Numerous high-profile data breaches have caused customers to question their trust in brands in recent months and years. While the costs associated with regulatory fines and lawsuits following a data breach can be significant, perhaps no effect is as long-lasting or damaging as the loss of consumer confidence that accompanies such breaches.
Consumer confidence cannot be built and cannot be regained overnight. That’s why marketers need to focus on preventing data breaches rather than how to respond if they do occur.
In this new age of data, trust is key to collecting customer data and staying competitive. So how do businesses promote trust?
Consumer confidence is easy to lose but hard to regain
Consumer trust and loyalty are particularly fragile these days, given the disruptive nature of so many industries. When businesses face high-profile data breaches, there are often a multitude of small players with non-traditional offerings on hold, eager to win back customers who have lost trust in their trusted partners before.
Additionally, and perhaps counterintuitively, the nature of an organization’s damage control following a data breach often precludes the type of marketing and communication required to restore trust with consumers.
In the aftermath of a breach, it’s quite common for a company’s legal team to be elevated in their role when it comes to external communications and future decisions. While this is understandable, it often means that businesses remain relatively silent following a breach. The communications that are made tend to be steeped in legal jargon, which is not exactly the type of language that eases people’s concerns.
Over the longer term, introducing greater legal checks and balances into an organization, while seemingly prudent, can block innovation and stifle marketing and consumer communications within an organization. The result is that, even after the initial damage to consumer confidence, these vital relationships continue to erode.
Not so obvious: how do organizations build consumer confidence?
The safest way to build consumer confidence is to proactively protect consumer data properly. Corn How? ‘Or’ What can organizations achieve this?
Few marketers understand where their organization’s data breach vulnerabilities exist and how to protect themselves from them. Most assume that their IT or security teams are covering the business, but in fact, a company’s senior executives are solely responsible when an organization experiences a breach. Most businesses associate the idea of ââa âdata breachâ with malicious hackers and denial of service attacks. But data breaches come in many forms.
Touch points such as a checkout page on a website or when a consumer adds personal information to an app are the very places where criminals seek to steal data. Many violations come from third-party marketing technologies on websites that a company does not control; for example, trackers, beacons, ad servers, and social media technologies. These tools, some of which may not even be known to companies, can introduce malicious code into a site or lead to the leaking of sensitive customer data to third parties.
These types of breaches are preventable with the right technology, but few marketers are aware enough of these threats to implement protections before a breach occurs.
Given the devastating effects that even a single breach can have on consumer confidence and, therefore, on the long-term health of an organization, a proactive approach to marketing security is not optional – it is imperative.
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