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About one-quarter (24%) of CMOs define customer loyalty as “establishing a level of trust and connection that inextricably ties long-standing customers with the culture and attributes of the brand,” putting it second only to a definition based on repeat purchases. Part of building this trust is keeping the promises that brands make to customers to protect their privacy and data, per a new report [download page] from the CMO Council and Cheetah Digital.

Senior decision-makers feel confident in this area, per the report: more than half (55%) of the report’s respondents say their organization’s ability to follow through on the privacy, permission and personalization promises they make to their customers is high.

Separate research has highlighted the growing importance of trust. A survey of 30,000 global consumers by Accenture found that two-thirds of people (66%) say they are attracted to brands because a brand “does what it says it will do and delivers on its promise.” Another global survey by Dentsu Aegis Network uncovered that a misuse of personal data was the main driver of distrust among tech companies in particular. In addition, an overwhelming majority of CMOs and brand managers say that the need to establish trust between their brand and the consumer is keeping them up at night.

So, what are CMOs doing about this? Presented with a list of 7 priorities for brands to secure customer trust and asked to select their top 3, some 51% of the 170 senior marketing decision-makers surveyed pointed to respect for the data that the customer has voluntarily provided. As 3 in 5 consumers say they believe the data they supply is for personalization, it can only help that respondents indicate they also prioritizing secure the trust between their brand and the customer by communicating in a personalized way, honoring the data the customer has given.

Senior marketers also say they are securing data and being transparent about data collection, storage and use, as well as using customer data to deliver value across all brand experiences.

Fewer respondents are prioritizing knowing and understanding the customer’s definition of what is “creepy.” This could be an area of increased investment: a report from SmartHQ found that many of the marketing tactics that customers find creepy have to do with the use and tracking of their personal data.

Loyalty Programs Help Build Connections

One long-standing way to gain customer data is through loyalty programs. Indeed, respondents report that not only do loyalty program participants buy more, buy in greater volume or buy more frequently (43%) than others, but one-third (34%) also say that participants provide more data and information for marketing to leverage in campaigns and programs.

Prior research shows that loyalty program members find it to be a meaningful part of their brand relationships and are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs. This is good news for the 48% of brand respondents who say their loyalty program is effective in building deeper connections and relationships with their customers.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Report results are based on a global survey of 255 senior marketing decision-makers.

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