Brand Trust – Social Media – Digital Marketing – Personal Customer Data

How can trust in brands be developed and maintained in an age of digital marketing, speed, mistrust and social media?

This article first appeared in The Australian on 15th February 2019, then via KPMG NewsRoom.

There are issues in trust round politics and marketing.

Brand Trust in Digital Times (Image copyright Pexels)

Brand power in the age of declining trust

Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer report in 2017 carried a headline “Trust is in crisis around the world”. A KPMG report last year found that “trust has declined in almost every major economy and many developing ones”. In a CNN interview recently, Salesforce’s founder and CEO Marc Benioff argued that “companies that are struggling today are struggling because of a crisis with trust”.

There seems no end to the brands, organisations and leaders that have lost the public’s trust. There has been a royal commission into our banks, multiple questions over Facebook’s use of personal data, cheating cricketers, fake news, church leaders charged, and political parties bickering among themselves.

It is hard to believe that some brands and organisations have turned a blind eye to building trust with customers over the past decade. Trust is the basis of all relationships, gained slowly like drops of rain but lost in buckets. It is fundamental to business, symbolised in a handshake and eye-to-eye contact. ……These brands meet the “trust” checklist in the KPMG report – standing for something more than profit; demonstrably acting in the customers’ best interest; doing what you say you will; keeping customers informed; and being competent and likeable.

There is no doubt that brand trust is more complex in a digital world, where social media and data personalisation have enabled brands to act as if they are talking to you in person. Combine that with the exponential growth of individuals’ data that can be captured; digital marketplaces; smartphones; voice technology such as Google Home and Alexa; and the algorithms and deep learning of artificial intelligence, and there are far more opportunities to get brand trust wrong. This is especially so when trust is measured at lightning speed and some decisions around brands are being made by machines acting like humans.

Data became the hottest brand trust issue last year. The biggest data breach involved the Marriott International hotel chain and had an impact on up to 383 million people on the Starwood booking database. This included more than five million unencrypted passport numbers. Facebook had multiple issues, the most discussed being Cambridge Analytica’s access to Facebook users’ data. This data was used to persuade voters to change their opinions in the last US presidential election.

Consumers started to question the trust they had in these brands: one US survey showed 71 percent of people were worried about how brands collected and used their personal data. …… Marketers also had their doubts after YouTube posted ads that appeared alongside offensive videos, leading to a number of companies and their media agencies withdrawing advertising from YouTube for a period.

In the past five years, some of Australia’s biggest companies have rushed to establish or buy into data businesses that can offer insights into the purchasing behaviour of their customers and also use that information to improve their marketing communications……

Some companies have commercialised this data by selling it to outside organisations that match it with their customer profiles, adding to the knowledge they have on their customers. Some have questioned the ethics of this, even if it is anonymous; others ask who actually owns the data – the individual or the companies?

Trust around data relies on the fundamentals: common sense says that being a friendly and helpful neighbour is better for a long-term relationship than being annoying or remote. The personal customer data a business holds needs to be treated in the same way. In a business environment where consumers have more choice than ever, as well as more transparency and lower barriers to switching brands, boards, CEOs and marketers cannot ignore the need to invest in brand trust.

 

For more blogs and articles about digital marketing, social media marketing and consumer behaviour click through.

 

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Impact of Digital on Marketing Industry Employee Skills

Digital and any new technology can be disruptive and requires changes in thinking, working, learning, education and training; includes marketing and IT.  However, like computer science, education and even job descriptions do not keep pace with technological change while many working successfully in IT or marketing do not possess related university degree, if at all.  Many are educated in other or similar disciplines e.g. engineering, or self-taught through personal or business need, and industry training or certification is more important than the degree (like CPA in accounting), supported by outcomes.

Following is paid content (marketing) from Digital Essentials on Mumbrella explaining how digital has impacted the marketing industry:

Marketing jobs are radically different in 2019 – but some employees can’t keep up

A revolution in how we consume media has turned advertising on its head, but recruits of all levels aren’t being trained in essential new skills.

February 4, 2019 7:30

Keeley Pope understands better than most how jobs in Australia’s media and marketing have changed over the last decade. A recruiter with 25 years experience, she deals first-hand with exasperated employers who require new starters to have mastered a breathless list of digital skills. “Today, you’ve got to be able to go from editing a video one minute to analysing data the next and then briefing into a post-production house afterwards,” she says.

In fact, that’s just the start of it. Marketing roles in 2019, she explains, can also encompass social media strategy, paid content, e-commerce, app building, project management as well as skills in Photoshop, CMS and copywriting. “Even the mid-level roles are very much hands-on,” she adds. “Now, marketers are publishers in their own right, too.”

