Marketing is a delicate balance between being authentic, human, and empathic, and getting your brand messages across. If you make too hard a sell, customers won’t trust you and will feel you don’t have the best interests at heart, only their own bottom line. If you are too fluffy and friendly, you’ll never get in those crucial calls to action that convert leads into customers.

Fortunately you are surrounded by marketing mentors at the gym, in your car, while you’re doing the dishes, and even when you’re out dancing at a hip club with friends, even though you might not know it. The music industry’s biggest pop stars provide some of the best marketing advice out there, if you know what to listen for. Stars like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, JLo, and Justin Timberlake all have something in common — they drive album sales and fandom by strategically inviting listeners into their private world.

Katy Perry may be known for her colorful Candyland costumes and brightly colored hair, but her most successful album, Teenage Dream, featured many songs that felt deeply personal and referenced her divorce from comedian Russell Brand, as has her latest album Prism. Taylor Swift has built her career penning pop hits about her exes, each one infused with her real romantic experiences and heartaches. Beyonce is one of the most private superstars in pop, but she knows when to drop a hint of something really real into her usual mix of girlpower anthems.

What these pop stars have in common is that despite their slick image, smooth dance moves, and catchy hooks, they also get real with their fans and invite them into their offstage lives. JLo fans know her as Jenny from the Block, from a single by the same name where she sings “Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got/ I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block/ Used to have a little, now I have a lot. No matter where I go, I know where I came from (South-Side Bronx!)”

Anyone who was around in 2002 probably couldn’t avoid hearing Justin Timberlake’s track “Cry Me a River,” which was largely inspired by his very public breakup from fellow pop-star Britney Spears. Britney and Beyonce both got fans excited with extra intimate albums this year, Beyonce alluding to a miscarriage before the birth of daughter Blue Ivy and tense moments in her marriage to Jay Z.

Whether it’s pouring emotions from real-life experiences into their music or reminding listeners that they come from humble beginnings, these personal moments give pop stars the authenticity they need in an industry that can sometimes feel fake. Even pop stars need to get real sometimes to maintain a true connection with their fans. Your brand is just the same! Instead of talking only about your products and goals and making that hard sell, think about what you have in common with your customers as part of your Chattanooga TN marketing strategy.

Think about what their lives are like, and how your company is similar. What makes your brand down to earth? For example, did you bootstrap your company from the ground up? Did you start with $100 in your pocket and build your business from there? Were you inspired to develop a product for busy mothers because you too had struggles as a parent? Your customers will bond with your brand when they understand what inspires you.

The reason customers will buy from you and become fans of your brand are the same reasons fans buy pop albums. Taylor Swift have been through breakups, too. JLo and Jay Z fans are loyal partly because they dream of going from an ordinary life to an extraordinary one. Beyonce inspires women to be more and do more and love themselves while doing it. If pop stars can make you and me aspire to be great, your brand can inspire your customers, too. Good marketing is simply a matter of relating to your customers, and knowing when to get real. Put on your favorite pop CD, and start brainstorming for your business!

Written by Jackie Errico