The marketing world is realizing that playing in the Web 2.0 requires understanding a new set of rules in regards to honesty and disclosure.
Now, the term transparency is far from being a new one in marketing vocabulary. It is a term that has been tossed around and used for decades.
What we are seeing in present day is that the new Social media and the communities upon which it is built are redefining how the term applies to companies AND their marketing.
In the marketing agency days of old the term was often used when referring to client:agency interactions. This usually pertained to elements of strategy, branding, positioning… and billing. Generally it was about the client, not their target market. Beyond the Agency – client dealings, the consumer only needed to know what the marketers wanted them to.
Well, times have changed.
Times Have Changed
In the new frontier of Web 2.0, social media it is the consumer who demands transparency of the companies delivering marketing messages left and right all around them.
Blogs, forums and the rapidly increasing number of newer style community sites like top dogs, FaceBook, YouTube, MySpace, Ning based sites, Flickr, Squidoo, etc, are all powered by if not run by (the site owners will be the first to admit this) the end users. These users are often intelligent, educated, tech savvy, and extremely openly opinionated.
Want to play on the 2.0 playground?
Want to be one of the businesses welcomed into their court?
You’d better be willing to be 100% forthright and transparent in your intentions and motives or at some point you will be found out. When this happens, the very same, all important social influencers that can help make you a household name can also quite adeptly lead the charge to run you right out of town.
Now, besides the risk of being found out… you also must consider one other important element of the new, social consumers.
I mentioned earlier that these folks are now intelligent, educated and often very tech savvy. On top of all of that, they are also becoming rapidly immune to may of the tried and true marketing techniques and frankly can see right through much of it even if it is completely opaque by design. Again, once this is realized by the social consumers they will at the very least tune out your marketing message all together (that is the softest least damaging reaction).
Gotta Be Willing To Lay It All Out
Think about what consumers want… a merchant who is willing to be openly honest and share everything with them (even if it means telling them that ultimately you hope they’ll buy your product) or someone employing smoke and mirrors.
The bottom line is — if you want to sell today, you have to put away the bag of tricks, put on your honesty hat and lay it all out there at the get go.
If your message is true and your motives good, there is still plenty of room at the top. Just make sure you don’t have any dirt hiding under the carpet just waiting to be discovered.
This is pretty basic stuff yet, many larger traditional marketing groups seem to have a hard time grasping it let alone embracing it.
Do you agree or do you think the same game as ever can still be played in the social web?
What Do You Think?
Onward & Upward!