These changes are, of course, a result of how marketers and agencies have reacted to the differing ways we consume media – the decline of printed newspapers, say, or the rise of social media and TV-on-demand. The problem is many current employees have been caught cold: either forced to suddenly acquire skills they’ve never been trained for or rejected for new positions outright. “The onus is on the individual to upscale themselves….

….And all that change is affecting how businesses are marketing and growing. New research by PWC and Facebook, for instance, reveals more than a third of Australian small businesses are exporting to foreign markets, and more than a third of companies now earn international revenue within just two years of establishment.

And so brands have reacted. Digital marketing spend has grown by 13% in the last year, up to $2.24bn, with video showing the biggest leap, along with increases to display, classified and search (Google ads, basically). Meanwhile, programmatic spend in Australia has leapt to $1.7bn – a staggering increase from just $84m in 2012.

“The reality is modern market is diversifying,” says Easther. “So employees now need to know a little bit about a lot – whatever side of the fence you’re working on. So, to do marketing well, particularly in digital, you need to be able to hold a conversation, and you need to know the strategy of how all the channels work together.”….

….On Easther’s course, he finds his students range from those starting out in creative agencies to senior marketing directors working client side and even those in media sales. “Some have learned digital from a few different sources and they come to formalise their learning,” he says. “While others have deep knowledge in one area but want to be more versatile. They might be a social specialist, say, but when they have a meeting to discuss programmatic, they wish they could contribute more.”’

For more articles and blogs about digital marketing, digital marketing lecturer and digital or e-consumer behaviour click through.

 

Digital Marketing Tutorials for Tourism and Services

Digital Marketing Tutorials and the Application of Digital Marketing

How can small or medium sized businesses take advantage of digital marketing benefits i.e. economic and effective for sustainable customer centred strategy over long term?

This is opposed to short term and one-off marketing strategy based round costly and low analytic conventional channels such as print, radio and television focused upon indirect ROI or KPIs, especially digitally literate generations?

Advantages of Digital Marketing

The advantage of keeping marketing in house and using digital versus outsourcing include:

  • Requires market research into consumer behaviour, with focus upon and directed by existing, prospective customers and stakeholders
  • Unique to your business or organisation and target market with your website as ‘shop front’ being visible online locally, regionally, nationally or globally for market reach and penetration
  • Analytically rich through variety of channels during search and purchasing process while customer feedback can confirm KPIs as valid
  • After initial front loading of technical resources, marketing content and including financial, a living system has been created which can be maintained, reviewed and adapted following the SDLC systems development life-cycle (versus one off strategy or campaigns although not precluded e.g. ‘Best Job in the World’ dependent upon social media)
  • The system can run organically through inbound digital marketing techniques attracting targeted traffic through SEO search engine optimisation and customer generated (social) media
  • Allows customer and stakeholder input, ownership to inform system and an increased likelihood of success due to authenticity and grounding, or ‘bottom up and lateral’ digital communication channels

Some years ago, the ATDW Australian Tourism Data Warehouse developed the award-winning ATDW Marketing e-Kit downloaded several hundred thousand times, especially offshore.  The kit summarised below is pitched at sole, small or medium businesses who cannot and should not commission large advertising or marketing companies to promote their business, and do not require high level expertise.  Further, larger marketing bodies e.g. Tourism Australia, should have no need to commission global advertising giants for marketing strategy when they have a highly visible shopfront or website already?

 

  1. Who is this document designed to assist?

These ATDW tutorials have been put together to help small and medium Australian tourism operators successfully market their business online. If you don’t have a website for your business or have one that is not performing to your or your customer’s expectations, these tutorials are for you.

Further, the same can be replicated across other sectors or industries whether goods or services, the principles of good (digital) marketing strategy are the same.

  1. Roadmap to success

What do I need to do and in what order? Each tutorial can be read independently and no
technological background is required to understand their content.
You will find a list of all the tutorials organised in different sections on the following:

a) The basics
b) Website
c) SEO Search Engine Optimisation
d) e-Marketing
e) Online booking e-Commerce
f) Analysis and statistics
g) Online distribution
h) Social media

 

  1. Why the Internet?

The Internet is a network of computer networks, which anyone can access and participate in using a web-enabled computer. Users turn to the Internet to search for information and interact with other users such as friends, peers and communities. It comes as no surprise that travellers use the “net” extensively to plan and organise their trip. Latest international research shows that more than 80% of travellers do so.
This signifies that- as a tourism business – you need to move your Internet strategy to the centre of your business model. Having a website that sits “on the side”, a Facebook page that isn’t managed and no social media strategy will not allow you to compete in the online world.

Business and organisations need to move beyond the notion of digital (channels) being an added budgetary item for any advertising or marketing spend and leverage their own customer base for feedback, generation of marketing content, transmission or sharing and visibility.

