like for a business.
We already know that in personal lives, authenticity is about establishing what is authentically important for a person in life, and why. Then it is about establishing actions and goals in life that reflect those values in how we utilize our time and energy. In a business, we do something similar.
As a business we cannot look at the business and ask it “what is most important for you”. We cannot dig through the life experience and ask it what is most important for it. So, we find what is authentic for a business in another way. We do this THROUGH our customers/clients/consumers.
You see, we are in business because we want to help people with creating a life that they love more and more, and feel more fulfilled in. Whether it is through providing them with products or gadgets that help them accomplish things in life. Or we could be providing them with services that help them with areas of life that they are struggling in. What we do as businesses, is we solve problems for people that are keeping them feeling “not so fulfilled” with their life. Or maybe the problem is taking up too much of their time, and they feel frustrated with life. We are in business to provide solutions for people that help them live their most fulfilled life.
The consumer informs the business of authentic marketing.
This means that the consumer actually informs a business of what it values through the problems it wants to solve for people. As business owners, when we know what problem, we want to solve for people, we can begin understanding the values that a company holds. We can understand those values by then asking ourselves, WHY do we want to solve this problem for people as a company? HOW do we want to solve that problem in a way that is most effective, helpful, and consistent?
To answer THESE question about authentic marketing, we will go back to our own personal values as business owners. Usually, we want to solve problems for our customers that we understand. Many times, it is because it is a struggle we personally faced, and want to help other people solve, because we learned how to solve it for ourselves. And the reason we solved the problem for ourselves, is because of something that we truly value in life.
A real-life example of authentic marketing
I am going to reference myself here, and my own business as a life coach who specializes in authenticity coaching. I solve the problem of people living inauthentic lives. I know this is a problem that people face, because I faced it too. I recognize the symptoms of it in other people’s lives, because I lived it for so long. I know people are struggling with this and want a solution, because I did too.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, yourself, I am sure you can see this in your life, and how you decided to create the solution to the struggle that you provide for your customers. This is important to understand for authentic marketing.
In my case, living an inauthentic life meant that I often felt misunderstood, lonely, frustrated, unseen, unworthy, and overwhelmed. I had patterns of addictions in my life, people pleasing, emotional eating/drinking, procrastination, anxiety, depression, and much more. I felt these things because I had values in life that were not being expressed in my life.
Understanding, compassion, truth, and integrity were very strong values for me. And living an inauthentic life, meant that I was not living those values. I was actually living a life that resisted and suppressed them. And this meant that my life felt very unfulfilling for me.
It was for this very reason that I decided to life coach. I decided to life coach because I value compassion, understanding, truth, and integrity. I wanted to express more of those values into the world by coaching people and helping them to discover what is authentic for them, and begin living it out loud too.
In solving this problem for others, I get so many benefits as a business owner. My customers also get many benefits. I get the benefit of expressing things and creating more of the values that are important for me in my life. So, it feels very fulfilling for me. It also benefits me because what I am helping people with as a business owner creates more people who are expressing those values in life by living more authentically. So, I get the massive benefit of contributing more compassion, understanding, truth, and integrity to the world.
My customers benefit because they get to experience more of those values AND get to know more of the values that are most important for them at the same time. Then they get to live a life that expresses more truthfully in the world around them, what is most important for them. It is like a compounding effect.
This is what running a business authentically is all about! The compounding effect of us contributing something to the world that is truly important for us, that benefits people, and the world as a whole. We as business owners benefit from it, and our customers benefit from it.
It’s in the communication.
Now, when it comes to marketing. We take this business that is built on authenticity, and we communicate it to the world around us. This is what marketing is all about. It is about branding a business (what does the company do, and why). It is about researching who benefits from what the company does and why (marketing research). Then it is about communicating that to the world in a way that the people who benefit from what we do and why, will hear it, identify with it, and give their attention to it. This leads to a person moving in the direction of paying for the solutions that a company offers.
They do this because they can clearly identify that their struggle in life is one that you understand. They know you offer a solution for it. They know that you have a reason WHY you want to solve this struggle, and that it is because of something important for you (the business), that you want to contribute to the world. And the consumer understands how what you are wanting to contribute to the world, benefits them in their world, as well as the world as a whole.
When a consumer can clearly see all of this, we get something much deeper from them that just purchasing our product or service. We get their attention, and we get their trust. With trust, we also slowly gain their loyalty. With loyalty, we get repeat, and referred business. We create a relationship with our customers in this way.
Authentic marketing does not just benefit the consumer. It benefits the business too. And this is why you want to begin implementing it NOW, not tomorrow. With authentic marketing, we do not coerce, or manipulate people into paying us money only to realize later they feel a bit resentful in having purchased from us. We don’t want that.
Trust from consumers is a MUST.
In the modern world with so much transparency thanks to the internet and social media; customers who feel cheated or resentful, leave a damaging trail for businesses online. People talk with others online, and communicate their resentment and dissatisfaction with businesses, products, or services. And this communication stretches WIDE in who it can reach. Once it is out there online, the damage is done. A company can learn of course, and then correct what it has learned. But a company who is not authentic doesn’t learn, and they keep trying to sell their product to people, even if it won’t TRULY benefit them.
