Openness can ease privacy concerns

30 June 2014
AUSTIN, TX: The strength of feeling that consumers have about how their personal data is used by companies has been borne out by recent research, although it also found transparency helps to allay some customer concerns.

A survey of 385 adult Americans by Software Advice, a data intelligence firm, found three-quarters (74%) of respondents preferred their data not to be collected or used at all, MarketingProfs reported.

Furthermore, over half (54%) "strongly agreed" that there should be tightened regulations about how companies collect and use customer data, a sentiment broadly shared by a further 18% who "somewhat agreed".

However, perhaps a surprisingly large proportion (24%) said they either "didn't know" or "didn't care" while younger people appeared to be more responsive to data collection, especially if offered personalised rewards.

Just over half (52.5%) of respondents aged 25-34 years-old said they opposed all forms of data collection and 24% of this age group said offering personalised deals and discounts would be an acceptable way for companies to use their data.

Also encouraging for brands, nearly 30% of all respondents said they would be "a lot less bothered" if they were told exactly what data was been collected and why.

A further 16% of respondents said they would be "slightly less bothered" in this situation, meaning nearly half (46%) were accepting as long as brands acted with transparency.

Even so, nearly a quarter (24%) remained adamantly opposed, stating they still would be "extremely bothered" by data collection, regardless of such openness, while another 16% said they would be "somewhat bothered".

Dave Jackson, CEO of Clicktools, an Arizona-based customer data company, advised brands that they would help themselves by ensuring a constructive approach.

"I think companies deserve the regulations they get," he said. "If they have the right mindset and the right attitude and approach … I don't think it will be a major issue for people."

Data sourced from MarketingProfs, Software Advice; additional content by Warc staff
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