Online marketing campaigns need to be seen as secure as well as being innovative and engaging if they are to connect with an increasingly web-savvy customer base, it has been claimed.

The latest edition of the annual TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Index, released late last month, found six in ten web users to be more concerned about their privacy than they were in 2013.

Given the shocking revelations about the NSA that made headlines last year, this caution is entirely understandable, with Britons worried about how their personal data is likely to be used.

However, firms can take the initiative and ensure that potential buyers – on a b2b as well as a b2c basis – feel comfortable in engaging with their advertising initiatives.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a highly secure system for this form of marketing, with the tech giant keen to be seen as a trustworthy partner when it comes to data security.

"We proactively monitor to help identify potential unknown threats by predicting malicious behaviour and monitoring for irregular events that may indicate threats," the company claimed.

TRUSTe European managing director Ken Parnham said: "After a barrage of media headlines about government surveillance programmes such as NSA's PRISM, it is perhaps unsurprising that consumer online trust has fallen to its lowest point yet … it is a wake-up call for businesses."

Considering that the data contained within a CRM system can often be a business' most valuable asset when it comes to marketing, it's obvious that choosing the right provider is crucial.

And in the light of the TRUSTe report showcasing widespread consumer concern over privacy, this looks like an even more important decision.

Lack of trust can result in a drop in sales and restrict the growth of the digital economy as b2b or b2c customers prefer to use traditional marketing tools which they consider to be more secure, so firms need to take a great deal of care with their data handling.