The turning of the calendar may mean a new fiscal year for many marketing organizations, but there is one constant that remains paramount for customer-centric enterprises: TLC (tender loving care) and how we demonstrate such sentiments to our prospects, customers, and donors — whomever applies.
According to its most recent survey of more than 13,400 C-suite leaders, IBM is recommending data users to pursue another approach in their efforts to build consumer trust: T-R-A, as in transparency, reciprocity, and accountability. See the IBM report, “Build Your Trust Advantage: Leadership in the Age of Data and AI Everywhere” (Opens as a PDF)
The report states:
“To satisfy the modern requirement for trust, leading organizations are adopting three basic principles as their guide: transparency, reciprocity, and accountability. Each provides assurance to customers, but is more than good marketing. These principles are the scaffolding that supports the modern enterprise, remade to propagate trust.”
In a time when trust is increasingly harder to earn — and where consumers question the data-for-value exchange — one may think to shun the data quest. But that is not the correct course of action, nor a viable option, at all. Instead, the answer is to triple up efforts — to seek out and ensure higher quality data sources, to ensure chain-of-trust on permissions and consumer controls, and to hold ourselves and data partners accountable for results.
According to IBM, enterprise leaders — “torchbearers” — have fused their data and business strategies as one. “The torchbearers defy data fears, enhancing the trust of customers.” Eighty-two percent say they use data to strengthen customer trust, compared with 43% of “aspirational” enterprise data users.
So what does T-R-A entail?
“Customers demand transparency of data associated with the products and services, and, in the case of personal data, assurances that it’s used in a fair manner and kept safe,” the report states.
And it’s not just about data used in marketing — it’s also about data regarding how products are developed and manufactured, for example, and user reviews and recommendations. Any data that informs the customer journey, and enables the brand promise, really.
“C-suite executives understand that to get access to data, they have to give something meaningful in return,” the report states. “The challenge? Organizations often don’t know what their customers would consider a fair exchange.”
That’s a fair assessment — as most consumers say they are skeptical about data-sharing benefits; particularly where privacy is concerned. So it is incumbent upon us to discover — probably using data — what truly motivates consumers’ sense of trust and value. I don’t think we do as good a job as we could as brands, and perhaps as an industry, in explaining data’s value to the consumer. Thus, we must do better.
“Accountability is synonymous with brand integrity,” the report opined. “To succeed in retaining trust while growing business or expanding into new marketers, marketers need to establish governance and policies to combat cyber risk and protect consumer trust and brand.”
To me, accountability extends beyond data security — and the lawsuits and brand erosion that may follow data breaches. Data governance is closer to the accountability mark: making sure our data supply chains are “clean,” and that they adhere to industry ethics and best practices.
Here’s Wishing You T-R-A in 2020
So I’m hoping my New Year and yours has a lot more T-R-A in the offing. If the consumers equates sharing of data with a loss of privacy, then no one wins — especially the consumer.