Transparency in Marketing

Sometimes I think there is a secret internet/marketing code that I missed.

Recently a notice about a fabulous trip arrived in my in-box. The email didn’t include prices, so I followed the link to the website where I had to hunt for the price. I finally found it on the Register tab.

I don’t think the intention was to hide the price, but it definitely wasn’t  transparent. The price was on a scrolling window that had a ‘busy’ graphic image behind it. The price wasn’t in larger type, bolded or in any way distinguished.

I see so many web sites that are poorly designed – I’m not talking about the appearance, but how the information is presented. It is one of the reasons I started my own web design company: Hummingbird Webworks ( if you want to check it out!)

In ‘marketing 101’ we are told to sell products and services based on their features, but I can’t remember ever hearing “make your prospective work to find the price”, or any other important information. There is a book on this subject called “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. That captures it – well, it isn’t that I don’t want to think, but more the feeling that it is a game.

My cat thinks if she can’t see me she is invisible – so when she knows she’s been naughty she closes her eyes. It feels kind of like that. We are a society that has baggage around money, when really, it is just an exchange of energy: I want to know about the terms of the exchange of energy up front and I wonder about the reasoning of burying the sales information deep within the website, or making someone click on a “Register Now” button to figure out what the cost is.

On the other hand I’m wary of promoters who claim too loudly about being transparent: if they truly were, would they have to make it their main selling feature? A transparent offer is obvious by the way the information and the offer is presented.

I do have to wonder about this trend and who thought it was a good idea. Is it deliberate or just poor planning? Personally I just find it irritating. How about you?

© Deborah Redfern 2012. All rights reserved.