Transparency marketing is undeniably genius. I was only really made aware of it recently when on the receiving end of Buffer's transparency marketing efforts.
What is it? Well, I couldn't find a definition of it online, but my understanding of it is:
'A strategic approach to marketing whereby a company makes their practices, policies, and strategies publicly available to all' .
Taking the example of Buffer, they openly disclose on their website:
- A real-time view of their revenue, churn, userbase
- Employees' salaries and their equity package
- Details of their fundraising rounds and valuations
- Pricing breakdown (i.e. where the customers' money goes)
- Product development roadmap
- Employee diversity data
...and they've open sourced their code. There's a whole bunch of other things too and you can check it out here.
Radical transparency is an incredible way to build trust with your audience, attract new prospects, ease recruitment and drive a huge volume of very engaged traffic to your dotcom. Quite apart from anything else, it's a good way to foster respect as a company. Most social scheduling tools are very comparable and Buffer's culture of transparency is a powerful differentiator in their market.
Of course, the most obvious risk with this degree of transparency is divulging key information to your competition. Neil Patel's angle on this is quite refreshing: "It’s just a matter of time before your competition knows what you already know. So why not just put it all out there and gain traffic and revenue from it?"
Buffer really pioneered “transparency marketing”. It started when they began sharing a look behind the scenes into their revenue. Since then, they’ve shared just about everything else including employee salaries, their pitch deck/valuation information, and even where your money goes as a customer. I asked Joel Gascoigne, Co-founder of Buffer, about why they provide this level of transparency: