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Forrester warns mobile marketers to take more consideration over privacy

14th Jun 2015
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The high-profile hacks that led to a number of celebrities having revealing photos leaked online in 2014 may be rooted in issues around cloud security, but at the story’s core is a debate about smartphones and privacy.    

And while the leaks were criminal acts currently under investigation by the FBI, the upshot of all the press attention has been that consumers are starting to think more about their own personal information and how they can protect their smartphone data more effectively.

Forrester’s marketing analyst, Thomas Husson recently wrote a blog post to coincide with the new report ‘How Will People Trust You?’ outlining this point, stating that marketers relying on mobile phone data to attract and retain customers may soon be faced with a far more stringent and knowledgeable audience, which valued trust over anything else a brand might offer.

Titling his blog “Build trust or die”, Husson said that, “no matter how quickly wearables and connected objects emerge in the next 10 years, mobility has already introduced a paradigm shift: the ability to collect and use data about individuals in the physical world.

“Mobility will change the nature of the data marketers can use and act upon. Data collected via mobile will be much more sensitive, more personal and more contextual. Via sensors on wearables or smartphones, marketers will access data on our bodies and our whereabouts in real-time.”

While Husson acknowledged that this represented great opportunities for marketers, it also meant that consumers were likely to become more savvy about how their data was being used on mobile devices, and that the age of the customer would “lead to new consumer rights”:

“Historically, each industrial revolution has led to a new set of regulations. The digital revolution will see the progressive appearance of new laws centered around data and the respect of individual liberties and responsibilities However, regulators will be slow to define global privacy standards. Instead of waiting for regulation, it is critical for brands and vendors in the data and marketing ecosystems to evolve their business practices now to build trust.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their data and expect brands to deliver clear benefits in exchange of the personal data they share. Moving forward, we believe consumers will increasingly take control of the brand relationship via mobile trusted agents. Brand trust will be built on mobile experiences.”

Forrester’s report finds that privacy concerns about smartphones are quickly catching up and set to overtake those around desktop computers. Citing “hidden harvesting” in mobile apps as a top fear among consumers, it states that consumers are still in a “novelty phase” with smartphones, but that the growing frequency of high-profile hacks was quickly changing this mindset.    

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