Every marketer today knows content is king. Content that is comprehensive and honest must be acknowledged and shared if a company truly wants to be a leader in its industry. Today, it is not about being everything to everyone, but being the opinion leader serving a specific market that expands the globe. It is easier than it appears, with the obvious opportunities the Web offers.
Yet there are still members of the marketing community in key positions, often the boss, who just do not get it. What follows are three key reasons why it is a very bad idea for companies to conceal information hoping customers on the margin, people who may or may not buy, will purchase in their favor. Such a mindset today kills opportunity, drives down retention, and in the long run, will set a company back to the point of failure.
Reason 1: It is in fact the Age of Knowledge
Today is not the Information Age as stated so often, it is the Age of Knowledge. Even the most aimless of web surfers know that with an ounce of dedication and time, information can be found on the internet. And with some dedication, knowledge can be gleaned from the web. Maybe not on the topic of how to perform brain surgery, but for buying decisions there is a direct means to an end.
Therefore, business leaders that horde information believing it gives them an edge over the not-so-savvy business partner will eventually self destruct. Such people are stuck in the mindset of; why not just give the information that favors a product or service, tell the story, and ask for the sale?
The answer is we no longer exist in the Information Age. We now live in the Age of Knowledge. There is so much information coupled with so many recommendations from people’s personal and business relationships readily available through social media tools like Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn, what was simply information a short time ago has become knowledge. Knowledge generated from a cumulative validation of information derived from trusted sources.
Reason 2: As this is the Age of Knowledge, there are no secrets
Consumers more and more are becoming savvy buyers, finding the right price for the product they want online. Yet in a B2B environment, it is value that is held in the highest esteem. In such an environment, price is of course an important part of the buying decision, yet more important is the right product or service that will fit a company’s specific and needs. In other words, it has to be the right fit, tested and approved by those considered the authority by the buyer.
Therefore, there are no secrets. Consumers can, more and more every year, know which niche product fits their application and needs. If a company is not seen as the authority and source for all such relevant knowledge, neither will their products.
In the Information Age, one could simply feed the selected information to drive the customer to the desired buying decision, but not today.
Reason 3: Customers who have not evolved into the Age of Knowledge will not survive
Are there consumers in the business world who will buy even if a seller’s brand is not associated with being the authority? Yes. Yet more and more every year information and validation, i.e. knowledge, is becoming a commodity.
So the modern Age of Knowledge is here, embrace it. Share relevant information. If divulging information could hurt a company that is truly on the cutting edge in the short run, they must immediately commit to solving the problem and include that in the information shared to survive in the long run. By doing so, a company will prove it can identify gaps, bridge them, and illustrate honesty, integrity and a true commitment to being a leader.
In fact, as companies embark upon the modern Age of Knowledge their core customers already know which problems exist. A company that acknowledges this and acts accordingly will build trust, loyalty, and admiration. In other words, they will create an army of brand evangelist, the greatest achievement a marketer can earn.