Over time this sort of practice completely erodes any relationship of trust a company can have with its audience that it is marketing to (more on trust and authentic marketing). And this is why authentic marketing is so important. It helps us as businesses to speak to the right people, that our product or service can genuinely help, and let them know how and why it will help them. Authentic marketing helps us to target our message of what we are here to solve and contribute, to the exact people who will WANT, and benefit from what we are selling. Authentic marketing helps to eliminate (as much as possible) our message grabbing the attention of people who our product or service might not truly help. It helps us to weed out those people who might buy our product or service, and then not benefit from it, and feel cheated or resentful afterward.
Authentic marketing builds trust.
How authentic marketing does this, is through communicating with laser like focus who we are, what we are here to solve and contribute, how we do that, and why. When our communication of this is so layer focused, then the number of potential people who will give their attention to the message is also laser focused. And it is focused on those people who will truly benefit from what we are offering.
You see, the fewer people who give us their attention only to realize that we cannot truly help them, the more we build a relationship, and reputation of authenticity, trust, transparency, and loyalty with those we market to. And this in turn leads to businesses having more success and having this over a longer period of time.
Authentic marketing is the secret sauce to your business’s success. It is also the key to your feeling of fulfillment as a business owner. As business owners, we don’t want to lie to people. Some people might think they need to in order to sell and make a living. But no business owner goes into business because they desire lying to people, and harming their life fulfillment. We as business owners want to help people. That is why we choose to go into business, to provide solutions that help people, and in the process of us helping them, we help ourselves too. It is a win/win for everyone. That is the goal.
The truth is though, if we are not clear and authentic in our own lives, and therefore clear and authentic in our business practices, then we will be (often times unintentionally) lying to people. Some people will detect this up front and tune us out as a business. Others may buy from us before realizing it, and we create resentment and distrust with those consumers. We as business owners want to avoid this.
How we do this is THROUGH authenticity. Authenticity with ourselves, so that we know what we value in life and why. Then we can be authentic in our business, by knowing the problem we want to solve, and why we authentically want to do it. And then through authentic marketing, we communicate that to the audience that we are authentically here to serve, and help.
A new era in marketing
Authentic marketing is here to stay. Business will be evolving in how we practice this, as the years go by. But we will only be getting more and more authentic in how we understand this, and how we put it into practice. So, authentic marketing is something we want to (as entrepreneurs, and business owners) familiarize ourselves with, and begin learning to put it into practice.
The best way to begin this, is by practicing it in your personal life. Then being able to transition this into your business practices becomes an extension of the authenticity you embody as a person.
Be the change of authentic marketing.
Are you showing up authentically in your life? Is the life you are living the life you are authentically designed to live? Being able to say yes to these questions means that practicing authentic marketing is as simple as translating all of those practices you have in your personal life, into how you practice business.
I would be doing a disservice to you all here reading this today, if I did not tell you that I am here to help you with this process. I am here to help you to peel back the layers of inauthenticity in your life, so that you can start living the authentic and fulfilling life you are designed for. If that life includes running a business and marketing, then authentic marketing will be one of the many practices you begin practicing in your life.
Authenticity coaching is my contribution to the world. The truth is that most people are not good at identifying if they are living an authentic life. And this is because they think about it. And when you think about it, the conscious mind that you think with is living IN the inauthentic stories you have accepted about life. And this means that to your mind, these stories are just facts about life you “have to deal with”. You would not be able to identify through thinking that your life is inauthentic.
Thankfully the subconscious mind leaves behind some symptoms for us to see. These symptoms let us know if we are living an inauthentic life.
-feeling unfulfilled or unexcited about life
This just names a few of the symptoms. But if you recognize these in your life, there is a good chance you are living inauthentically. Which means that if you are a business owner, you are probably also marketing inauthentically.
No fear though. Authenticity coaching is what I am here to help you with. Through authenticity coaching you are going to be able to identify what is most important for you in life, and WHY (not what should be most important to you). You are going to learn how to see your purpose and mission in life clearly, and then how to plan your time in a way that you have MORE THAN ENOUGH time to live that purpose. You will be filling your calendar with “WANTS” not “SHOULDS”, “HAVE TOS”, or “NEED TOS”. You will be able to identify important roles in life for each chapter in your life, and how you want to prioritize those roles. You will also know how you authentically want to embody each role and express that in your life.
For quite a few of my clients, one of those roles is entrepreneur, or business owner. And how they want to embody that role it with integrity and authenticity. This means authentic marketing.
So, if you are ready to put this into practice in your life, and business; authenticity coaching is there for you. You can find out more about how authenticity coaching works and could be exactly what you are looking for at http://www.lifecoachseth.com .
The take home
Authentic marketing is our future as business owners and entrepreneurs. I am excited to see where it takes business practice in our future. I am excited to see the fulfilling relationships that this creates between consumers, and businesses worldwide. I think this is an authentic contribution to the world that we can all get on board with.
It is YOUR TIME to Rise & Thrive.