Our industry is always falling in love with words and ideas. Right now, ‘purpose’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘transparency’, seem to crop up in every talk, fireside chat, webinar or article. This blog isn’t about those words. It’s about the other one: ‘trust’.
Marketers are in the midst of a trust crisis and it’s changing the way that they buy. And while this is a challenge for marketers, it’s an opportunity for sales people.
There are a heap of reasons why marketers’ trust in advertising has been eroded over the last few years.
Firstly, there is the question of ad fraud. Johnny Hornby, CEO The&Partnership says: “If any of these figures are correct, whether its 30%, 40%, 50% of programmatic advertising that is being watched by computers that aren’t people…then there is a lot of fraud going on and that is going to break down the trust between clients and media”.
Then there was the ANA report a couple of years ago that shone a light on the culture of rebates and kickbacks within agencies.
On top of that, marketers know that their audiences are also in the midst of a trust crisis. Consumer trust in social media platforms and advertising is at an all-time low. Edelmen’s 2018 Trust Barometer illustrates this perfectly: trust in social media declined again this year to just 24%. Furthermore, only 43% of Britons trust businesses.
Stefan Loerke, Managing Director at the World Federation of Advertisers neatly sums it up: “There is a perfect storm brewing when you look at the transparency issue, the viewability issue, the ad blocking issue and the ad fraud issue”.
So, what does this mean if you are a salesperson who sells to marketers?
Well, in this climate, sales people who make building trust central to their sales approach will win.
Former Mediacom CEO Jon Mandel says “Clients really want somebody to trust. They want someone to give them advice. In the same way that you hire a lawyer or an accountant or a financial advisor you want someone who is going to do right by you…”
Jon Mandel puts it like this: “If it’s no games, no bullshit we’re going to have a healthy relationship and we’re going to have a healthier community. If it’s just to take advantage of each other, to prove that I’m bigger that I’m better and it’s all about me then it’s never going to be healthy.”
The marketing trust crisis may deepen before it disappears, but sales people who focus on building trust by being authentic, purpose driven and transparent will ultimately prevail. Oops!