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It’s a typical workday and you visit a potential partner website for the first time. As you start to scroll, a teaser for a potentially great piece of content catches your eye. You click, and you’re hit with a form fill – which, in the B2B world, has become as ubiquitous as a Taylor Swift friendship bracelet – as a final step to access the information.

As a marketer, you know this value exchange all too well. But how do you know that you – or, in this case, the vendor that’s gating the information you need – are handling it correctly?

2023 Trust in Marketing Index: The trust gap

With brand trust so important to senior buying decisions, how can marketers ensure their content marketing is boosting and not busting key customer relationships?

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A recent survey that led to the creation of the Informa Tech Trust in Marketing Index found 65% of B2B technology buying decision makers who responded provide personal information in exchange for B2B content at least seven times a year. And 95% of those respondents also said they recognise the importance of marketers having their personal data in order to prioritise communications appropriately.

With buyer expectations at an all-time high, how do B2B marketers navigate this privacy paradox while persuading buyers to willingly share their data? Luckily, the Trust in Marketing Index also provides some answers. Let’s dive in.


Know their dealbreakers, then start building trust

The marketing concept of “know, like, trust” (KLT) is more important than ever in today’s consent-driven buyer journey. When you put trust at the centre of your brand promise and marketing operations, data is no longer a four-letter word, but rather a selling point to create more personalised user experiences.

The bridge to building trust begins with instilling confidence in your audience. The aforementioned survey found the top concerns stopping buyers from sharing data in exchange for receiving a piece of high-quality gated B2B content range from data protection (46%), to the number of form fields (43%) to the inability to verify the reputation of the company (43%).

Without taking steps to address these significant sticking points, buyers won’t schedule a demo, add to their shopping cart, download your white paper or share any real personal information. (This is a friendly prompt to check your database and delete all the noticeably fake emails.)


Be transparent on information use

Be crystal clear about how you’ll use a prospect’s information when they share it with you. Building on the previous theme of trust, removing uncertainty and giving them an idea about next steps is crucial. Show, don’t tell, what a new subscriber will be receiving. For example, consider linking to an ungated content asset to lend credibility that you’re offering something valuable and relevant for your buyers.

Think about the buyer journey in terms of the benefits they’ll receive, such as more personalised content offers and an enhanced user experience. When asked to pick the top two reasons they’re most commonly disappointed with content, B2B technology buying decision makers’ top complaint was that the content was too general (42%) and that it lacked specific examples (31%). Buyers download content with the expectation that you’re not just capturing their data to sell to them, but rather you’re giving them help in solving a current challenge or going deep on a timely topic.

As marketers, it’s up to us to take surprises out of the customer relationship by being more empathetic, transparent and responsive. By improving customer experiences and enhancing data collection practices with greater clarity, brands will begin to gain a competitive advantage.


Everything has changed

In our new era of trust, it’s not enough to rely on information captured from a form-fill. Instead, you must cultivate relationships with your buyers at every stage. Receiving quality content (65%) is the clear number one reason B2B technology buying decision makers said they’d want to share their data with a brand.

Here are some tips to elevate your brand reputation and make prospects more likely to share their personal data.

Lean into branded content

Our data shows your B2B customers aren’t necessarily looking to neutral sources of information when searching for industry solutions and trends. Brands that are able to put relevant information in front of customers are well-positioned to capture personal data.

Elevate your SMEs

Highlighting knowledgeable industry thought leaders – both internal experts and trusted partners who have a distinct point of view – is a key strategy for producing high-quality content. In fact, 85% of survey respondents believe high-quality thought leadership B2B content improves the perception of a brand. Aligning your brand with these names will help legitimise your brand in the eyes of buyers.

Make customers part of your brand family

Loyalty or membership programs are an example of how you can balance buyer’s privacy preferences with more tailored content. For example, at sign-up, ask your subscribers about various products or services they’d like to learn more about and how often they want to receive communications from you. This gives you the freedom to personalise your content offerings aligned to the buyer’s expectations, resulting in more opportunities to become a brand they trust.

Clarity around data collection

 Data privacy collection needs to be a thoughtful, comprehensive cross-functional strategy. Partner with your legal and IT counterparts to understand the scope of regulations and standards where marketing needs to align with your business operations. Embrace first-party data acquisition tactics as a non-negotiable marketing approach. Shift your mindset around first-party data as a business investment, not just ticking the compliance box. Invest in the people, processes, and tools that will give you a leg up on offering more audience-centric services built from the data you’ve gathered from willing prospects.

In the words of award-winning content marketer Jay Acunzo, “Our work isn’t about who arrives. It’s about who stays.” Today’s savvy B2B buyers are exposed to hundreds of content offerings making it extremely challenging to capture their attention, create demand, and build brand authority so they’ll “like hanging out with you” and “stay, stay, stay.”

Rather than having your buyers opt-out, unsubscribe or see an unwelcome form field then shake it off, demonstrate that you’re honouring their privacy decisions from the start. The winning formula to brand differentiation? Combine context on the value exchange you’re establishing with creative, compelling content that addresses your audience’s challenges with worthwhile solutions.

The 2023 Informa Tech Trust In Marketing Index  explores what B2B technology buying decision makers really think about topics like content excellence, personalization, targeting and timing. Download it today to learn how your marketing team can gain an advantage with this key target audience.