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Majority of Consumers See No Benefit in Sharing Personal Data

Seventy-four percent of American and Canadian consumers said they don’t feel they’re receiving a benefit from sharing personal information with marketers, according to the latest survey research from LoyaltyOne. Just 52% said they somewhat or strongly agree with the statement that companies use their personal data “so they can better serve me.” Breaking down the somewhat and strongly agree responders, only 9% said they strongly agree that companies use their information to serve them better.
Hardly more encouraging, 54% said they expect improved customer service in exchange for their data, and 55% said they expect access to exclusive events or offers.
Toronto-based LoyaltyOne, a global provider of loyalty strategies, customer analytics and relationship marketing services, completed online surveys in July 2011 with 1,000 American and 1,000 Canadian respondents. The research was designed to test consumer attitudes about personal data collection and use by marketers. Findings suggest that marketers need to solve an important perception problem about the benefits accruing to the consumer for exchanging personal information.
Consumers tallied below 50% in acknowledging several of the basic benefits on the customer side of the personal information exchange equation:
Tailored offers based on what I buy (49%)
Advanced information on new products and services (41%)
Communications based on my preferences (41%)
Easier buying process (39%)
Preferential treatment (36%)
Product assortment improvements based on what they know I buy (36%).
Product discounts, a benefit not necessarily associated with the development of a long-term relationship between customer and company, scored highest (71%) as the offer that consumers expect to receive in exchange for their information.
“The message isn’t getting across to the consumer that the primary reason marketers use customer behavior data is to enhance the individual customer experience and build a deeper relationship,” LoyaltyOne President Bryan Pearson said.
Pearson directs six global enterprises at LoyaltyOne, including Canada’s AIR MILES Reward Program. He has written a book titled The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Inofrmation into Customer Intimacy to be published in May 2012 by Penguin Group in both the United States and Canada. On Nov. 1, 2011, Pearson will lead a 30-minute webinar about responsible data use marketing. The title is Winning Shopper Loyalty in an Age of Privacy Concerns: U.S. and Canadian Research Results. Registration and information is available at
When asked, what, if anything, have you done in the past 12 months to protect your personal information, 41% of American and Canadian survey takers said they’ve used cash instead of a credit card to protect their personal information. Respondents who said they have been notified that their personal information had been compromised were more likely to take action to protect themselves. Those who said they have been negatively affected by a compromise of their personal information were even more likely to take action. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they decided not to make a purchase from a company out of concern about use of their personal information.
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