Trust Was a Big Theme in 2018, It Will Be Again in 2019

Trust in political institutions, corporations, internet platforms and digital media is in serious decline. That’s one of the big digital themes of 2018 that will continue in 2019 and beyond.

Every sector of the online media ecosystem is now rife with distrust. Almost daily we read about fake news, brand safety issues, bot trafficclick fraud, location fraud, as well as increasing consumer skepticism of brands. Privacy and data security are major consumer concerns as well.

Brands wonder if the traffic, clicks and downloads they’re buying are inflated or fraudulent. (New York Magazine reported, based on third party data, that almost half of online traffic is not human.) Consumers believe, increasingly, that companies are exploiting their personal data while disregarding their privacy.

This also extends to the world of small business solutions. There is significant churn, rampant distrust and skepticism of SaaS companies and marketing services providers.

Trust is not an attribute or value that most brands have sought to cultivate in the past. But it now becomes a key component of brand strength and appeal going forward. Stronger, more trusted brands/companies have lower customer acquisition costs than those that are seen as unreliable or untrustworthy.

How does a company build trust with consumers or small business owners? We can talk blandly about honesty, transparency and customer service. However, the answers aren’t that simple from an operational standpoint. How does a media seller, for example, built trust during a sales call or in an email exchange? (ThriveHive’s Adam Blake says he has an answer and will be discussing that in his LSA19 session on SMB acquisition on February 26.)

We’re now in a very cluttered, confusing and noisy online environment, where companies selling to SMBs arguably need to take a dramatically different approach to sales and service and pay much more attention brand building than they have in the past. Brand trust and how it impacts sales, customer acquisition and retention will be key themes in throughout LSA19.

We’ll also have a very frank and tactical privacy discussion on how the CCPA and potential federal legislation may impact location data services and digital marketing in general. These are critical discussions, with practical implications, that you won’t want to miss.

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