Transparency in marketing and the marketplace is an increasingly popular subject for those trying to attract consumers. The challenge is accurately identifying it. While some will say transparency in marketing is just being honest and operating with integrity, that may be a bit too simple. After all, you may not have much success in selling a home by saying it is cramped or marketing a car by stating it gets horrible fuel mileage even if it is accurate.
Today’s more sophisticated consumers have more and easier access to information about you and your competitors. They expect a certain amount of transparency with the products and services it uses. Here are some of the reasons transparency is important for your marketplace.
Transparency Builds Trust.
Trust is an incredibly valuable commodity in building a brand and a customer base. People will go out of their way in acquiring a product or service they trust and often will pay more. While brands can certainly be crafted, it takes a certain amount of integrity and honesty to build trust with consumers. For the most part, it can be as simple as consistently meeting expectations. Occasionally, it means positively surprising them.
When you build trust, your words have more value. Even if you make a misstep, consumers are more forgiving with a company they can rely upon and has served them well in the past.
It Allows You To Better Control The Narrative.
When you are working to achieve transparency in an organization, you have more credibility in controlling the narrative about your company. This is crucial at a time when bad experiences are immediately shared digitally. The more upfront you are about your pricing and policies, the less opportunity there is for misunderstandings and negative feedback. Being clear in your marketing is a critical part of developing transparency for your marketplace.
Transparency Is A Competitive Advantage.
When you improve transparency in your marketing, it gives you an advantage over less transparent competitors. This advantage may not seem immediately apparent but companies who operate transparently are building relationships. This creates loyalty and can generate referrals.
It Develops Fans An Improves Reviews.
One of the nice benefits of transparency is that you can develop more “fans” of your company who will help spread the word for you. This is often done through positive online reviews. In some circumstances, your fans can turn into advocates, defending your image against any negative reviews. It is nice to build an army of fans to defend your brand.
Instilling Transparency In Your Organization.
With transparency apparently so valuable, how is it instilled?
Like many aspects of marketing, transparency can be hard to “force” into place. Transparency should be organic and developed from a genuine desire to build better relationships with your customers. It can start by enhancing the consumer experience through every step of a transaction with your organization.
- Make a Commitment for more Honesty in your Marketing. There’s nothing wrong with making your product or service attractive and painting it in the most positive light. That is as long as it is done with integrity. Hiding coupon details in tiny print on the reverse side does not demonstrate transparency. Stating that you are offering “Free Shipping with a $50 Purchase” prominently does. Don’t mislead consumers to “get them in the door”. It has a temporary effect that you will just have to keep doing again and again. Focus on building customers not traffic.
- Resolve Negative Issues Promptly. Rather than choosing to ignore any negative feedback, seek to resolve it. At the very least, negative feedback should be acknowledged. A part of transparency is a willingness to admit mistakes and to correct them. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go over the top with a “customer is always right” attitude but their opinions and feedback are usually always valuable.
- Develop Consistency. Your customers should only be surprised with a positive like a free gift or quicker shipping. This is accomplished by providing exceptional products and services time after time.
- Request Feedback. One of the easiest, most unobtrusive ways to build transparency is to ask for feedback and implement suggestions. Let your customers know you value their feedback and are responsive to them.
Consumers desire more transparency with the companies they do business with. It is up to those who can benefit most to provide it.