- Chief marketing officers need to be more mindful of consumer privacy as they develop marketing strategies to personalize brand experiences, consulting firm Accenture recommends in a new report shared with sister publication Marketing Dive. Most consumers (69%) said they wouldn't do business with a brand if its data usage was invasive, based on a survey of 8,000 consumers.
- Consumers want to know more about how brands are using personal data. The portion of consumers who said they're willing to share more when brands are transparent rose to 73% this year from 66% in 2018, the survey found. Among consumers who said they had received invasive marketing messages, 71% said it was because a brand had information about them of their family that they didn't share directly.
- Despite their concerns about privacy, consumers want brands to know and understand their personal needs, with 87% saying it's important to buy from a brand or retailer that "understands the real me." Most consumers (93%) also said it’s important that every interaction with a brand is "excellent."
Accenture's study highlights the challenge that CMOs face in personalizing products and services for customers while respecting their growing demands for privacy. Highly publicized data breaches and continual warnings about the perils of identity theft have made consumers wary of sharing personal information that underpin data-driven marketing strategies. Lawmakers and regulators throughout the world are responding to these growing worries by cracking down on data-sharing or by requiring more transparency among companies that collect consumer information.
CMOs face hurdles in this environment, with 51% of consumers saying invasive ads had increased and almost 30% saying a brand had gotten "too personal." Consumers also are suspicious of emerging technologies that promise to make their lives easier while collecting more data about them. More than 75% of consumers said they are uncomfortable with data collection through microphones or voice assistants. The finding suggests that tech companies need to provide better disclosures of how they use the data they collect through virtual assistants, which use artificial intelligence (AI) to customize the user experience of individuals.
Accenture's findings support those of other recent surveys that found consumers don't consider personalization a worthwhile trade-off for disclosing more of their personal information. U.S. consumers are less willing to share every type of personal information — including gender, race, marital status, employment status, sexual orientation and citizenship status — if it will be used for personalizing advertisements, per an Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) study cited by eMarketer.
Similarly, about 55% of U.S. consumers had an unfavorable attitude toward personalized ads based on big data, compared with 35% with a favorable attitude, according to a survey by the American Marketing Association New York. The percentage of internet users in the U.S. and Europe who said they believe data-sharing leads to better products and services dipped to 29% in 2018 from 31% a year earlier, per a separate survey by risk-management firm RSA Security.