Although customer data is the holy grail of relationship marketing, as consumers continuously share information about their locations, relationships and work history across a variety of channels, they are becoming increasingly concerned about data privacy. In fact, over half of US consumers worry about their information being compromised every time they login to a business website, and 29% have abandoned logging in or buying on a website due to these concerns (1&1, 2012).
This means that no matter how relevant or personalized data can make a consumer’s experience, the way a business is collecting this data has the most impact on customers’ feelings about the brand. Lack of trust is the number one inhibitor to growing authentic, connected relationships with consumers, and as marketing has evolved over time, so has consumers’ standard of trust. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, consumers cited “quality products and services” as the top standard of trust in 2006; by 2010, 83% of consumers named “transparent and honest practices” as the most important element to establishing brand trust (AdAge, 2012).
To foster consumer trust and genuine connectivity, successful brands are increasing the transparency with which they collect consumer data. For example, media giant Forbes recently implemented social login on its website, which allows users to register for the site using their existing social identities. When customers use social login, an alert appears, asking them for permission to access specific data points in their social profiles. Implementing this transparent data collection process has had a positive impact on Forbes’ relationship with its users, increasing site registrations by 100%, with 67% of users registering via social login.
Your Next Move:
Focus on your brand reputation. When attempting to answer the customer question, “what can you do for me?” put thought into how it can be done in a transparent and trustworthy way. Are you leveraging permission-based marketing? Have you thought about adding clear text to your website that informs customers what data is being collected and how it will be used? This is the first building block to establishing successful customer relationships.
By Rachel Serpa