Marketing in a Trustless Environment

Over the past decade and a half, the marketer’s toolbox has been filled with exciting new tactics, from digital and social media to microtargeting and content marketing. The advent of these innovative tools have enabled new forms of communication and engagement with consumers, but also exemplify an increasingly treacherous marketing environment to be navigated.

Today, marketers face a fractured, noisy media landscape and declining trust in many traditional forms of marketing. Delivering compelling and authentic messages to consumers has never been more challenging.

The recent U.S. election highlighted just how challenging this environment has become, as much post-election coverage has been devoted to the proliferation of “fake news.”

Stories spun from whole cloth, driven not by ideology but by the desire for cash-earning clicks, “fake news” has rightfully further eroded consumers' trust in what they see and read—both online and off.

But we have seen hints of this distrust and lack of transparency in the marketing world as well. Recent years have seen debates about the appropriate role of sponsored content, the use of paid bloggers developing seemingly independent content for the companies that pay them, and rampant phony product reviews artificially inflating ratings on prominent websites. In fact, nearly half of American consumers now assume product reviewers have been given incentives for their positive reviews.

So, how do you build trust and credibility when all of this distrust and cynicism is swirling around you? How do you market a healthy brand in what is increasingly becoming a low-trust, post-truth world? How can you ensure consumers are receiving accurate, helpful information about your brand from sources they trust implicitly?

Over the next few months, we will be answering these questions in a series of blog posts. We’ll take a look at how consumers determine which sources of information are trustworthy and credible, how marketers of healthy brands can tap into those sources to market their brands effectively and appropriately, and how they can build relationships of trust and credibility with those sources—relationships that will benefit their brands for years to come.