News Release


Date Published:

May 25, 2017

Forbes Agency Council

PR, media strategy, creative & advertising execs share trends & tip , forbes

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


It is human nature to trust people who we feel know and understand us. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience may offer a clue as to why. The study involved an experiment where participants were given a dollar that they could keep or “invest” with a partner — either a friend, classmate or computer — in order to earn more money. The partners, however, needed to share the dollar amount with each other as well. Not surprisingly, participants repeatedly trusted their friends and classmates more often than the computer, regardless of the partner’s responses.

Researchers also monitored participants’ brain activity during the experiment and found that their brains’ reward center was more activated when their friends shared the money versus the classmate or the computer. In other words, it was more pleasurable for participants to do business with a friend.

We can associate this same trust tendency and reward response as it applies to consumers and businesses as well. This is part of the reason why nearly every shopping website we visit now displays items based on our previous purchases, geographic location or demographic information we may have previously entered. When it is personalized, our brain is telling us that it is more worthy of our attention and consideration.

Automating Trust

The importance of trust is driving the growth of the $5.5 billion marketing automation market because it helps businesses face the reoccurring, complex challenge of reaching potential and current customers in the right channels with the right content at the right time to nurture the relationship.

This is a significant challenge for marketers who are typically tasked with making each customer feel like they are truly known by the brand — but, in many cases, they have never met the customer. Marketing automation enables businesses to overcome a lack of familiarity by creating highly personalized and relevant content, tracking engagement and nurturing relationships through consistent contact based on their preferences — all of which ultimately helps develop trusted relationships.

Successful marketing teams are leveraging automation to distinguish their brand through actions that connect, engage and build trusted relationships with customers while building the company’s reputation. Marketing automation does this in three key ways:

Personally Engaging

In business, recognizing customers’ unique pain points and goals — and offering them something of value without asking for anything in return — helps move along the trust-building process faster. Marketing automation allows marketers to personalize content to different segments of their audience, whether the goal is to reach more customers, increase awareness, build trust in the company or simply sell a product. Whether sending email campaigns with actionable tips and a link to an article or by sharing valuable web content (success stories, industry reports, webinars) that can’t be found anywhere else, marketing automation gradually builds trust over time and demonstrates credibility while leading customers further into your brand discovery.