Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Keeping promises: how marketers can shore up consumer trust in an evolving data landscape

By Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA & India at Treasure Data

In today’s digital landscape, building and maintaining meaningful connections with customers is a top priority for marketers. But with scrutiny around data and privacy higher than ever, this is no mean feat.

Google’s imminent retirement of the third-party cookie coupled with both Meta and TikTok falling into hot water over privacy and data mishandling, shows brands must not only grapple with a rapidly evolving data landscape – but also one where trust in data sharing is increasingly hard to win.

Despite these obstacles, brands are at the dawn of an exciting new age – one where strategies will be solely informed by high-quality, relevant first-party data. As we move ever closer to the end of the third-party cookie, it’s no secret that first-party data will play a central role in the most successful marketing campaigns, strategies, and teams in the cookieless future.

But marketers need to do more to win the trust of consumers if they are to make best use of customer data. Research conducted by Treasure Data at the end of 2022 found consumers are showing greater reluctance to share their personal information with brands, with almost half (47%) of UK consumers going as far as to deliberately withhold their personal data, whilst one in four (25%) admitted that they sometimes give false data about themselves.

Brands are at a crossroads, and taking one wrong turn risks losing the invaluable customer insights necessary to succeed in the months and years ahead. It’s the marketers that understand trust as a currency with sky-rocketing value who will thrive in this environment – without it, brands will be unable to unlock and maintain the first-party data necessary for effective marketing.

It’s therefore critical that marketers ensure they take the right approach as they aim to shore up as much high quality first-party data as possible. Here are three things brands can do now to get off on the right foot.

Redefine what it means to be a marketer

Holding first-party customer data gives marketers the responsibility to act upon insights to ensure their communications are relevant, timely and targeted. Doing so requires the use of this data to its full potential, yet many are falling short – our research found that 61% of marketers feel ill-equipped to get the most out of their data.

It is therefore crucial that marketing departments ensure they are upskilled for the future. Bringing in data specialists and training them to think like marketers, whilst also building marketers’ knowledge on how they should effectively utilise and interpret customer data, will ensure that each insight is being leveraged for meaningful action.

Data sharing: a two-way street

Whilst the customer data landscape is in a state of flux, one thing remains constant – consumers will continue to share their first-party data in exchange for relevant, targeted advertising. But it’s not enough to just use data for this purpose – marketers need to ensure consumers understand what they stand to gain from this value exchange.

It also falls upon marketers to reassure consumers over data handling concerns and the purpose their data will be used for – creating and distributing targeted ads, tailored offers and relevant communications.

Communicating this value exchange and its benefits will be crucial to brands as they look to future proof their data strategies, and build trusted relationships with consumers. 

Equip yourself to deliver on your promises

But it’s not only about communication. If brands are to build trust and successfully encourage consumers to share their data, they must deliver on their side of the bargain. Consumers can opt-in to data sharing just as easily as they can opt-out of it, so brands need to work for every touchpoint. Committing to a privacy-first data management strategy, whilst delivering a targeted and tailored consumer experience, is a must for brands.

Investing in the right training, tools and technology will ensure marketers can obtain a unified source of customer data and unlock new insights, whilst also ensuring they stay compliant with regulation as they seek to stay on top of this ever-evolving landscape.

Amidst what may feel like an uphill struggle, brands that prioritise building trust with consumers will be those set to succeed in the long term. Marketers mustn’t be mistaken – this is not a challenge of the future. Now is the time to shore up trust and prepare for the next phase of the digital age.