In the spirit of Comic-Con, here’s a little trope that’s often recognized but not openly talked about: Research, Inc. Technically, every company has its own version of the R&D department. But when it comes to seeing it in movies, it’s usually the department that’s often shrouded in mystery (even to other employees). They’re the guys holed either underground or in their own office. Rarely do they come out and most often comments about their work are cryptic. Nobody knows what they’re doing except it is top secret and uber important at the same time.

That’s kind of frustrating when transparency and authenticity win big points in today’s marketing. These same points could make a huge difference in your lead generation campaign. Should you build this much-needed trust or are some things really just best kept secret?

Using the Mystery for Marketing Appeal

What’s the middle road for this? Perhaps it’s in the appeal of mystery. Mystery may breed mistrust but it can also breed fascination, curiosity, the very things that make up genuine interest (and high-value sales leads). Apple certainly doesn’t need to tell everyone what they’re working on to show that they’re really working on it.

Likewise, you don’t have to spill all the beans on your R&D to win the amount of trust necessary for good marketing and lead generation. What it really depends on is this:

  • Your track record – Companies like Google and Apple already have a proven track record which more than justify the investments they make into research. The unfortunate case of Facebook’s psych experiment also proves this point in its own way. (It doesn’t take much Googling to research the social network’s tumultuous relationship with privacy.) You don’t necessarily have to announce to the whole world if the whole world already knows you’re up to inventing something they’d want to buy.
  • Trust is still more important – There are situations when it’s really time to give some straight answers. McDonald’s did this long ago with the alleged pink goop scandal. You can do the same when secrecy is starting to seriously damage the trust your prospects and customers have. Take note, this still doesn’t mean you have to reveal the whole operation (just enough of it to prove you’re not doing something that would destroy the rapport).
  • Set release dates – Comic-Con itself is a popular venue for teaser materials, meaning they don’t show everything but enough to keep generating buzz about upcoming movies and TV series. This isn’t something exclusive to just the entertainment industry though. Release dates gives your target market a reason to both anticipate something while respecting your need to keep it secret.

Good marketing and guarding trade secrets don’t always have to be at odds. What matters is the trust and satisfaction of your customers. This is what really scores your marketing points.