Authenticity in Marketing and Its Importance in the Channel

Authenticity in Marketing and Its Importance in the Channel

As potential customers wade through the overflow of pitches in today's marketplace, your competitors fight even harder to stand out from the rest. Buyers are bombarded with a plethora of messages via print and social media in a seemingly endless stream of choices. To make your brand a contender, tap into the increasingly prevalent consumer value of authenticity.

Millennials, the post-Generation-X cohort who are now a powerful consumer force, rank trust and authenticity high on the list of scrutinized factors when making brand choices, and are cynical about marketing. A study spanning 12 global markets conducted by Cohn & Wolfe revealed a statistical preference for honest communication from companies (91 percent) over product or service desirability (60 percent). Millennials are not the only skeptical group: a 2014 Gallup survey of American adults showed that only 10 percent of respondents felt that advertising ethics were high. It's no longer good enough to have the catchiest slogan or best advertising strategy without trustworthiness as part of the package.

Not only are customers more trust-focused than ever, but they also have the ability to spot hard-sell marketing and social media content. They are spam savvy and suspicious of one-directional sales pitches. They are looking for more than just contributing to your bottom line. Instead, they respond to corporate purpose and integrity, and a sense of mutual benefit that arises when businesses protect their customers in areas such as safety and privacy.

In addition to product or service expertise, transparency, customer service and consistency are all qualities that demonstrate authenticity. Customer success results from focusing on these elements.

Know your product or service better than your competitors, continue research and development, and share this expertise with your clients and channel partners. Be honest about mistakes and make an effort to make amends; above-average service efforts are not lost on customers.

Organize and track your business operations to provide for consistency of service: if your customers know what to expect and you deliver, they'll trust you even more and will recommend you to others. Develop a channel support strategy that clearly delineates the expectations and responsibilities of all departments involved. If your content is solid, your channel cohesive and your service is consistent, you will have a product to market that is rooted in credibility.

Channel marketing cohesiveness is an important part of building brand credibility. Make sure everyone is on the same wavelength with the same priorities, and that a consistent message is sent. Build a culture of channel partner communication and accept input from all parties. Conduct training for channel partners that supports product expertise and fosters an understanding of the target market. Unified channel marketing increases the legitimacy that makes your business a preferred customer choice.
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