Why Top Brands Win with Transparency
“You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. People, once unfooled, talk about the experience.” — Seth Godin
Consumers Choose Companies They Trust
Although often overlooked, companies with top-notch marketing emphasize privacy and transparency. Tech giants such as Apple and Google are in part so successful because of the trust built within their enormous user base. This trust spans from believing in their product to trusting the company with their private data.
Inversely, Facebook has experienced a sharp decline in public perception because of how the company has handled personal data—along with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In turn, dwindling trust in Facebook has led to a decrease in growth.
In this blog, I’ll cover the steps for building consumer trust and get insights on how to optimize marketing in the Age of Privacy.
Transparency as a Strategy
“95% of people surveyed wanted companies to give options to opt out of certain types of information collected about them, how it can be used and/or what can be shared with others” —Consumer Policy Research Center
Companies have an obligation to their users to be transparent in how they operate and use personal data. For marketers, this means informing your potential customers on how you handle their data—and why you’re reaching out to them.
Part of the reason that Facebook has experienced a recent decline is that users were completely unaware of their business model. The sale of data was a driving factor for Facebook’s revenue and included sharing information with hundreds of third parties. After users discovered how their data was used, many expressed outrage and fled Facebook.
Companies who hope to be successful in the long term must be open and transparent with their customers about how their data is both used and shared.
According to a study by Label Insight, 94% of consumers surveyed indicated that they were more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency, while seventy-three percent said they were willing to pay more for a product that provides complete transparency.
Due to recent data scandals, data privacy regulation, and changing privacy policies, users are more conscious of how their personal data is collected and shared. Word-of-mouth and online reviews through sites, such as Yelp, G2 Crowd, and Glassdoor, leave a lasting impact on the marketing efforts of any company. As a business, it’s crucial to understand that consumers trust each other more than companies. Instances of mishandling privacy of any magnitude prove detrimental to any business—regardless of size.
The GDPR, CCPA, and What Marketers Must Consider
Effective as of May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects every resident of the EU and has a profound impact on how companies worldwide record and manage data. Marketing teams specifically are affected by how the law views and handles consent, targeted advertising, and data use.
When marketing, businesses must obtain consent from the user by having them opt into specific communication. Additionally, users have the option to request access to their data or have it deleted by the company at any time. Although this only applies to EU residents currently, other governments—such as California and Brazil—are already drafting and passing legislation that would impose similar requirements.
It’s important to keep in mind that the GDPR and CCPA are not just advertising-centric. They’re about general data protection, focusing on giving consumers greater control and privacy in terms of their own personal data. This forces companies to have a more customer-centric model. Marketers who want to succeed can do so by embracing data privacy and transparency to provide their potential customers with the best experience.
Steps for Building Consumer Trust and Brand
For marketing and sales emails, include options to manage preferences or opt-out of communications. This allows users to control how they’re being contacted. Offering users more options for communication strengthens the relationship between marketer and consumer, and leads to higher engagement. Instead of acquiring large lists of users to contact, consider building segmented, high-quality groups that can be reached through targeted marketing.
Conduct market research and use analytics platforms to determine the types of users that have a high conversion rate. Find out which users are more likely to disregard emails or unsubscribe from communication. You can rule these out before finalizing your list of potential customers. When marketing to smaller, well-defined groups, users will be more likely to engage with content and be open to receiving more information from your business.
After determining the segmented user bases, the next step is to employ marketing strategies that lead to engagement and new customers. Important tactics include a consistent standard and design, speaking to customers in an authentic human voice, and specifically addressing the problem that you solve for the customer.
With consumers connected through the internet worldwide, one review can influence hundreds of potential customers. Branding your business as one that can be trusted—both in terms of privacy and quality of service—is essential. G2 Crowd is a great example of a platform for users and businesses to gauge the authenticity and trustworthiness of a seller.
Why Transparency Translates into Successful Marketing
Successful marketing is much more than the number of impressions, clicks, or time spent on site. It’s about making informed decisions that drive results. Every marketing team should focus on building a quality audience and providing them with the resources and capabilities needed to maintain privacy. It is essential for developing a strong relationship with users.
With a customer-first and privacy safe stance, your customers will feel more inclined to recommend your product or service while also building your company as a trustworthy brand. Any company can put money into advertisements and well-written marketing; only the most forward-thinking businesses take the time to create a satisfied and privacy-aware user base that continues to drive success at the company.