Trust is a Privilege: How to Build a Healthy Relationship with Consumers

March 4, 2020

Lester Holze, marketing services’ VP of sales and retail/CPG at Experian, discussed how to manage data and technology to ensure your marketing efforts meet customer expectations to solidify a positive, long-term relationship with them.

Marketers need to navigate the evolution of identity while maintaining trust and the consumer experience. Understanding the expanding data and technology universe and leveraging it to build trust and achieve effective consumer engagement is imperative. With so much data available, marketers have an obligation to protect and use it responsibly at all times.

According to the Winterberry Group, there are 20 connected devices per person in the U.S. In addition, U.S. adults spend four hours or more on their mobile devices every day in 2020, according to eMarketer; connected TV users are projected to surpass 200 million in 2020.

Clearly people are more connected than ever, and yet reports indicate they are more distrustful than before, indicating an interesting relationship to technology — and the control companies have and lack of control consumers possess.

Thus, the value exchange feels disingenuous. As Holze explained, there is a “consumer debt experience,” where consumers feel less incentive to purchase from brands that lack transparency. Mass consumer data collection erodes consumer trust, meaning that companies need to rebuild trust in everyone’s best interest.

Data is at the heart of the consumer and brand experience, but there are large disparities between what people want and what companies are doing, namely with trust and transparency.

According to Holze, 88 percent of global consumers want more control over the use of their data, 73 percent are willing to share more information when companies are transparent, 81 percent of consumers say they’ve become more concerned about how companies use their data, and 75 percent of people are less likely to trust companies with data.

Data and tech need to work together to find solutions and help manage consumer expectations, Holze recommended. “This is called smart data,” he stated. To create and establish smart data, companies need to:

  • Consider source and security through clarity, consent, and control. Consumers want to know why you’re collecting data, how it’s being used, and have some control over it. Being able to opt out is crucial for consumers, as it gives them control over their identity and lives.
  • Break new ground with technology. Technology should be used to enhance marketing while putting consumers at ease that their privacy is being respected. Companies need to be catalysts for consumer trust.

Case studies:


The company overlaid behavioral and transactional data to understand its consumers better and create a better value exchange for its VIP members. To create an emotional connection, customers are able to donate shoes and receive a value report to see the outcome. As a result, the company saw a 9 percent increase in new customers and a 6 percent increase in year-over-year sales.


Starbucks has a membership program where people can order drinks to pick up ahead of time, and receive other benefits, such as free drinks. This drives 36 percent of its sales, showing its intrinsic value to customers and to the business.


"Trust Is a Privilege: Rethinking How We Use Data to Increase Engagement." Lester Holze, Marketing Services' VP of Sales and Retail/CPG at Experian. 2020 ANA Masters of Data and Technology Conference, 3/4/20.

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