For more blog and articles related to services and digital marketing click through.

International Education Marketing – 4P Products 7P Services and Word of Mouth

4Ps for Products to the 7Ps for Services

and WOM Word of Mouth

 

While many focus upon the promotional aspect of the 4Ps model of ‘product, price, place and promotion’, research has emphasised that education marketing must use ‘7Ps’, not just ‘4 or 5Ps’.  This would also include people, facilities and processes, thus broadening any analysis and perceptions of the market (Ivy, 2008).

Further, the ‘7Ps’ model was developed to account for differences in service industries versus sub-optimal ‘4Ps’ model for physical goods (Rafiq & Ahmed, 1995).  The ‘People’ and ‘Process’ are very relevant for this research, as they focus upon need to communicate openly with target market through skilled personnel, while viewing marketing, communication and sales as a process, not an instantaneous purchasing event e.g. buying a consumer product or staple (Acutt, 2015).

 

There have been criticisms of this ‘7Ps’ model as being out of date, highlighting the need for new conceptual foundations and marketing methodologies representing today and tomorrow’s world (Konstantinides, 2010).  With e-marketing, digital or internet-based marketing coming to the fore, there needs to be more analysis of consumer behaviour regarding brand experience, information search, brand familiarity and customer satisfaction, both rational and emotional (Ha & Perks, 2005).

 

More recent research suggests that the ‘complex’ student decision making process is viewed as rational economic action when in fact much is emotional and relies upon peers, influencers and related WOM to assess overall or general quality, plus more practical concerns such as immigration and visa (Nedbalová et al, 2014).  How does a student or family access WOM based information and advice from peers and influencers leading to a study decision, possibly through student feedback and analysis?

 

Why is WOM Word of Mouth Important?

 

WOM is important in all communications, and for consumers to participate in social learning through WOM communication, the preference for many if not most (Campbell, 2013).  WOM is related intimately with personal and cultural factors, with informal accepted as a significant communication channel of influence (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

 

Social networks and WOM rely upon users and friends’ reviews and comments, plus helping to generate positive and negative WOM, with ‘trust’ being very important (Barreda et al., 2015).  WOM is also an essential element of digital or e-Marketing and SM, if not the most important, with a need to encourage interactivity and engagement amongst the target market about a product (Whitler, 2014).

 

WOM can now be carried further by social media, be leveraged for better marketing and communications, and it cannot be ignored, especially if negative.  WOM carried digitally across borders amongst friends who may be informed significantly by personal or national culture considerations, whether differences or similarities.

 

Therefore, logically consideration may need to be given to cultural dimensions of marketing and impacts on strategy, differences or similarities? This will lead onto investigation of cultural dimensions and e-Consumer Behaviour – What do they do?

 

Reference List:

 

Acutt, M. (2015) The Marketing Mix 4P’s and 7P’s Explained.  Available at: http://marketingmix.co.uk/ (Accessed on: 17 May 2017).

 

Barreda, A. A., Bilgihan, A., & Kageyama, Y. (2015). The role of trust in creating positive word of mouth and behavioral intentions: The case of online social networks. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 14(1), 16-36.

 

Campbell A. (2013) ‘Word-of-Mouth Communication and Percolation in Social Networks’. The American Economic Review. 103(6) pp. 2466-2498 Published by: American Economic Association. Available at: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.6.2466 (Accessed on: 16/12/2016).

 

Ha, H. & Perks, H. (2005) ‘Effects of consumer perceptions of brand experience on the web: Brand familiarity, satisfaction and brand trust’. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 4(6) pp. 438–452.  Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cb.29/abstract (Accessed on: 18/11/2016).

 

Ivy J. (2008) ‘A new higher education marketing mix: the 7Ps for MBA marketing’. International Journal of Educational Management. 22(4) pp. 288 – 299 Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513540810875635 (Accessed: 18/11/2016).

 

Konstantinides, E. (2006) ‘The Marketing Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing’.  Journal of Marketing Management. 22(3-4) pp. 407-438. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/1 0.1 362/026725706776861 190 (Accessed: 16/12/2016).

 

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2012) Marketing Management. (14th Ed.) Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education – Prentice Hall.

 

Nedbalová E., Greenacre L. & Schulz J (2014) ‘UK higher education viewed through the marketization and marketing lenses’. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education. 24(2) pp. 178-195. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2014.973472  (Accessed on: 21/12/2016).

 

Rafiq, M. & Ahmed, P. (1995) ‘Using the 7Ps as a generic marketing mix: an exploratory survey of UK and European marketing academics’. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 13(9) pp. 4-15.

 

Whitler, K. (2014) Why word of mouth marketing is the most important social media.  Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/#2f76616d54a8 (Accessed: 10/05/2017).