Authenticity and Marketing
Recently I had an opportunity to listen to a young twenty-something speaker. His topic was “What matters most?” His talk was designed to encourage young people, his cohort, to connect with each other.
His opening statement went something like this, “We are looking for authenticity; we are tired of being sold to”. This young man is not a marketer; salesman perhaps, but not a relationship marketing executive.
To drive his point home he defined “authentic” as:
Entitled to acceptance or belief; reliable; trustworthy; of established credit, credibility, or authority
As marketers, we toss the term around quite frequently, but I was intrigued by this particular definition. Specifically, I was drawn to credibility.
Credibility and Relationship Marketing
For many of us, traditional marketing or advertising has probably felt more like walking through a sidewalk of street vendors selling their wares. “Hey buddy, wanna buy a watch?”
Traditionally marketing is based on efficiency; I have a product or service to sell. I find the right target audience, then, broadcast messages designed to communicate the features and benefits in order to get you to buy the product or service.
Although a company may have a relationship marketing strategy, often the focus is still primarily from the perspective of the company selling the product. This approach as worked well for a long time; however, we are now witnessing the evolution of relationship marketing.
We are moving from social media to social business. Social business utilizes social data differently. Although customer loyalty and profitability are goals, the way to achieve those goals is different.
Social Business and Authenticity
Social business requires a different kind of mindset. Companies that put the customer experience at the center of their marketing efforts think about things like relevant content, connected touchpoints, and two way communications very differently. It is more of a service mentality than a selling mentality, with motives that extend beyond increasing the bottom line.
In this new era consumers have higher expectations, they research and shop differently. They expect companies to communicate with them where they are. Authenticity in social business means that you won’t force-fit a sale if the benefit isn’t there for the customer, it means true partnership and advocacy for all consumers.
Could you describe your communications as authentic in this new era of social business?