Authenticity Rule #1: Don’t Lie

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In Marketing and Social Media (“So-Me”) circles, there is a lot of talk about ‘authenticity’ in messaging. With the relatively new ability to engage our guests and customers one-on-one, authenticity is increasingly vital. Message ‘Broadcasting’ – i.e. casting the widest possible net – is no longer ideal. And in some cases, it can be downright detrimental to your business.

Today, I received an Email from a new Business-to-Business Web site, whom I won’t reward with name promotion:

This is not an authentic marketing effort.
This is not an authentic marketing effort.

When I first opened the message, I went on a quick, emotional roller coaster: “Hey, this Heather person discovered me based on my experience as a professional graphic designer and Creative Director,” I thought. About half-way through reading it, the realization, “Hey, she has no idea who I am,” followed by a deflating feeling, “Waitaminnit. this is SPAM.”

Despite her claim of being “excited to find” me and, she does not know me. “I think you’re a perfect fit!” she assured me. But this is just fake personalization; Merge-fields and Email templates, with a casual salutation (“Hey”) thrown in to suggest an existing friendship. And I felt manipulated.

How fast do you think I clicked the UNSUBSCRIBE link? This Web site lost me as a customer before they even had me.

In his brilliant second book, The Thank You Economy (pictured at right, available on, author Gary Vaynerchuk reminds us there is always a “C” in “B-to-B.” Even if you’re reaching out to a business, one must remember there is always a customer on the other end.

So how does one ensure authenticity in one’s Marketing messages?

Rule #1: Don’t Lie.