Many people have written on what it takes to market a product or service. Almost everyone defines marketing: “as the act of buying or selling in a market.”
But marketing is more than the act of buying or selling. It certainly includes influence, but it is more. I believe marketing is finding out the best way to touch people and touch them in a way that resonates well enough that they tell their friends and it includes at least five characteristics. I call these “the five marks of authentic marketing”:
- Authentic marketing has insight. Sometimes we refer to this as vision, but that usually has exclusive reference to the future.
- Authentic marketing demonstrates initiative. It goes first. It doesn’t sit on the sidelines. It doesn’t ask others to market what they are unwilling to do themselves. Instead, it leads by example.
- Authentic marketing exerts influence. It’s no coincidence that influence and influenza (the flu) come from the same root word. Real marketing is contagious.
- Authentic marketing has impact. At the end of the day, authentic marketing makes a difference. The world is changed because of their product. They are able to create real and lasting change.
- Authentic marketing exercises integrity. Not every marketing plan is benevolent. In the late 1900’s companies made average products for average people, yes they had insight, initiative, influence, and impact. Yet their marketing was not integrated with the highest values. Integrity—or the lack thereof—ultimately determines the quality of a marketing plan impact. In a sense, this is the foundation of authentic marketing.
Authentic Marketing must be deliberate and intentional if it is to be successful. These five qualities can guide us as we grow in our ability to market authentically.