Chapter FiveConnect with Authenticity

All brands today should be rethinking their strategy for reaching consumers, focusing less on traditional advertising and more on the complete customer experience they are offering. The megaphone marketing approach—getting your name in front of consumers and effectively shouting at them about how great you and your products are—has lost its luster. For one thing, consumers are increasingly tuning out on advertising. And, why wouldn't they? So much advertising is gimmicky, shallow, and coercive, and advertisers have generally taken a shotgun approach to reaching consumers, barraging us with poorly targeted ads that are intrusive. Technology now allows us to skip over most ads, either with our DVRs or just by looking away and spending time on our smart phones while they're on.

Meanwhile the Internet has developed into a phenomenally powerful word-of-mouth platform. Gary Vaynerchuck of Vayner Media, a social media agency, argues in his book The Thank You Economy that the Web has ushered in a new era of marketing in which consumers are empowered both to seek out more information about brands and to share their experiences with them. Word of mouth can rip around the Web in just moments, and customer reviews speak more loudly than even the most brilliant and best-targeted advertising. Vaynerchuck says that rather than acting like 19-year-old guys trying to close the deal on a first date, brands must work on building lasting relationships with ...

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