Personal data: Do businesses offer a fair trade-off?

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Three-quarters of consumers are willing to offer their personal data up to brands, according to research and analysis from Aimia.

Yet, only 7% feel as though they are actually receiving better offers from companies as a result of sharing their details.  

The Global Loyalty Lens report, which surveys more than 20,000 consumers across 11 countries, found 48% of consumers were willing to share all kinds of personal information as long as they were offered “better offers and rewards” in return.

And this information ranged from their names (81%), email addresses (80%) and nationalities (77%) through to dates of birth (69%), hobbies (66%) and occupations (65%).

Millennial and Generation Z consumers are more willing to share their mobile phone number than other generations, according to Aimia’s research.  In the UK, 44% of 18-24 year olds are willing to share their mobile phone numbers, compared to 33% of Baby Boomers.

71% of consumers rank their data as ‘valuable’, with 30% placing it as ‘highly valuable’. However, the research states brands rarely offer a fair trade in exchange for consumer data, and this is something Aimia’s SVP for global digital strategy and futures, Martin Hayward, believes means we are fast approaching a tipping point for consumer data use, with people set to simply “turn off the taps” when they feel they’re no longer getting the return they’d expect:

“Customers are only just starting to learn about their data footprint – we’re all on a learning curve. If we can manage this curve sensibly and responsibly then it could be a golden moment ahead, where customers are willingly sharing data with brands and the brands are using the data to make the customers’ lives better, and more rewarding and personalised, and as a result the customer continues to share the data.

“Over the next couple of years that relationship needs to be firmed up though. Companies have to be very clear about the data they’re gathering, what they’re using it for and how the consumer benefits. The consumer has to see the benefit of sharing otherwise they’ll turn off the taps.”

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that customer trust in companies of all types has ALREADY fallen significantly over the past few years to the point where only 44% of customers now trust businesses. Hayward believes brands will have no choice but to be more transparent and put customers in control of their own data use, if they are to avoid being added to this statistic.

“It’s about building trust through transparency and honesty, but equally, putting the consumer in control. We’ve got to make sure we use technology to do things for and with customers, not to them. That distinction is vital.

“You have to ensure that you cover the three Ps – privacy, permissions and preferences. You have to have privacy, and that data is properly managed, and you have to get the consumer’s permission to use it. The next stage, preferences, allows the consumer to decide how their data is used and what sort of communications they get from you. That’s the next big stage. What those are will be up to the customer, whether it’s points, rewards, discounts…the relevant benefit will depend on the customer, and the only way of finding that out is to have a dialogue with them and have them express that in the process.” 

About Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.

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