Sales and marketing after GDPR may look a little different from what we’re used to today, but it’s time to stop reminiscing about what has been before. Yes, in the old days anyone could pick up the phone, dial a number at random and subject a cold lead to a hard sell. Mind you, it never really worked that well, did it?
Worse still, these tactics may have caused lasting damage to your brand-consumer relationships. Time to make amends and start winning your audience over. Luckily, new research is helping us to draw up a foolproof plan.
The good news
If you are able to win the trust of your audience, great things can happen. According to a BrandZ study by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, businesses with above-average levels of trust have enjoyed an astonishing 170% growth in brand value since 2006.
Amazing! While it’s easy to assume that consumer trust will lead to brand growth, this extraordinary statistic compounds its true importance. Earning the trust of your audience really can make or break your business.
The bad news
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, levels of consumer trust have been tumbling for the past few years.
Since 2013, there has been a 12% drop in consumer trust in the media from 36% to 24%, and a 16% drop in consumer trust in business from 49% to 33%. This is a significant change, and not a welcome one for marketing departments around the UK. How can brands communicate effectively with prospects who don’t trust them?
The way to your consumers’ hearts
Kantar TNS and Lightspeed conducted research on behalf of the MRS Delphi Group, examining ways in which brands can build consumer trust after GDPR. Here’s what they found…
Consumers want to be reassured that their ‘information is completely secure.’ In fact, research revealed that this was the most important driver across 6 of the 7 industry sectors studied. Ensuring that ‘my participation will never put me at personal risk’ was also one of the top 5 drivers.
In a world of well-publicised data breaches, this doesn’t come as a big surprise. Consumers want to be safe in the knowledge that your brand will look after their personal details, and treat them in a respectful and caring manner.
It’s clear than that organisations need to consider how to address data security in order to improve consumer trust. Of course, this will come to a head at the end of May 2018. Sales and marketing after GDPR will be subject to new legislation around data collection, use and storage, with huge penalties in place for any company found to be breaking the rules.
The second and third biggest drivers of trust were found to be ‘providing a dependable service’ and ‘always offering high standards of customer service.’ ‘There always being someone available if I have a query or complaint’ was also identified as a key driver. In short, customers just want to feel loved.
It isn’t always possible to have a human team member on hand to support consumers though. Your team members need to sleep at some point, and even when someone is available they can usually only respond to one query at a time.
The solution to these practical issues? Our friend the ChatBot. A virtual agent can be hosted on your brand’s website, on hand to answer a range of pre-programmed questions. This can accompany or even replace the traditional FAQ help section – website visitors can simply ask your resident ChatBot about delivery costs, exchange policies and return addresses, for instance, without having to scroll through static pages or wait to speak to customer services.
While robots are often derided in the media as cold and impersonal, we believe they can actually help to make your brand more human – and provide superhuman customer service.
Another huge benefit in the world of sales and marketing after GDPR – with the right scripting, your ChatBot can collect personal details and acquire explicit consent for your brand to contact individuals.
The final key driver of trust is that brands ‘do not take advantage of the information available about me’ (‘me’ being the consumer).
Transparency around how organisations use lead data and what they offer in return will become increasingly important in sales and marketing after GDPR. Organisations need to establish the best ways to provide value to consumers who have shared their data – think quality content, not sales spam.
Interestingly, ‘using my personal information to provide a tailored service unique to me’ was found to be the lowest driver of trust. Perhaps people don’t want to receive super-relevant emails built with their favourite colour and shoe size in mind. So, only use the information available about an individual if it provides them with real value.
Perfect your sales and marketing after GDPR
From our point of view, it looks like GDPR actually fits neatly alongside existing consumer needs for data security, customer service and transparent communications. And of this gives us a chance to win back consumer trust, it can only be a good thing.
To chat more about life after GDPR and all it entails, get in touch with Six & Flow, we love a good natter.