The title of the Billy Joel song was clearly not referring to marketing; but both in love and marketing, good relationships need to include a strong measure of trust.

Trust develops and is earned over time. People find it easier to engage with the brands they trust, and we don’t have to look too far for examples of when trust has been lost, and companies have lost customers.

One of the most publicised of these was the Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal. At the time, the Guardian indicated that Facebook had lost 3 million European subscribers and as a consequence their shares fell by 19%. Some Facebook users had lost trust in the company due to security concerns about their personal information.

Marc Benioff the Salesforce founding CEO has stressed that his company’s main driver is trust created for all stakeholders. He urges ethical and humane use of technology from all companies. Benioff has criticised Facebook openly as ‘the new cigarettes,’ and   calling for them to be regulated.

Values and Value

Trust created for customers is closely linked with company values and the value it creates. If your company effectively communicates not only its value proposition, but also its values, this gives the customer the choice to align with you and a strong relationship can be formed.  This is especially true in the services sector but is true for most sectors. Something as basic as strong customer focus can ensure that customers will keep coming back to your business.

Despite the importance of trust, many companies still choose to focus on invasive forms of promotion. They will often interrupt prospective customers to flaunt features and offer discounts. Off course throwing the net wide and bringing small percentages over the line may bring its rewards in certain sectors, but I believe it can be done better.

By way of example, I’ve recently been added to a Solar power provider’s calling list. Like most people, I don’t appreciate a barrage of unsolicited calls, but what I least appreciate is the fact that despite my request to remove me from their list, they keep phoning. Although their product may be very good and may align with my needs, I don’t trust them and will never purchase from them; and I do tell others about my experience!

It’s about substance

In a world where the customer is more informed than ever before and where information about similar products or offerings is readily available, why would you only focus on features? Rather, add value and create the trust that will make customers stay with you for a long time and bring others along with them.

  • Choose marketing strategies and tools that do not detract from your offering and allow you to build relationships
  • Use one of the many excellent digital tools to get your message to the right people
  • When you do show up, make sure the message you bring is not only of promotion, but also looks to build relationships
  • Give customers the opportunity to align with you
  • Make sure your content reflects your substance and isn’t just about securing a sale there and then

Consider this quote from an article by Colin Greenwood (Wolf Olins), recently published by CIM. 

If we start to blur the lines between marketing, brand, product and customer experience, and focus purely on the meaning we create-as well as the lasting impression we leave-suddenly we’re swimming with the tide.

It gets down to this

It’s not about awareness at all costs. It’s not only about features and interruption. It’s about being accessible, but it’s also about what customers find when they find you. Make sure they find a company and people with the values that bring them value.

A company they can trust.