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Authority marketing: the best route to the customers' hearts (and wallets)

Auctoritas - the original Latin word for "authority", means "the right to exercise power given by the State (in the form of government, judges, police officers, etc.), or by academic knowledge of an area (someone that can be an authority on a subject)".

I am focusing on the second meaning of the word as applied to marketing. The concept of authority has relevance to brands and it can help them unlock incredible value in the marketplace.

Authority is associated with expertise, pragmatic solutions and market leadership. The person who is deemed an expert attracts the attention of customers. If you have a sore tooth you go to a dentist because s/he has authority on teeth problems. Similarly, if you want a great burger you go to McDonald's. If the drainage blocks, who do you call? Definitely not the ghost busters! Get the idea?

Authority marketing: the best route to the customers' hearts (and wallets)
© langstrup via 123RF

According to Bob Choat, authority figures exert so much influence in our lives and we turn to them for guidance and answers:

    "From the President of the United States to medical doctors, authority figures have a profound effect on the minds of people. We’ve been programmed from early in human history to “look up to people we perceive to have authority”. People may even do things because someone of authority said to do it. Even hurting other people. This happened in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. It still happens today."

This is a very important insight, especially the fact that we always "look up to people we perceive to have authority". Can this be said of you? If people search online for a service or product that you provide and come across your digital assets, will they regard you as an authority, convert and become your customers?

Whatever you do, just remember that you must build your digital assets and messaging to demonstrate your authority. This is imperative because without authority you cannot influence the customers' mindsets and by association, their purchase decisions! Welcome to the world of authority marketing! It revolves around a simple formula: authority = conversion.

    “The simple truth is, if you aren’t deliberately, systematically, methodically — or rapidly and dramatically — establishing yourself as a celebrity, at least to your clientele and target market, you’re asleep at the wheel, ignoring what is fueling the entire economy around you, neglecting development of a measurably valuable asset.” observed Dan S. Kennedy, the godfather of direct marketing.

Speaking at the recent Traffic & Conversion Summit, Frank Kern made it clear why authority marketing is an awesome strategy:

    “Positioning, most importantly positioning yourself as an authority, is the single most important thing you can do to increase your perceived value to the market place.”

Authoritative brands are associated with a specific value promise and this makes customers love them.

Seeking authority is not merely pursuing vanity, especially in the digital economy that we live in. Customers have never been exposed to so many unlimited choices as they now have. They have access to all of your competitors' marketing collateral at the click of a mouse and information comes to them in milliseconds. What makes them choose one brand over another? Yes, you guessed right. It's authority. Therefore your major task is straight forward, all you are expected to do is to convince customers that you are the leading authority in your industry.

So how can you do this? John Mize, co-host of authority marketing podcast Authority Alchemy, recommends the following:

    “You begin to position yourself as an authority by consistently providing useful information to your audience — information which solves problems, offers solutions and addresses needs. Your audience finds you, in great part, simply as a result of you positioning yourself as an educator and advocate for their success."

Content marketing is the number one tactic that you should rely on in positioning yourself as an authority. It transforms your brand from being "common" into a powerhouse. You might forget everything else in this article, but you must always bear in mind that the level of belief we have of someone in authority directly influences our behaviour to that level. Authority marketing is the way to go. Make sure you position yourself as an expert and whatever you publish online should enhance this status.

I can help you position yourself as an authority. Let's chat.

About Joseph Neusu

Joseph Neusu is the founder and CEO of Sales Qualified Leads Inc, Africa's leading digital agency specialising in WhatsApp Business API marketing and conversational marketing in the Programmatic and DOOH spaces. Joseph is a top conference speaker, thought leader and trainer.

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