At least once a year there is a data privacy-related drama that causes consumers to renews their vows of scepticism towards relinquishing their personal information to companies. Most recently the Stateside shenanigans of the NSA have cast a spotlight on the way companies gather and use consumer data, and with increased media spotlight – this trend of continual scrutiny is only set to grow.

Yet, as consumers subject to the ‘cult of busyness’, we are also quick to forgive abuses of data-gathering if it means we will ultimately have an easier life. One such example of how handing over our data makes our lives easier is the rise of personalized consumer experiences.

Your data for personalization: a fair exchange?

Research shows consumers are willing to hand over the data for a relevant experience

Personalization offers consumers a quick and targeted way to access the products and services most relevant to them—helping decrease search time and increase the likelihood of finding the product, service or piece of content of most interest and relevance.

Whilst customers are increasingly showing an interest in having trusted brands personalize their browsing experience, they are essentially bartering away their privacy in return for the convenience and experience.

Accenture recently conducted a study that found that the majority of consumers in both the United States and United Kingdom are willing to have trusted retailers use their personal data in order to present personalized and targeted products and services.

The study’s key components (from a sample of 2,000 US and UK consumers), found that:

  • 86 percent of those customers were concerned that their data was being tracked
  • 85 percent said they understood that data tracking make it possible for retailers to present them with relevant and targeted content.
  • 52 percent said they are receptive to having trusted brands track their data in return for a personalized shopping experience.

When consumers were asked to decide between personalized shopping experiences based on their past habits of shopping or non-personalized experiences in exchange for having retailers not track their data:

  • 64 percent of respondents said they would prefer the personalized experience.
  • Another 64 percent of consumers said they would be willing to have brands send them text messages to provide personalized offers based on previous purchase history when shopping.
  • 73 percent of consumers surveyed said they desire to do business with retailers who use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant,
  • 88 percent of consumers think that companies should give them the flexibility to control how their personal information is being used to personalize their shopping experience.

Over at the Direct Marketing Association, their fourth fast.Map tracking report (published February 2013) revealed the number of consumers happy to provide their data to brands selling ‘products they might consider buying’ has climbed nearly 45% in the past 18 months from less than two in ten (20%) to three in ten (29%). Six in 10 (63%) of consumers are now willing to share their information with brands ‘selling products they have to buy’ compared just over half (56%) in April 2011. Over 50% are willing to provide basic information such as one’s name, address and email to businesses, an increase of 63% on average from 2011.

Brands need to capitalise on this consumer generosity to deliver better marketing

What can brands learn from the research?

With the increased use of technologies, apps that track geo-location, and online retail sites that obtain user data, consumers will likely grow more and more accustomed, and willing, to having their data tracked—as long as they are getting something valuable in return. For the time-being, it seems as though consumers are willing to share their data with trusted brands who can offer them a relevant and personalized experience.

The question is – will brands capitalise on this newfound consumer generosity to do exciting marketing that is dynamic, evolving and personalized, or will they continue to deliver marketing that is static, planned and broadcast?

If this piques some interest, or you want to chat about how this intelligent content personalization might work in your situation, just drop us an email to [email protected], or on Twitter at @idioplatform