7 in 10 Customers Will Buy More from Brands They Trust; Abandon Those They Don’t

Brands that earn customer trust rewarded by more sales, loyalty, and positive recommendations – better use of data revealed as the key building block

Trust is a fundamental expectation of customer experience, and findings from Adobe’s new Future of Marketing Research Series prove just how important doing the work of earning trust is for British businesses. According to the report, UK consumers show they trust a brand by:

The cost of broken trust

Conversely, the research found that British businesses face losing a large portion of their customer base if they don’t prioritise trust, with 71% of UK consumers saying they will stop purchasing from a company altogether if their trust is broken. In fact, many have already taken action. More than half (54%) say they stopped purchasing from a brand in the last year after a breach in trust. Younger generations are the least likely to forgive, with 74% of GenZ and 67% of Millennials leaving at least one brand due to a break of trust in the past 12 months.

The report uncovered several ways that brands are compromising trust by misusing customer data. Consumers ranked the top three brand behaviours most likely to break their trust:

  1. They are creepy (49%): They track me online/on my mobile devices without my permission, send emails/other communications, but I do not remember giving them my information.
  2. They are annoying (39%): They send me too many communications, they are not clear about their privacy policies or what they do with my data.
  3. They do not listen (39%): They keep sending me ads or communications, even after I have opted out.

Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of International Marketing at Adobe, said: “If customers lose trust in the brand they are buying from then, as our research proves, they are highly likely to walk away and take their money with them. To earn and maintain trust, businesses have a responsibility to build more direct and personal relationships with them, by using customer data in a transparent and responsible manner, and that ultimately starts with marketing.”

Build trust with good use of data

When it comes to how their data is used, customer expectations are reasonable and achievable. Consumers in the study ranked ‘asking permission to use their data’ as the most important thing a company can do to earn their trust (45%). Their next most important consideration is more ‘open and transparent’ use of their data (40%), closely followed by having more ‘control over their data’ (39%).

Opportunity for deeper connections to close the digital experience gap

With brands more focused than ever on creating deeper and more meaningful connections through data-driven customer experiences, the Adobe’s research shows a gap has emerged between how highly brands rank themselves and consumer perceptions.

In fact, despite the fact 93% of British marketers say they are either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at delivering personalised experiences at scale, only 3 in 10 (32%) consumers say the quality of their digital experiences has improved over the past year.

Encouragingly, younger generations are more likely to rate their digital experiences higher, with 48% of GenZ and 46% of Millennials saying the quality had increased (versus 32% average). The experience gap and generational differences highlights that, although there is room for improvement, marketers that focus on building trusted relationships through more considered and personalised online experiences will thrive in the digital era.

Businesses adopting first-party data strategies to earn customer trust

With the third-party cookie landscape soon to become obsolete, brands are shifting their focus to first-party data strategies to earn customer trust, building more direct and personal relationships, based on data customers willingly share.

The good news is that 85% of British businesses already possess a first-party data strategy, with 42% saying it has always been a top priority. However, many (43%) were prompted by recent changes in privacy regulations to create one, suggesting their understanding and use of first-party data is still in its infancy.

And, while many brands remain sensibly cautious about data governance (90% of UK respondents express some level of concern about complying with customer preferences and government regulations), the majority of businesses understand the importance of data compliance and preparing for a first-party future, with over two-thirds (67%) of UK marketing leaders saying their executive team prioritises data governance.

About the research

Adobe’s Future of Marketing research was conducted by Advanis during August 2021, surveying consumers, marketing practitioners and marketing leaders (SVP or higher) globally, to better understand the practice of marketing and how its impact is evolving. In the UK, 2,017 consumers were surveyed, along with 409 marketing practitioners and 181 marketing leaders (SVP or higher).