What the channel can learn from Airbnb to build trust
While many complain that technology has allowed people to move farther apart from each other, there are plenty of examples of how it has helped people establish greater trust in one another.
It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of paying to stay in a complete stranger’s home rather than a hotel would be viewed as creepy and irresponsible. How do you know your host isn’t dangerous? How can you be sure the property you’ve signed up for is actually clean and functional?
Of course, in 2017, you hardly have to be a daredevil to use Airbnb. That’s mostly due to people’s trust in the technological aspect of the situation. The technology enables guests and property owners to share information with the whole world about their interaction. That means that owners can be held accountable for poor conditions and guests face consequences to their online reputation if they misbehave, don’t pay etc.
Recent technological innovation has also brought major changes to the world of B2B, providing for greater trust in the relationships between vendors, channel partners and buyers. Perhaps ironically, the trust is both the result of an increased ability of vendors and partners to share information as well as an increased ability to work together without sharing sensitive data.
Marketing Automation Provides Reliable Transparency
One innovation that has helped facilitate greater trust between vendors and resellers in the IT space is Through Channel Marketing Automation. The way TCMA works, a partner provides its customer list to a vendor for the purposes of an email marketing campaign that the vendor will fund and execute but will come via the partner (and will feature both vendor and partner brands).
Once upon a time, it was unfathomable for a partner to share information as valuable and sensitive as their customer list. Doing that might allow the vendor to intentionally or unintentionally leak that information to other partners in the channel or for the vendor to simply target the customers directly themselves.
However, TCMA solutions, such as those provided by OneAffiniti, serve as an impenetrable wall between the information the partner is providing and the vendor. Partners can rest assured that the customer base they have worked to build will not be shared with the vendor.
TCMA campaigns also facilitate trust through improved metrics that help show the partner and the vendor the value of their collaboration. A strong TCMA campaign will generate real-time data to show the partner what digital and social media content is having the greatest effect. In that way, the technology holds itself accountable, delivering evidence of its value.
Empowered Partners Lead to Greater Accountability
The incredible ability we now possess to share information bolsters accountability in the vendor-partner relationship. In an age when information can travel the world in nanoseconds, one unhappy reseller can quickly turn into a global public relations liability for a major tech company. As a result, it’s more important than ever before that vendors show partners that they can be trusted.
In essence, a vendor that mistreats a partner runs the same risk as an Airbnb host whose shower doesn’t run and whose WiFi doesn’t work. Or an Uber driver who shows up late and spends the ride fumbling with the GPS on his cell phone. They get a bad reputation and they lose business as a result.
The cornerstone of business success has always been trust between a company and its customers. But in a world where information now flows freely online, building trust with customers, partners and employees is an even more crucial part of brand management.