Why Trust Not Data Has Become The Most Important Asset In Modern Marketing

By Aqilliz  

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Why Trust Not Data Has Become The Most Important Asset in Modern Marketing

We can’t deny that data has changed the marketing landscape in fundamental ways. Social media platforms, mobile apps, cloud computing, machine learning, and countless other technologies today rely on the use and flow of data. Collectively, all of these new tools are opening new doors and allowing marketers to reach, target, and influence more potential customers than ever before.

At the same time, however, the threats caused by cyber-attacks and data theft are growing in scale and sophistication, estimated to cost the world up to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Beyond its immediate economic repercussions, cybersecurity breaches can result in significant damages to brand reputation and the erosion of consumer trust — arguably the most valuable asset in modern marketing.

Furthermore, amidst a raging epidemic of misinformation, protecting brands against the erosion of consumer trust will only grow more challenging as the scope of digital transformation extends in the growing data economy.

The oil of the digital economy

Marketers have historically created campaigns and messages with little evidence to justify the potential cost versus the effectiveness of the strategy. Instead, they mostly relied on their past experiences and intuition. Today, big data and analytics allow marketers to take a lot of the guesswork out of their jobs, enabling them to apply math, numbers and evidence into strategies that have previously been subjectively analysed.

While it’s true that data powers much of the technology we use today, it is still primarily a means to an end. Raw data isn’t valuable in and of itself, but rather, the value is created when it is connected to other relevant data points to form a pattern. When used appropriately, data quickly becomes an effective decision-making tool, allowing brands to understand their consumers’ pain points and unmet needs, and to be more proactive and intentional in their marketing efforts.

However, given the recent history of high-profile data breaches, consumers today are increasingly suspicious of where and how their data is used, and about what they’re really getting in return. But there’s still hope for marketers and brands to turn things around.

A growing data trust crisis

With the media narrative focused on the misuse of customer data and the ugly side of data tracking, it’s no surprise that we’ve found ourselves amidst a growing data trust crisis. Building trust has always been a fundamental imperative for any business, and in a privacy-conscious world, data trust has become the new covenant between consumers and brands; no longer just concerned about the quality and functionality of their products, brands now have an obligation to prove that they are collecting and using customer data in a way that’s valuable to them — wisely, securely, sensitively, and ethically.

Modern consumers expect brands to keep their data safe and have their best interests at heart. With the increasing call to treat data with more dignity, brands need to learn to toe the line between personalisation and privacy to safeguard the trust that consumers have placed in them. Beyond that, companies must prioritise cybersecurity and treat consumer data like any other valuable asset — this includes investing in future-proof compliance solutions, enhancing data security measures, as well as developing standardised procedures for data collection and governance.

According to a survey by McKinsey, 87 percent of consumers indicated that they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices, and 71 percent said they would stop doing business with a company if it gave away sensitive data without permission. With such high stakes, the way companies handle consumer data can become a point of differentiation, and even a competitive advantage.

Turning trust into opportunity

Every good brand knows that consumer trust and loyalty can’t be bought or won through snazzy marketing. It’s something that’s earned — and every interaction is an opportunity. While it’s relatively simple to win sales through attractive promotions or rewards, getting a consumer to truly believe and get behind your brand requires a deeper and more genuine connection. Earning, building, and maintaining trust is exactly what brands and marketers need to focus on in order to turn one-time consumers into loyal brand ambassadors.

Consumers are already aware that too many companies have benefitted from leveraging their personal data while hiding behind the opaque convenience of the internet economy. Being transparent and showing consumers how sharing their data helps to improve services and experiences adds credibility to your brand and encourages loyalty. When customers trust your brand and your products, they’ll in turn willingly exchange more of their data with you. Demonstrating a clear link between the data they share and the direct benefits this provides them is critical to building data trust, and in the long run, the most transparent players will win.

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