Brands have long understood the importance of customer-centric approaches to marketing. But the notion of “responsible marketing” is gaining steam, filling the gaps those other approaches failed to address.
“It’s marketing with a conscience,” said Frank Brooks, head of EMEA marketing at dotdigital. “It’s ensuring you’re not just doing things for the sake of doing it by the book — you’re going above and beyond to put your customers first, to think about the wider impact your marketing has and what it says about your business and the way it operates.”
“Responsible marketing is an approach that ensures you’re not only meeting customers’ needs, but you’re also having a positive impact on the community that you’re both a part of,” he added.
To succeed in modern marketing, brands and marketers must use responsible strategies and tactics. Here are some factors prompting this need.
Rise of ecommerce and data privacy
“The explosion of ecommerce brought by the COVID pandemic, which has seen record growth in new cohorts of shoppers coming online, is good news for brands,” Brooks said. “But it comes with several new challenges around consumer expectations, the capabilities of your current technologies, and the limitations of the processes built for a more permissive marketing environment.”
Marketers might be tempted to eschew responsible marketing practices — whether it’s adding security, avoiding unconsented data sharing, or inaccurate personalization — to keep up with this ever-changing digital ecosystem. Yet doing so could destroy any hope of building consumer trust in your brand.
“The key to establishing responsible marketing is putting the customer at the center of everything a brand does, both in its communications to the wider world and also to each customer,” said Brooks. “This is determined by having the data that reveals each customer’s behavior and preferences as a platform for personalized communications, while still ensuring that you’re ahead of compliance and regulatory changes.”
Demand for personalization, but with security
“Being responsible in your marketing efforts and future-proofing your data and privacy through best practice is good for your business and good for your customers. It’s a win-win.”
Customers expect brands to prove good citizenship. They want to be treated with respect — both in relevant products offerings and careful handling of their data. Responsible marketers know adhering to these demands will help build consumer loyalty.
“Customers want personalization and at the same time, they want privacy,” Brooks said. “That seems like a bit of a contradiction, right? Well, Euromonitor thought so, and has since coined the phrase ‘private personalization’ to embrace the paradox of people wanting content and communication to be relevant to them, and accept that there’s a tradeoff between sharing private information.”
A need to build customer trust
Brands need strong levels of customer trust now more than ever. 44% of US consumers trust brands to store their data safely when they’re required to give personal information, but 25% still don’t believe brands will do so, according to dotdigital’s research.
Another study from Gartner found that 81% of consumers refuse to do business with a brand they find untrustworthy, and 89% claim they would take action against a brand that breaches their trust.
“It’s well established that lost trust translates to lost business, both at the point of loss and in the longer term, ” Brooks said, “but Gartner’s [study] puts a value on that loss.”
The costs of neglecting (or breaking) customer trust are huge, so brands would be wise to place it at the heart of their campaigns. Adhering to responsible marketing practices is the only way brands can thrive going forward.
“The world is changing and the shift towards consumer-friendly privacy rights can’t be ignored,” said Brooks. “Embracing these changes is key for consumers to share their data with your brand.”
“If a consumer trusts the brand they will be engaged; the value of their relationship nurtured over time will increase engagement,” he added.