Authenticity goes far

Why sell a fake version of yourself? Yes, we must impress people to get what we want, however we should showcase skills that are authentic to who we are.

I reached out to a seasoned marketing professional for advice earlier last week. This part of her response surprised me:

At the end of the day, people don’t buy your product, they buy YOU. The more authentic and vulnerable you are willing to show up in the world, the more people want to listen to what you have to offer. I have found that to be true through and through.

Think of all the ways we market ourselves: job searching, branding, sharing our stories. We try to show people ourselves, however often times, there is a plateau. We don’t get the response we want, or the validation we believe we deserve, so we give up. We sacrifice our authenticity and sell a different story. Possibly a story that is fake.

A great example is when people catfish when looking for dates. How would you feel if you were going into a date expecting one person when another person shows up? I would be extremely annoyed. I assume people we are marketing to feel the same way when we act out of character.

If we hit a plateau, let’s simply change our strategy. Gather data. Theorize. Test. And try again. Don’t give up. But keep testing. Find a better way to tell your story.

The market, at least the market you’re looking to serve, wants someone who they can trust. How can you build that trust? Show them you, the best parts of you, and actively work to strengthen the rest.

Forget the mass, impact the special few

There is great satisfaction in impacting others, even if it is one person.

As I am in the midst of building my marketing knowledge, I am learning that it is important to focus on the smallest viable market: the smallest group of people who you choose to serve. The idea is, if you obsessively try to understand and cater to these special few, they will voluntarily spread the word about your product or service as a result of the value they derive from you. This also allows marketers to create a stronger brand, community, and projects that they are proud of.

“The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone.” – Seth Godin, This is Marketing

I experienced this firsthand earlier today when I received my first blog comment from a stranger. I was surprised to see that he felt strongly enough about blog post, compelling him to leave a comment. This comment was not just any comment but one of great depth and vulnerability. The joy that I received from that one comment reminded me of why I write these blog posts.

By focusing on impacting a special few, you are able to provide value to those who want to hear what you have to say.

“We must begin with a worldview, and invite people who share that worldview to join us. ‘I made this’ is a very different statement than, ‘What do you want?'”

This points back to the old adage, “Quality over quantity.”

In a world that is convoluted by the “more”, focus on the “better”.

Focus on impacting the special few.