A combination of widespread fake news and massive data breaches has led marketers to believe that consumers are wary of how their data is being managed. They aren’t wrong. According to new research from Accenture Strategy, which surveyed 24,877 consumers across 33 countries, 79 percent of global consumers are “frustrated that some companies can’t be trusted.” Despite this global sentiment, the modern consumer understands that their data holds intrinsic value and will continue sharing their personal information in exchange for an improved online experience. Online users want personalized targeting without feeling that their data may become compromised or shared without their consent. A commitment must be made by all stakeholders, from agencies to technology companies, to reassure the modern-day consumer that their data is safe, anonymized, and being used to better their overall online experience.
Why are consumers still sharing data?
Most online users demonstrate a high awareness and acceptance of data exchange across global markets. They understand that their data is valuable and is being used to target their buying potential more than ever before.
44 percent of U.S. consumers feel more comfortable with data exchange than they did in the past, and that number jumps to over 54 percent for millennials, according to Data Privacy: What the Consumer Really Thinks, a study by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). Globally, over half of consumers across 10 global markets are also increasingly open to sharing their personal information. These people are often referred to as data pragmatists. Data Pragmatists (as defined by the DMA) include those online users that will make trade-offs on a case-by-case basis as to whether the service or enhancement of a service offered is worth the information requested. They are willing to share their data for something in return.
Data pragmatists know that many brands have moved on from the days of delivering catalogs to their doors, and generalized emails to their inboxes, and are using consumer data to tailor messaging that corresponds to their individual shopping habits. However, some brands are failing to harness the power of consumer data. Brands have an overwhelming number of rich consumer data points that are often overlooked leaving data pragmatists feeling frustrated that companies are failing to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. Additionally, as more brands succumb to data breaches, data pragmatists will continue losing trust in how their data is managed and ultimately refuse to share data. To ensure that consumers continue a healthy data exchange with businesses, they need to be targeted appropriately and their data must be managed with the utmost care.
How do data pragmatists want to be targeted?
The truth is, the sentiment that consumers are uncomfortable sharing their data is a myth. It’s dismissive to assume that the consumers we are trying to reach do not understand the power that their data holds. Consumers are comfortable when they have complete visibility into what is being collected and when they understand who is using it and how, and that it is protected and anonymized. These consumers are still opting-in to sharing their data, but for how long?
Users are doing their part in the bargain, and it is now up to the stakeholders to hold up their end, as it’s no longer a responsibility to respect the consumer — it’s a necessity. Any organization that collects consumer data needs to reassure consumers of the following when it comes to how their data is managed:
- Personalization: Brands and agencies must partner with technology providers that are highly skilled in data analytics and utilization. If consumers are sharing their data, they want their online and in-app advertising to reflect their needs and grow frustrated when messaging is generic.
- Anonymity: All stakeholders need to simply explain how data remains anonymous. Publishers should serve informed consent notices, not forced opt-ins, and technology partners should be 100 percent GDPR compliant. Consumers want to make sure you don’t know their names or any other sensitive information. Providing them with a simple education of how this is done will allow for better brand trust.
- Security: Internal resources, from personnel to budgets, must be carved out to ensure your organization does not succumb to a massive data breach. Every organization, from SMEs to multi-nationals, needs someone who is wholly responsible for security. This person should be able to identify and plan for any potential threats.
While much of the work still needs to be done, there are technology partners that publishers, brands, and agencies can reach out to for support. Helping consumers make informed decisions about how they share their personal information is not only responsible, it is necessary.
Jules Minvielle is Co-Founder / Chief Strategy Officer. He has been an entrepreneur and an expert in marketing technologies for 10 years. As well, he is and was an advisor and shareholder of several companies in the digital marketing industry. He is now the co-founder and chief strategy officer at Ogury, a 230 employees technology company specialized in mobile journey marketing.
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