The internet is full of advice for modern marketers. Countless bloggers, agencies, and industry experts flood our social media feed and inboxes with the latest marketing tips like metrics we should be tracking, and trends we should take advantage of. So, as a marketer who wants to cut through the noise and make a meaningful connection with potential customers, how do you make your brand stand out as authentic?

Your audience isn’t everyone.

Good marketing comes back to intuitive storytelling, and this needs to be inspired by an empathetic understanding of your audience. In many cases, as shared by Seth Godin, marketing guru and bestselling author at the recent Digital Summit Series Atlanta, marketing has become something we try to do to people. Instead of treating marketing channels as venues through which we can personalize our touches with customers throughout their buying journey, we try to appeal to the masses, but it just isn’t working.

Seth Godin suggests a different approach, one that might sound counterintuitive to those of us who are constantly being hassled by upper management to gain increasing clicks, engagements and conversions.  “Your job is not to reach everyone, it’s to identify the minimum viable audience. Find the smallest group that sustains you that you can also sustain.”

Let your customers be part of your story.

How does this translate practically? The first step is to have a quality product. As marketers, we shouldn’t settle for the job of figuring out how to sell something that doesn’t actually solve a problem or meet a need for the consumer. As Seth Godin puts it, “This is a revolutionary time, and we get to figure out how to make ideas that spread, and as they spread, get permission to talk to people and align them into a tribe.”

Godin also highlighted Harley Davidson as an example during his keynote. They start with a quality product: world-renowned motorcycles. Then, they craft a brand story that tells potential customers that by buying a motorcycle, they are doing something they were always meant to do. They take consumers from the outside, looking at bikes, to the inside, where they become part of the tribe of people who ride legendary Harley Davidson motorcycles. The buying journey changes from a just a transaction, to a compelling story in which the consumer is a contributing character.

Customer-centricity leads to brand advocacy.

At the end of the day, maintaining integrity in marketing and seeing solid ROI can be done by focusing on customer-centricity. Clearly defining your customer personas is key to creating an impactful marketing strategy. According to Godin, “Deep domain knowledge and passion for the tribe creates trust between marketers and customers.” In order to build brand loyalty, don’t be afraid to invest your resources deeply into people you find on the fringes. While it may feel like mass-appeal marketing is the only way to ensure your brand gets attention, focusing on the people whose problems you can uniquely solve will yield a group of customers you can trust to remain loyal and who will serve as advocates that organically expand your audience.

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