Successful companies today are those that integrate a healthy marketing/communications philosophy into the business’ DNA. Far too often, I hear people in internal discussions say things like “Well, we wouldn’t say that to our customers (or employees)…we’d use these words instead.” This kind of thinking works against transparency and is a leading indicator of things that are probably wrong with the business or product. It signals that things aren’t working the way we want them so there has to be an internal reality and then an outside story.
While customers don’t want or need to see all the nitty-gritty, giving them insight and honesty wrt product road maps, business challenges, etc can help to avoid a world of pain. If they know you’re working hard to introduce a new feature for example and you’ve given them an honest estimate of how long it might take to get there, customers will know that its on the horizon…and they’ll likely feel more connected to your business as a result. That connection can facilitate productive two-way communications and feedback. It can also activate customers as advocates for your brand.