SINGAPORE: Marketers increasingly understand the fine balance between protecting the privacy of personal data and brand outreach, a new industry report has found.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), working in conjunction with The Customer Framework, said that as data consumption increases marketers are investing more in protecting consumer privacy and thinking about how they manage personal data.

Creating localised and personalised offerings with first-person data is a high priority for marketers with 73% of respondents considering this to be "business critical" while 88% are planning on ramping up usage, Marketing Interactive reported.

Research has indicated that Southeast Asian consumers are more willing to loosen their data privacy settings for better or more targeted customer experiences.

Location-based data is a required feature of many heavily used apps in the region, which has allowed targeted push messaging.

But as major personal data breaches make the headlines, and the sheer amount of available data soars, consumers are worrying about the security of their data held by brands or on ecommerce portals.

In turn, brands are realising that in order to get quality first-person data for marketing purposes, they must first earn the trust of users by investing in data security measures beyond mere compliance or legal requirements.

85% of the marketers surveyed by WFA acknowledged that privacy is integral to building customer trust, but just 55% had customer information management strategies in place.

In many Southeast Asian markets, data security is a major issue. Despite increased laws and compliance, loopholes exist. Unsolicited spam to mobile phones remains a common complaint for consumers in Singapore.

For brands, setting their own brand communications apart from a deluge of data scammers will be key, and that begins with trust.

"Clarifying how data will be used and how consumer privacy will be protected, should be a fundamental component of a brand's strategy as it advances into DDM [data-driven marketing]", said Matt Green, senior global marketing manager at the WFA.

"Enhanced transparency and a strong value proposition will be vital to ensuring consumer trust in how the industry collects, stores and uses data today, and in the future."

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Tech in Asia; additional content by Warc staff