Photo by Geoff Stearns
Do your market your business transparently or opaquely? A totally transparent business tells their customers where they get their raw materials, how they process them, their internal core values, and a clear statement of how they make money. Alternatively, an opaque business keeps secrets from their customers – their recipe, their innovation process, their markups, etc. How should you market your business?
It all comes down to your marketing story. If you want to charge your prospective customers a premium for working with you (special services, special customization, exclusive offers) – you’re better off marketing opaquely – since you’re trying to set your business off from the competition. You want to show your company has a secret “edge” that they cannot find elsewhere and can’t be duplicated. Such exclusivity is all about perception – making your customers feels special for having chosen to work with you. Examples of companies that market opaquely include: Coca Cola (their secret formula), supermarkets (where the food comes from is their secret – or you need to trust their labeling), and Apple Inc. (technological and aesthetic innovations are kept highly secret until unveiling).
If instead you wish to showcase your values (how much your company cares about something), market yourself transparently. Show how every step of your product or service offerings is imbued with lots of forethought. Tell why each step matters to your company (and by extension, to your customers). Share your wins and losses to showcase your “humanity” – to show that your company is a natural branding of your clients’ lives. Examples of transparent marketing include: farm tours (meet who grows your food and see them do it), Zappos (fanatic sharing/support about shoes), and LEED certification (for new construction – details all the steps necessary to build an energy-efficient home).
Opaque business marketing isn’t better than transparent business marketing (and vice versa). But ensure you pick the right type of marketing to appeal to your prospects to have them quickly trust your message.