Solving Performance Marketing’s Trust Problem

Jan 14, 2020

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The world of performance marketing is facing an inevitable epoch of transition and challenge, the crux of which is informed by the handling - and oftentimes mishandling - of first party data. In this blog we will aim to briefly examine the problems this newfound mistrust may cause, from both the perspective of the performance marketer and, more importantly, the people we are marketing to.

A New Problem (and old attitudes).

Go back ten years and the concept of personal data would have meant almost nothing to the average person. Indeed, many performance marketers were able to leverage this ignorance to great effect through the buying and selling of list data. In a pre-GDPR world there was a lot of money to be made through the very deliberate exploitation of personal data, with many ahead of the curve capitalising upon this new industry to achieve great (if inevitably short term) results. Of course, with the growth of the industry and stricter regulations on how data is acquired and handled, there has already been an inevitable period of change within performance marketing.

It could be argued, however, that the public attitude to performance marketing is at an all time low despite the improvements GDPR has offered in terms of eradicating the bad practices of the past. Indeed, there has been something of a delayed reaction and performance marketers are now facing a backlash based on the breaches of trust many enacted years before GDPR was even considered. As is often the way, technological developments far outstrip the public’s understanding, and as such, even if we recognise the improvements within the handling of personal data, we must recognise the public’s collective consciousness is some way behind.

Many articles within the digital and performance marketing zeitgeist are now trying to address this growing mistrust by focusing upon fraudulent data within the industry - indeed, we at Databowl have ourselves posted many articles on how to eradicate fraudulent data from your process. The problem with this is we are too focused on our marketing and not focused enough upon the people we are marketing to. If we are to solve performance marketing’s trust problem, we must change the way we think; we must stop worrying about our performance and start worrying about the sanctity of the data we acquire and handle. If we are able to do this our performance will improve as part of a longer term strategy.

When it comes to lead generation, what is good for you should also be good for your leads.

At Databowl we strongly believe that the best way to improve your lead generation is not to generate more leads, but to generate better leads. Certainly, a key part of this is eradicating fraudulent data from your process saving you time and money. However, for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on improving performance marketing from the perspective of the lead only.

Think about every time you’ve seen a banner ad only tangentially related to something that interests you. Think about every time you’ve furiously hit unsubscribe on an email you don’t ever remember signing up for. Think about every time you’ve been retargeted for that ridiculously expensive house / car you looked at just for fun, but in reality could never afford. Now, think about your value as a “lead” to those companies running those adverts. Essentially, with no chance of conversion, those ads are worthless. Those calls you receive on the back of them are wasted time and money that a company is incurring.

Now, imagine you only receive perfect ads at the perfect time and delivered in the perfect way. Imagine when you’re actively looking to in fact buy the car, you then receive the ad. Imagine you reach the age where you feel able to invest in a dream home and you then become a lead. Let’s say you are as engaged as ever to purchase whatever product you’re imagining right now… and then think about your value as a lead in this world.

Perhaps this seems like a dream way of doing things? Perhaps this seems like a dream world of performance marketing? Well, as always, technology is advancing at an incredible speed. Indeed, we are able to make that dream world a reality right now.

Finally, think about your value to others as a performance marketer if you can offer leads from this second scenario compared to the first. As established before, what is good for your lead generation will first be good for your leads!

Think of GDPR as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

To end with, let’s briefly look at GDPR a year or so on. We’ve known many people who have been terrified of GDPR impacting their process or the ICO issuing them huge fines. Ultimately, this fear is born from mindset. Indeed, this fear comes because they view GDPR as an obstacle to overcome.

Instead, we recommend using GDPR as an opportunity to reset the way you are acquiring and handling data. If you are operating in an ethical and transparent way then you have no need to worry. If you are operating in a way that benefits your leads then you will see the long term benefits within your lead generation.

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