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Why radical transparency is key



Why radical transparency is key

Why does marketing not get the focus and support it truly requires? And how can we earn more respect for marketing as a function while delivering outstanding results at the same time?

Marketing is often treated as an ancillary activity of the organization when it should be the primary activity. The lack of proper emphasis on marketing—and the incorrect precedence placed upon it—leads to unreliable growth and shortened CMO tenure.

The key to solving this problem is transparency. Marketing teams must operate more transparently, both internally and externally, to realize their full potential.

As Peter Drucker famously said, “the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” Achieving this aim requires transforming marketing from a mysterious black box into a radically transparent organizational function.

It might seem like a buzzword or an HR initiative, but transparency is the missing link to sustainable growth.

The marketing black box

Marketing has a reputation problem. Most people outside of marketing see it like a slot machine in a Vegas casino. You sit down with a bucket of quarters, feeding the machine and pulling the arm repeatedly, hoping to win big. As your budget dwindles, you become frustrated that there hasn’t been a payout in what feels like forever.

Unfortunately, this is the general view of marketing: a black box that eats money and haphazardly spits out lackluster results on an unpredictable schedule.


It doesn’t have to be this way. Marketing operations is responsible for opening the box and showing everyone what’s behind the curtains. Doing this is the only way to earn the trust and support necessary for sustainable, predictable growth.

The benefits of transparency

When marketing organizations become more transparent, they can better articulate the effort and investment required to achieve the objectives and results set before them. But transparency can also help marketing teams operate more effectively and produce better results.

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Here are five of the most impactful benefits of marketing operations adopting radical transparency:

Motivation and engagement

It may surprise you that most teams don’t know how the business performs. One study found that 75% of employees truly cared about the business performance but did not have sufficient insights to generate increased motivation and engagement. 

Marketing teams are no exception, primarily because of how often they operate in silos. Breaking down those walls and building a shared understanding of overall performance and trajectory can dramatically boost employee motivation and engagement. Creating deep engagement and aligning the teams is integral for encouraging cross-collaboration.


Marketing is an interdisciplinary function that requires the coordination and collaboration of many different people who each have unique skillsets. Including everyone in the process and sharing information openly is one of the easiest ways to facilitate cross-collaboration. A great example of transparency leading to cross-collaboration is pair programming, a practice common in the software industry.


With pair programming, two programmers with different areas of expertise share one computer and work on a single task together. There is no greater transparency than letting someone see exactly what you’re working on and how you approach it from start to finish.

Having two people do one person’s job may sound counterproductive, but it’s genius. The task gets completed faster and with fewer mistakes, thanks to the oversight of the second person. And the second person learns someone else’s area of expertise while developing a more holistic understanding of what their team is doing.

Creating radical transparency in this way can open the doors to more opportunities to cross-pollinate skills and provide a holistic perspective for your team. As marketing continues to evolve and grow with more platforms, technologies, and channels, effective collaboration among your team will be a byproduct of greater transparency.

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Improved decision making

When everyone can see and participate in decisions, the result is a better decision. Not everyone should have an equal say, or any say at all times. But making decisions clear to the team, explaining the rationale, and listening to feedback are easy ways to raise awareness and the quality of decisions.

For example, marketing teams that embrace experimentation and testing often neglect to include others in the brainstorming process of what to test. Involving other marketers, even if they lack experience with testing, can lead to better ideas and more successful tests. Additionally, leveraging insights from people outside of marketing, namely customer service or sales, can also produce significantly more powerful results.

Transparency is the gateway to better observations, insights, and decisions. Marketing teams who accept this truth and build it into their way of working will make higher quality and more profitable decisions.

Less ‘failure work’


One of the biggest wastes in marketing is duplication of efforts, rework, or missing opportunities. These can be classified as failure work — work that didn’t happen as it should have. There’s no excuse for this to happen at all, let alone regularly, and yet it continues to occur in virtually all marketing organizations. 

The cure for failure work is transparency, because as the saying goes, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” The more we can expose problems and reveal the areas where things didn’t go as they should, the more successful we can install processes to address them.

Many costly and unproductive things are happening in the dark corners of your marketing operations. Before you can fix them, you first have to find them.

More efficient spend

How much budget do you think most marketing teams waste on any given day? Without proper checks and balances—and visibility—I can guarantee you it’s a lot. 

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Creating an “open startup” dashboard is a smart move if you’re serious about improving spending and increasing performance. Companies like the email marketing platform ConvertKit have a public dashboard where you can view all of their key metrics, including their number of active customers.

This holds the team accountable and allows anyone within the organization or externally to view their real-time performance. How much closer do you think your team would pay attention to every dollar spent if their metrics were on public display for all to see? Now everyone can identify areas of waste or opportunities for improvement, and those conversations can now happen in an open environment.

This type of radical transparency can fuel the focus and accountability required for sustainable growth.


The clear path to growth

Too many marketing teams are operating as the epitome of “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” and continuing in this way is unacceptable. More importantly, too much of our marketing operations happen in the dark corners where time, budget, and effort are being wasted in various ways.

Radical transparency is a requirement for marketing operations to become more effective and reduce waste. But transparency in marketing goes beyond finding and resolving problems; it’s a requisite for reliable and sustainable growth.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Tim Parkin is a consultant, advisor, and coach to marketing executives globally. He specializes in helping marketing teams optimize performance, accelerate growth, and maximize their results.
By applying more than 20 years of experience merging behavioral psychology and technology, Tim has unlocked rapid and dramatic growth for global brands and award-winning agencies alike.

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update



Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.


The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

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Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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