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Why Is Digital Marketing Still Fighting to Earn Consumer Trust?

Authors: Steve Olenski Steve Olenski
Posted Under: Digital Marketing
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why is digital marketing still fighting to earn consumer trust

Billy Joel once famously sang, “It’s always been a matter of trust.” The context in which he sang those words was a relationship between two people—a personal relationship.

But the same thing can be said to describe the relationship between a consumer and a brand: “It’s always been a matter of trust.” If trust is absent, there is no relationship. It’s that simple. And from the findings of a recent MarketingSherpa survey, it appears as if digital marketing is still sitting at the kids’ table when it comes to trust.

Traditional Marketing Firmly Entrenched

In a wide-ranging survey of 2,400 US consumers, evenly split among the various age demographics, one of the topics addressed was the issue of trust. As you can see from this chart of the survey’s findings, digital marketing is not very trustworthy in the eyes of consumers.

customer trust in marketing channels

The results are quite staggering, to say the least, with all traditional marketing materials coming in higher than any digital medium and online pop-up ads scoring dead last.

Why the Distrust of Digital Channels?

Why are consumers so distrusting of digital marketing yet view traditional marketing as being so worthy of their trust? Let’s look at the two types of marketing at their highest levels.

On one hand, there are the traditional channels—TV, radio, print, and so on—which, in most instances, are highly impersonal. The marketer doesn’t know who they are marketing to. When you broadcast a TV spot, for example, you’re never broadcasting it to one person, right?

But on the other hand there’s digital, with its cookies and IDs and all the data that’s being generated and analyzed to deliver—that’s right—a personal experience. Could it be that a great number of marketers don’t know how to use all that data? Could it be these same marketers are still batching-and-blasting, thereby delivering irrelevant marketing, thereby causing the lack of trust?

But Steve, you say, doesn’t traditional marketing essentially do the same thing? Doesn’t traditional marketing batch and blast too, to some extent?

Of course it does. The difference is that today’s consumers are savvy. They are smart. They know full well you are collecting data on them as they dance and prance along the information super highway across many a channel. And as such, they are demanding.


Cross Channel and Demanding

Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever before. They want experiences that are personalized, relevant, and consistent whether they’re interacting with your company online, in-store, or on the phone.

Today’s customers frequently interact with brands across multiple channels and devices, leaving a trail of identifiers (like email addresses, loyalty accounts, browser cookies, and mobile device IDs) littered among the various technologies that power those customer interactions.

To get a seat the trust table, marketers must use the right technology—which, by the way, is out there as we speak—to provide a 360-degree view of customers to reliably and efficiently target the right message to the right person at the right time, via any digital channel.

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