Building marketing trust is not easy. Trust in marketing and advertising is currently experiencing a considerable dip. It’s no surprise. We have experienced the fake news debacle. We now know our digital exhaust is being scrutinised and monetised. Our social media profiles are being bombarded by people who want to sell, sell, sell. However, this is not what people hoped for when they first saw the potential of the Internet. Therefore that’s why we must work hard to build marketing trust again.
Where is the benefit to the consumer of all this marketing?
Also data has enabled surveillance capitalism. This is where all digital text we produce is utilised to serve business ends. We see no benefit unless you count being served up relevant ads as a benefit. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing advertising follows us, prods us and generally behaves like an annoying fly. So why even bother to build marketing trust for your business?
Trust cannot be bought
Yet, trust happens when you demonstrate tangibly that you can be relied upon to do what you promise, to be where you say you’ll be and deliver every single time. Keith Weed, Unilever’s Marketing Chief and Advertising Association President was scathing when he made his leaving speech. He is certain that marketing has incredible potential for good but right now marketing trust is a considerable issue for brands. The time to deal with it is right now.
Is marketing trust really over?
The Advertising Association has just published a report called: ‘Arresting the decline of public trust in UK advertising’. Not only does is suggest that marketing practices and advertising in general is an issue for the consumer it demands action. For example in the late 20th Century generally people were 50% favourable towards advertising. This has now dropped by 25%. That’s pretty dramatic. When you consider the advertising industry now has a trust level of 37% that even beats energy, telecoms and banking. It’s been quite some fall from grace therefore marketing trust is being lost.h
Is ever declining trust in marketing activities inevitable?
Anyone who has read Shishona Zuboff’s amazing book ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’ will understand that marketing trust is going to be a hard fought battle ground to regain any territory. Why would anyone want to sign up to any claim when they know their data will probably be used cynically? After all the wealth and power is not being accumulated by the consumer. It rests in the hands of those working in ‘behavioural futures markets’.
Behavioural futures markets – don’t start me!
This is where predictions about our human behaviours are bought and sold. Do we benefit? Only in as much as platforms are “free” to use. Yet what is happening is that extreme concentrations of knowledge are being held by the few and up until now there has been very little democratic oversight. Tech companies feel the law moves too slowly and it simply holds them back. However, is that a reason to run rough shod over democratic principles? Does that help to build marketing trust? It seems that unless there is a significant trade off for this data collection then marketing and trust will be an oxymoron; they won’t belong together.
Is data collection the only reason trust in marketing is declining?
In general what happens to our data is rarely uppermost in most people’s minds, although it probably should be. But that aside, marketers have been lazy and rarely thought about the impact of their aggressive behaviours. For example think about how ‘influencer advertising’ has been skewed to suit brands. Initially “real people’ took to YouTube or Instagram to show people the truth behind various products. Companies soon sniffed out an opportunity and hijacked these channels. Wouldn’t you be loathe to bite the hand that feeds if you were being sponsored to promote various products? References to these ‘sponsorships’ were ignored or simply referred to briefly. How can we trust those influencers when they are paid advocates? It makes no sense and is a real pity.
So what are the 7 deadly sins of advertising and marketing that erode trust?
Poor quality of advertising and marketing
Influencer marketing hijacking
Underhand activities that includes online fraud
Disinformation formerly known as fake news
Hyper personalisation that becomes annoying
Excess bombardment of messaging
Are we surprised that consumers don’t trust marketing?
Think about unhealthy advertising and marketing. Most of the time you feel like a walking target. After all, unpredictable behaviour is equivalent to lost revenue for brands. Bearing in mind we are now living in an ‘always on’ world it’s hard to escape marketing messages and that really doesn’t promote trust.
Who wants intrusive messaging?
Who wants push notifications? It might well have been interesting initially but it feels like I’m not only getting junk mail on my door but it’s littering up the rest of my digital life.
Trust should not be undervalued as once it’s lost, it’s lost.
Unhealthy advertising can also have profound effects on vulnerable groups and sensitive sections of society. Anyone watching afternoon TV will be bombarded with horrific images of maltreated dogs, cats, bears, monkeys and children drinking unhealthy water. It’s all so intrusive and almost desensitizes us. If these are the usual tactics marketers are using as integral parts of their strategies then it is obvious that some pretty fundamental issues are chipping away at out trust in marketing. Keith Weed went on to say that “A brand without trust is a product, and advertising without trust is just noise. Trust is the key thing we need to engage with.
It is interesting to see that the impact of Google’s broad core algorithm change update last year has impacted on marketing trust. For example one company were forced to work hard to increase their organic traffic after the algorithm change. This was partly achieved by actually establishing the blog as a ‘go to’ reliable source. Too often blogs have been cobbled together for the sake of publishing something. An informative and highly engaging blog written by knowledgeable and creative writers will answer the true intent of users straight away, No one wants to be conned by clickbait. That’s hardly a positive way to increase marketing trust. So do what you say on the tin and put your users front, left and centre.
Have you checked your landing pages recently? They are often examples of bad practice where marketing messages can be extraordinarily aggressive. Writers use the same keywords repeatedly and Google sees this as duplicate content. Also the content quality is all about sales and can be poorly constructed and designed. It’s much easier in this type of instance to merge pages and also make them more informative. Basically if you improve the overall content people will actually gain something from them.
Be open, promote trust in your marketing
Landing pages – don’t ignore them.
Things happen there you forget about in the heat of the promotional moment! Notwithstanding, another beneficial thing to do is to work on your About Us and Contact pages. These are powerful ways to improve trust in your marketing efforts. Secondly, be open, be comprehensive and most of all be welcoming. Thirdly, make sure everyone knows how to complain or the very best way to contact you when they need help. Put up third party reviews and embrace the bad ones as well as the good. What you do to pacify a complaint is as important than the customer service you do on a day-to-day basis. Everyone makes mistakes, things do go wrong but do you pride yourself on after care service? Can you be trusted to always deliver no matter what? Ask these questions of yourself and your business.
Don’t forget the signals your meta data gives out
To conclude you can also increase the trustworthiness of your brand by actually turning down your meta data. Don’t be aggressive with tag content like ‘ Get your hands on £1000+ today! This is “in yer face’ and is not promoting trustworthiness. If you write ‘trusted by dog owners in Doncaster’ it has a different message. If you emphasise your trustworthiness and follow through this is a mark of good business practice.
The best step is to hire a knowledgeable, experience and creative content writer and marketer
Finally, if you want to build marketing trust for your business you need to think about your potential customer first. Then produce content that will allow them to find answers. When they trust you they are more likely to do business with you. Finding a great content writer that understands the algorithm changes, SEO and communication with customers will also lend considerable weight and credibility to your marketing efforts. Contact us today for top quality content and consultancy that inspires trust.