Data has transformed the ways in which brands are able to promote their products and services to customers. Data on customer feedback, for example, can help to bring in acquisitions by demonstrating a product’s high quality to an audience – and campaigns built around customer satisfaction rates are nothing new.
Data and information about a product itself has become an important selling point. Today’s conscious consumer pays more attention to what goes into their purchases, and marketing channels are now awash with data highlighting products’ ‘clean’ supply chains, environmental friendliness, and nutritional values. This is because of a serious level of demand; the UK’s ethical goods market is worth an estimated £38 billion, and organic food alone is worth over £1 billion.
However, while there are clearly rewards for brands that can harness data or information to attract the conscious consumer, there are severe penalties for those who ‘fudge’ their data in order to make themselves look better. Sainsbury’s has recently come under fire for misleading customers over the amount of salt in its children’s ready-meals, which seriously damaged the supermarket’s credibility. Brands which mislead customers also run the risk of being fined substantial amounts of money by regulators, which has further damaging effects.
Marketers therefore need to act with the upmost integrity when using data and information to sell their products. While data can certainly influence behaviour, the negative fallout from being misleading can result in extremely bad publicity.