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Consumer Data Collection Okay if Fair Return

“Big data” has now become a staple of the modern marketer’s toolkit – along with real-time communications through social media, e-commerce-based websites and other tools designed to foster a sense of intimacy and trust in an increasingly impersonal marketplace.Yet the data shows that companies today are continuing to score low in the trust department when it comes to how well they protect consumers’ sensitive personal data. For instance, 57.9 percent of internet users and 60.6 percent of U.S.-based marketing executives stated their belief that companies still don’t do enough to protect user privacy and data. [Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), 2015]

Microsoft’s own bi-annual Digital Trends report, which includes the Customer Data Value Exchange Study, supports this same conclusion. 56 percent of e-commerce consumers believe companies collect their personal data without their knowledge or consent. Just 41 percent of the same willingly and knowingly share their personal data with companies and brands while shopping. It is easy to see why companies are continuing to lose consumers’ trust with such a large gap (15 percent) in understanding how, when, why, how and for what purposes customer data is collected.

For consumers who do opt to willingly share their personal data with companies, they often expect something in return. This incentive or reward, called the “customer value exchange,” can be anything from cash to coupons, discounts to deals.


Click image to view the full infograph.

Here is how these perks rank in order of consumer preference:

  • 64 percent of consumers want cash in exchange for sharing data.
  • 49 percent want “significant discounts.”
  • 29 percent to know the data will be used to streamline processes in the future.
  • 26 percent want access to useful new services.

Consumers Expect Value in Exchange for their Personal Data

Periodically, Aimia conducts an international research survey. The latest survey polled 20,000+ consumers in 11 countries to learn about how and why consumers share personal data with companies and what they hope for in return.

Here is what the survey data showed:

  • 80+ percent of respondents in all 11 countries stated their willingness to share personal data (name, email, nationality).
  • 70+ percent of the same stated their willingness to share birthdates, hobbies and careers.
  • Just 23 percent of respondents stated they felt the data shared had been used to personalized communications and processes to their individual preferences and needs.
    Click image to view the full infograph.
    Unfortunately, this points to the need for a great deal more effort on the part of companies, brands and marketers to reassure consumers that their personal data is being used in a trustworthy manner to deliver value. Without this necessary trust-enhancing result, companies are poised to lose customers to competitors through mis-use or under-use of consumer data.