Adapting marketing strategies for post-pandemic reality: The need for authenticity


We learned to wear masks during the pandemic, safeguarding ourselves and each other from a physical threat. Now it’s time to shed a different kind of mask: the one we wear over our emotions. While the COVID mask protects us from the outside world, the emotional mask holds us back from truly thriving within it.

Just as taking off the physical mask allows us to breathe freely, taking off the emotional mask allows us to experience life authentically. It exposes our anxieties and unveils our passions, desires and the connections we crave. 

Finding out what truly matters

It is essential to acknowledge the lingering anxieties from the pandemic; they’re reminders of what matters. The pandemic cracked open our world, exposing inequalities and the limitations of our systems. Millions are gone, and their absence weighs heavily. But in that pain, we rediscovered what truly matters: health, loved ones and the planet, along with compassion, adaptability and community.

The pandemic forced us to adapt, revealing cracks in our systems and sparking a yearning for a better future. Yet, pursuing “true fulfillment” in marketing feels hollow when we chase fleeting. Let’s be honest. The current landscape is littered with empty promises and manipulative tactics, now more than ever, leaving audiences drowning in information overload and craving genuine value, transparency and trustworthy brands.

Rewriting marketing’s narrative

Marketing’s tired narrative is out. In its place, let’s rewrite it with authenticity, collaboration and impact so we can: 

  • Go beyond fleeting and forgettable campaigns.
  • Solve problems, not just promote.
  • Break silos and build connections.
  • Share your purpose, not just features.
  • Embrace transparency, sharing values and even challenges to build trust.

The key to deeper connections in marketing and personal interactions lies within ourselves. True resonance requires authenticity, which starts with understanding our values and motivations. This “emotional intelligence” isn’t just a career perk — it’s the key to a fulfilling life and impactful marketing.

Dig deeper: 3 steps to an authentic brand: Identity, intention and implementation

The power of purpose and passion

Meet Ali Rayfield and TJ Bennett — like many professionals in marketing and advertising, despite being top performers in their fields, both felt unfulfilled because they experienced much of what is described above firsthand.

As the revenue officer for a software startup, Rayfield wanted to overcome her imposter syndrome and lead in a way that felt authentic to her. Meanwhile, Bennett, a creative director and son of a coach, made a conscious decision to shift from working as a creative director on fleeting campaigns to building his coaching practice. 

Rayfield and Bennett were among my first clients at my firm five years ago. They both had similar desires: to live purposefully by aligning their lives and careers with causes they care about and connecting their emotions and clients to foster growth. 

Initially, they felt unfulfilled and appreciated the structure and benefits of established companies. However, through introspection, they discovered the missing piece: a deep connection to themselves, their clients and to causes they truly care about.

Today, Rayfield and Bennett have diversified careers aligned with their skills and interests based on mutual respect. Rayfield and Bennett’s journeys exemplify the power of aligning purpose with passion. It’s about feeling fulfilled and ownership in the very pursuit of it. 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, intrapreneur or side hustler, your future story awaits. Unleash your strengths, tackle weaknesses and grab hold of opportunities just like Rayfield, Bennett and I did. 

But remember, fulfillment craves purpose. Embrace your values and be your authentic self. Craft a life that inspires others, reflects your voice and leaves a legacy. I’ve realized that fulfilling work and meaningful connections go hand in hand. For example: 

Personal Fulfillment Marketing Connection
Aligning oneself with causes they care about Focusing on long-term impact and shared responsibility Personal fulfillment can lead to a more purpose-driven approach to marketing, where marketers are more invested in creating campaigns that have a positive impact on the world.
Deep connection with clients and causes Building trust and transparency with customers When marketers are genuinely connected to their clients and the causes they care about, it shows in their work. They are more likely to be transparent about their practices and build trust with their customers.
Emotional understanding and authenticity Delivering value and creating meaningful connections When marketers understand their own emotions and those of their clients, they can create more emotionally resonant campaigns that connect with people on a deeper level.
Living purposefully and building a meaningful legacy Creating a marketing legacy that is positive and impactful When marketers are focused on living purposefully and building a meaningful legacy, they are more likely to create marketing that is not only effective but also ethical and responsible.

Dig deeper: Why being purpose-driven goes hand-in-hand with being profit-driven and resilient

Embracing vulnerability unlocks understanding

Embracing vulnerability unlocks self-understanding and a deeper connection with yourself, your family and friends, your employer and the world. Think of Bennett and Rayfield — they aren’t passengers on someone else’s ship. They know their values, make choices and engage with the world with authenticity and respect. You, too, can do the same. 

The real triumph lies not in rigid plans but in embracing the open field of possibilities. Curiosity, candor and collaboration are my values and my compass. They are the filters I use to make all decisions in my personal and professional life. The question is, what is your internal compass?

Dig deeper: From friction to flow: A marketer’s secret productivity engine

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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