Truth be told, for most of my career spanning more than 45 years, I have struggled with the disconnect between serving clients and marketing my services.
On the one hand, I have loved the synergy of authentic interactions with clients as we worked together to address what issues brought us together.
More often than not, these client interactions were mutually beneficial … and enjoyable experiences.
On the other hand, the advice of most marketing experts and gurus just didn’t resonate with me.
A few years ago, I devoted the time and energy to trying to figure out why so much conventional marketing advice was so disconnected with my way of being and doing things.
This reflection generated four reasons.
1. Exaggerated Benefits and Blatant Lies
For a variety of reasons, most current marketing communication, whether in press releases, official statements or paid advertising, seems to be marked more by exaggerated benefits and blatant lies than for its accuracy and reliability.
As a result, the public is growing increasingly skeptical of self-generated communications distributed by both public and private sector organizations.
2. Business Hype
Consistent with the exaggerated benefits and blatant lies communication approach of large organizations is the overuse of self-serving advertising hype commonly found in the marketing of products and services.
This hype serves to exacerbate the cynicism of a public that is constantly bombarded with an increasing overload of marketing and sales messages.
3. Service Professionals’ Disharmony
As service professionals, most of us experience some sense of disharmony when it comes to marketing our services.
For most of us, marketing our services was not part of our formal training and qualification.
And most would rather serve actual clients than look for new ones.
The overlay of exaggerated benefits, blatant lies and business hype in marketing dramatically increases the disharmony.
4. The Marketing Model Is Broken
The conventional approach to marketing consumer goods has never worked terribly well for marketing professional services.
The increased reliance on exaggerated benefits, blatant lies and business hype in marketing has reduced the
effectiveness of the conventional approach to marketing when it comes to marketing services.
Why Authenticity In Marketing Matters
As part of my reflection on the issue, I came across an excellent article on Forbes.com.
In Why Authenticity In Marketing Matters Now More Than Ever, the
“… brands no longer have an option other than representing
themselves honestly and transparently.
Authenticity is crucial to continued loyalty from fickle audiences.”
The author offers four ways to include authenticity into yourmarketing and branding efforts.
1. Remember that honesty is (still) the best policy.
Most of us, including your potentially ideal clients are emotionally driven and seek the security of knowing that hiring you will include mutual respect, honesty and trust.
2. Show ‘em what you know -- and that you care.
Although personalization is an overused word in marketing, it still has a huge impact on helping clients choose you instead of the competition.
3. Stay true to the brand.
Do what you do best, satisfy clients and exceed their expectations.
4. Be clear, direct and calm.
It's essential to have a proactive communications strategy that ensures your message stays consistent while you communicate with your audience.
Personal Branding Leverages Your Authentic Best Self
Personal branding represents the ideal approach to distinguishing yourself from the competition.
And by basing your personal brand on your authentic true self, you can positon yourself to generate more of the new business that you want and deserve.
In other words, by featuring your unique combination of personal resources and professional expertise in your personal brand, attract more ideal clients.
And once you start to serve and satisfy these clients, you can expect a continuous flow of repeat and referral business from them.
Now let’s come up with a way for you to apply the above ideas.
Of all the many ways in which you help clients, what is one way in which you serve and satisfy clients that is both authentic and unique to you?
What difference would it make to your marketing if more potentially idea client understood how this feature would help them?
If you think it would be helpful for more potential clients to understand the authentic value that you deliver, maybe it’s time to develop or upgrade your personal brand.