In a world where stories are told in 140 characters or less, many marketers might assume that convenience is the name of the game for digital consumers.
However, the Deloitte Australian Privacy Index 2016, an assessment of the privacy practices of 116 consumer brands, found that 94% of online and mobile app consumers believe trust is more important than convenience. Leading the pack of most-trusted sectors: banking and finance, followed by government, energy, insurance, and telecommunications.
Marta Ganko, co-author of the index, said the result is “telling” and a wake-up call for marketers.
For consumers, privacy and trust are inextricably linked, Ganko told CMO.com. “Consumers trust organisations that use their information reliably and respectfully,” she said. This is especially true nowadays, when organisations are more likely to share data with external partners.
The pervasiveness of customer data as a critical component of business–and the exposure to regulatory, financial, and reputational risks it opens up–has made data privacy top-of-mind for marketers. This contrasts greatly with past attitudes, where issues such as risk and security were generally regarded as someone else’s responsibility.
“Risk needs to be operationally managed, and privacy needs to be embedded in the whole organization,” Ganki added. “It’s not enough for organisations to leave privacy and data protection to one or two key [C-suite] executives. These are issues for the whole C-suite.”
Christine Corbett, chief customer officer at Australia Post, agreed that trust underpins digital marketing.
“We want to build relationships with our customers, but we also know that they only want information that’s relevant, useful, and timely,” she told CMO.com. “It’s important we understand who our customers are, what’s important to them, and how and when they want us to talk to them,” she said.
Corbett said Australia Post’s reputation is built on its history of community trust. “We take this very seriously, and it’s vital we reflect this in how we manage and use our customer's information for any purpose, including how we communicate with them via direct marketing,” she said.
Australia Post is also vigilant about its transparency and how information is collected, used, and disclosed. “When we offer new services to customers, we endeavour to collect only the information required to deliver that service,” she said. “When customers want to increase their choice of services, only then do we collect additional information to provide those services securely.”
Privacy and security also are of paramount important at iSelect, said CMO Geraldine Davys. iSelect—a comparison and advisory service that recommends products and services across the health care, car and home insurance, home loans, broadband, and energy sectors, strives to understand its customers “from an end-to-end perspective.”
“We help customers through their whole life journey, so we are privileged to hold extensive customer information,” Davys told CMO.com. “Trust is the key to creating a great brand and providing a great customer experience.”
Consumers are increasingly aware of the link between data and the personalised services companies offer, she added. “Customers want us to know more about them. They understand that the better we understand them, the better and more relevant the information they get from us,” she said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re collecting more data from them; we’re just getting better at using the data we have.”
Davys said she is keenly aware that while data is the engine of iSelect’s business, it also places a great deal of responsibility on the company to secure that information.
“As a marketing professional, you’re not doing your job unless trust is at the centre of everything you do,” she said. “The trust of your customers is at the heart of a successful brand.”