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Transparency in marketing builds relationships of trust that can benefit your brand.

Gone are the days where people buy something just because they saw a fancy commercial on TV. Sure, that probably still happens occasionally, but it’s definitely not the status quo anymore.

With the ubiquity of the smartphones, people can literally obtain any information they need within seconds, from almost any location; they don’t even need to be sitting in front of a computer anymore. The whole universe, every ounce of human knowledge, is tucked neatly in their front pocket. So people are going to do their research.

 They’re going to compare prices to ensure that they’re getting the best possible deal.  They’re going to make sure that what you’re selling them isn’t fraudulent. That they aren’t being taken for a ride. That it isn’t a scam.

The bottom line?

People want to know exactly what it is that they are getting for their hard-earned money. They don’t want to be tricked into purchasing something. And because people generally distrust advertising anyway, everything will be read with a skeptical eye.

That’s where transparent marketing comes in.

Let’s imagine that traditional advertising puts an opaque sheet between the customer and the product. You can dress up your curtain all you want, and trick your consumer without ever showing them what they’re really getting. With transparent marketing, on the other hand, the consumer can see everything. They get a clear picture of what’s behind the curtain.

Nowadays, transparency is all the rage in content marketing. In fact, it’s actually one of the best ways to attract visitors to your site or blog and give them information that no one else is willing to. It’s bold, it’s risky, and it works. It offers immediate results including increased website traffic, a broader following of social media followers, and the value of earned trust from prospects and clients.

Today, more and more customers expect and even reward honest companies. And since people value honesty so highly, transparent brands win. Chipotle is a great example of this, recently announcing that they’ll be labeling all of the ingredients in their menu items, including much-feared genetically-modified foods. That makes them the first fast food chain in America to voluntarily display the use of GMOs.

The result?

Well, people liked it. It reinforced their brand, and resulted in precisely zero negative impact on sales. In fact, according to Chipotle’s spokesperson, being more forthcoming about their food actually engendered trust in their customers.

And when your customers trust you, they purchase more. In fact, transparent marketing is one of the best ways to generate more traffic and sales. Openness builds that relationship of trust between a brand and its customers.

Take McDonalds. They’ve struggled to overcome a reputation for being unhealthy, and while they may still be fighting it, they’ve made strides to build a bridge to health-conscious consumers by including the number of calories in their value meal listing. Yup; McDonald’s made it easier for customers to make educated choices before they order. Consumers appreciate this knowledge, and, in turn, reward McDonald’s through increased purchases.

But transparent marketing isn’t always easy. Think of it like exposing a secret about yourself; you can’t always guarantee a positive outcome.

But if you think about it, when can you ever really guarantee an outcome? Virtually never. If you simply approach your marketing from the angle that you truly have nothing to hide, it can be one of the best ways to build industry respect and brand recognition.

And who wouldn’t want that?