Trust is the future of marketing.

Trust is the Future of Marketing

Imagine this.

It’s 9pm. You’re watching TV on your sofa. You hear a knock on the door. You aren’t expecting anybody. You open the door: it’s a man with a raincoat and a weird hat.

The scary man wearing his raincoat.
The scary man wearing his raincoat (source).

He’s scary looking.

He’s holding a box. Inside the box there’s a big red button. He tells you: “I’ll give you €1,000 right now if you press this button.”

He then continues: “If you press this button, somewhere far away, someone you don’t know, will die.”

He then gives you the box and leaves.

You’re thinking about this all night. You need the €1,000 but you don’t want to kill someone. On the other hand, it’s someone you don’t know who lives on the other side of the World so it doesn’t affect you at all.

It’s 7am in the morning and you can’t sleep. You decide to press the button. And then nothing.

Until you hear a knock on the door. It’s the man with the raincoat and the weird hat. He tells you: “Here’s your €1,000 as promised, please give me the box back.”.

You do as he says and he promptly leaves. You decide to stop him and ask: “Hold on a second. What now? What happens now?”.

“Well, he says, I’m going to give the box to someone far away, someone you don’t know.”

And then it hits you. You could die next!

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Today’s marketing

I first read this story in the book Incognito, by the neuroscientist David Eagleman.

It’s an allegory of today’s marketing.

Would you have taken the €1,000 if the man had asked you to kill someone with your bare hands?

It’s unlikely (unless you’re a psychopath).

The lack of emotional connection between you and this person you don’t know who lives far away makes you do something you never thought you would do: kill someone.

We, marketers, interrupt people with aggressive online popups, spammy emails, or annoying ads.

We pollute the Internet with blend content or bad stock photos.

We trick or lie to people with confusing wording, clickbait articles and dark patterns.

We do this because we tend to forget that there are people behind every screen. That the traffic coming to our website is in fact made of people just like you and me.

We wouldn’t interrupt people on the street to sell our stuff. Yet, we do it online everyday.

We’re fighting hard against this in Slices, our approach is different than most.

Trust is the future of marketing

Instead of chasing short-term gains like reaching our next quarter targets or making even more money, I believe that the future of marketing lies in one word: trust.

According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer:

  • 48% of people who distrust a company refused to buy their products/services,
  • and 42% of people who distrust a company openly critized it.
Behaviours for distrusted companies


  • 68% of people who trust a company chose to buy their products/services,
  • 59% recommended it to a friend or a family member,
  • and 41% shared positive opinions online.
Behaviours for trusted companies.
Behaviours for trusted companies.

Money isn’t the currency of marketing, trust is.

Focusing on trust

There a few ways to build trust.

  • Caring for people and understanding them: We need to spend the time to understand people (customers and employees alike) so we can provide them with what they need.
  • Fighting the good fight and standing up for something: Yes, focusing on generating money is important, but contributing to the greater good is also something worth considering.
  • Being authentic: Avoid bad stock photos or jargon and focus on being yourself.
  • And, the most obvious, selling great products and services: In the future, people will choose which companies to listen to and to buy from. Marketers won’t have much to say in the matter. If the products you sell are not good enough, people will never buy from you again. It will be even more difficult to survive.

So, what will you choose: money or trust?

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  • Dani

    So what exactly do we need trust for?

    • To have people who want to buy from you, who recommend you to others, and who come back for more.