Trust and marketing have never really been synonymous. For many in business, marketing lurks as a necessary evil. It’s a thing we have to do, that we have to pour huge budgets into, even though the results are hard to qualify and are often questionable. Most acknowledge that solid marketing is key to business growth. However, the lack of accountability, especially in advertising has been damaging and has led to a high lack of trust in the discipline. Despite the digital revolution in marketing and the so-called analytics and accountability, trust has not improved. I would argue today, that it is far worse than ever before.
Marketing, Trust and the Statistics:
At Macrison, our approach to marketing is to define and fix the problems that exist in a business. As we offer the full suite of expertise and resources across the marketing mix, there is no bias in the solutions we recommend. Once the problems are defined, we allocate the right expertise and resources to fix the problems. We assist in growing our customers business. So under our model, we scrutinise the marketing outcomes as critically as any of our clients would. We are constantly analysing the data and reports provided by our media suppliers. We get why people do not trust marketing!
If you take a keen interest in all things marketing you will no doubt be aware of the issues surrounding digital ad fraud. If you are not familiar with it you need to get across it. I recommend following a chap called Bob Hoffman or the Ad Contrarian. You can check Bob out here… I do caution though, I love Bob’s work but he does come with some old school biases. Nonetheless, he is calling out the digital marketing phenomenon and its faults in, articulate and compelling ways. In a recent blog, Bob called out influencer marketing and highlighted an article in the Drum. He called it, “Fire Kim, Hire Bigfoot!”
The Drum suggests that people now trust governments more than influencers on social media. I quote, “Most global internet users lack confidence in what they see and read online, with only 8% believing that the bulk of information shared on social media is true, dropping to 4% when it comes from influencers.” Read the full article here…
Is there an answer?
There are two answers to the challenge of building trust in modern marketing.
a. Understand and be sceptical of the media platforms that will deliver your message
b. When you market, no matter what you’re selling, be authentic.
In years gone by, media platforms would suggest numbers by way of reach and frequency and for the most part, this data was taken with a grain of salt. Most people could make an educated guess that if 2 million people watched a show, not all 2 million people were going to see, notice or not get up to make a cup of tea while your ad was on the air. However, you got a sense that if 2 million people were watching the program, as opposed to another where fewer watched, your odds of being seen were definitely better.
What’s different today is that is not as easy to make such educated assumptions. How people engage media is so liquid, I’m not convinced any media platform is getting their engagement figures right. You only have to take into account fake accounts to get a sense that there is a lot of misinformation out there. So with trust in the media delivery platforms at an all-time low, we all need to work harder to market with authenticity.
The challenge for the modern marketer is not to compound the mistrust. Should you gain that cut through. Should your advertisement find its way to a prospect, make sure that what they see in your communications is great advertising. Be authentic, tell the truth and make good on the promise.
So we have a golden rule in-house that helps us navigate the ‘B.S.’ that’s out there in modern marketing. All analysis and reporting must be driven by business outcomes. We work to KPI’s with our clients and these are based on the business results our clients expect. The simple answer is this, if our efforts aren’t improving the clients expected business outcomes, then the marketing isn’t working. This is regardless of all the analytics and reporting mumbo jumbo the media platforms will provide that try to tell us otherwise!