The Anatomy of Authentic Marketing

Have you ever heard experts suggest you market authentically? Or use your authentic voice? Or perhaps show your Authentic Self?

What the hell does all of this even mean?

The word “authenticity” gets thrown around like some kind of marketing buzz word, which always bothered me because being authentic is not a trend that will flitter away in a few months. Furthermore, we (as marketing experts) need to do a better job explaining the connection between marketing and authenticity. I’ll be honest, though: I wasn’t really sure how to explain the connection between authenticity and marketing – at least not in terms that show the brevity of this connection.

The Anatomy of Authentic Marketing

Then I read a book by Brene’ Brown.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You are, Brene’ (yes, we are on a first-name basis) devotes a whole chapter to authenticity.

Brene’ shatters the misconception that authenticity is a quality. It’s not. It’s something we practice as humans, or as she says, “a conscious choice of how we want to live.” (page 49)

Then she defines authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” (page 50)

The definition of Authenticity by Brene' Brown

It gets better (check it out – all from page 50):

Choosing authenticity means

  • Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;
  • Exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and
  • Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.

(Honestly, I could quote from this entire chapter, but I’ll stop because I want to get to my point).

What does all of this have to do with your marketing?

Taking into consideration Brene’s definition, I believe there are three guidelines for what I call “Authentic Marketing:”

#1: Authenticity in marketing – just like in real life – is a practice.

This means two things to me: It’s a choice, and it’s something you improve upon over time. In a world where the perception of perfection is everywhere, showing your vulnerable, imperfect, “love-myself-anyways” side is scary. You’re bound to get criticism. You’re bound to feel uncomfortable.

So, you may slowly start showing authenticity in your marketing – piece by piece, little by little. That’s okay.

Think of it as a journey. You have to take that first step. Remember, it’s a practice, and you won’t nail it on your first try.

#2: Your marketing must be a reflection of you.

Have you ever written a blog post that doesn’t quite fit your personality or ideology? Or written an email campaign with words that would never come out of your mouth?

I know I have!

The reason why these marketing tactics never sat right with you is because it wasn’t a reflection of who you are.

Perhaps you implemented a marketing expert’s formula that was supposed to bring you more web traffic, or more click throughs, or more sales. (That ole “Marketing Magic” again).

Or maybe you thought your written content was supposed to sound stiff to portray a sense of professionalism on your part.

It doesn’t matter. It’s a normal part of your marketing journey. And now you’re ready to embrace this…

If you held a mirror up to your marketing, you should reflect back.

Meaning, the reflection you see in that mirror is YOU – not some marketing guru’s advice, not words you don’t mean and not some stiff formula that’s like a square peg in a round hole.

Here’s what it should look like: Words you would actually say. Your imperfections. Knowing you’re enough.

Here’s the litmus test: Before you implement, ask yourself: “Is this me?”

If yes, proceed. If no, then rework it until it is.

#3: Your marketing must be about your ideal clients.

You’re here to serve – not yourself – but those you are destined to help, right? Many Lightworkers have no problem with this concept, but here’s where the rub occurs:

If my marketing is about “them,” then why are you proposing that my marketing be authentic, which is really all about ME?

It’s a fair question. Let me break it down for you:

  • Your marketing is a Your marketing is a reflection of your Authentic Self. reflection of your Authentic Self. That means your marketing must align with you – not some disingenuous formulas or marketing tactic. If something feels out of whack with your marketing, it’s out of whack. Being authentic means you’re not afraid to change it.
  • Your marketing is a way for people to get to know you. People buy from those they trust. If you’re marketing authentically, they will get to know and trust you. This is especially helpful if you’re running an online business where you don’t have the opportunity to connect with your ideal clients face to face.
  • People need to connect with you. When they connect and feel like they are part of your tribe, you will not only have a customer for life, but a brand ambassador – someone who will rave about you to others. This is accomplished when you market with authenticity.

It drills down to this: Even when you’re talking about you, even when you’re vulnerable and authentic – it’s still all about your ideal client. It’s a bridge that happens naturally.

Authentic Marketing works

Don’t overthink Authentic Marketing. It may be hard at first. It’s scary. You may have been taught to do marketing some other way.

Deep breath.

It’s okay to feel this way. Just put one authentic foot in front of the other and take that first step.

The results you’re looking for – the perfect clients, income, a deeper sense of purpose – will naturally evolve from your marketing. You don’t have to force it when you’re marketing authentically. You’ll feel so much better about your marketing – and yourself. I promise.

Need help learning authentic marketing fundamentals?

3D_cover_gold_seal_white_backgroundGet my book, That First Client, now available on and

In this book, you will learn everything you need to know about attracting your first (or even next) client  – in an authentic way – that won’t make you feel icky. You’ll love the assignments and exercises sprinkled through the book (it makes it easier to implement what you’re learning!).

And fellow entrepreneurs love it too! Make sure to check out the reviews, including this one from Linda Joy:

“A marketing trail guide for the new purpose-driven entrepreneur! Jill’s clear, concise content and empowering exercises will help you shift your mindset around marketing so you can attract your first ideal client–and do it in a way that feels good to you!” Linda Joy, Publisher, Aspire Magazine,

Ready to get That First Client? Head over to to get your copy!

3 thoughts on “The Anatomy of Authentic Marketing

  1. Peggy

    I LOVE that you clearly defined authenticity – what it IS and what it is NOT. It most certainly isn’t a quality. And I wholeheartedly agree with Brene Brown’s definition which is very similar to the Lao Tzu quote, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

  2. Elizabeth Spevack

    Jill – I so relate. It got to the point where some of the emails I was sending out were annoying ME! And if they were annoying me, I’m sure at least some of my ideal clients were feeling that way as well.

    I took a huge step back from my business to find my passion and drive again and then decided to build my business so that it would be reflective of me – in terms of what I call myself, what stories/messages I share and how I share it.

    There are times when I know my marketing isn’t so-called ‘professional’, but it’s me, and as long as I stand by what I believe in, can look myself in the mirror and feel like I’m making a positive difference in the lives of others, that feels like pretty good marketing – and living – to me.

  3. Natasha Botkin

    As i read your lovely post my inner diva went uh oh. I am really working on being open to being vulnerable. Not easy peasy for me unless you are a student and i teach with wisdom and stories. As I write this comment as such the lightbulb that was dim seems to be brightening. Xoxo


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