Brands Should Improve Privacy Policies As Consumers Become More Willing To Share Data

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Companies seeking to reach more customers should install robust data privacy controls to improve their credibility in the eyes of consumers, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) suggests in its Customer Acquisition Barometer 2014.

The research, which was jointly carried out with customer acquisition company McDowall and questioned 1,509 UK consumers, shows that data privacy has now become a “critical brand differentiator,” as customers increasingly share personal information with brands that use trusted channels and are transparent in their terms. Around 85% of consumers would be ready to share information if the brand has explicitly stated the data will be used by the brand only. Nearly a third of consumers expect brands to have a coherent and easily accessible privacy policy.

The DMA found that 52% of UK consumers have voluntarily shared personal information with a company in the past year.

Most consumers (43%) now prefer to exchange information with a brand via e-mail as it has been determined as the most trusted channel of communication; trailing just behind was the specific brand website, which is the preferred channel for data sharing by 42% of consumers. Social media, meanwhile, was rated as the least trusted channel for providing sensitive information by 54% of consumers.

The findings from the study imply that today’s marketers need to be quick to tailor their business models to reflect the changing behaviours of their consumers and place greater emphasis on effective customer acquisition based on trust and transparency, DMA’s executive director Chris Combemale commented.