Could consumer scepticism and marketer confusion cause a ‘data sharing recession’?

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In partnership with the Foresight Factory, Rapp UK recently carried out a quantitative survey of 2,000 consumers and 100 marketers across seven different sectors (banking, mobile phones, fashion, beauty, hotels, airlines and automotive) to examine consumers and brand attitudes on the sharing of personal data.

The research revealed that consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical about sharing their information, while half of senior marketers don’t know how to offer value in return for consumers’ personal data. Coupled together, the two trends have the potential to lead to a data sharing recession for many businesses.

Our research suggested that 70% of consumers feel that no company has ever provided them with real value in exchange for their personal data. Furthermore, 40% of consumers feel sceptical about sharing their data and almost two thirds feel ‘out of control’ and worried about sharing it.

Perhaps the most alarming statistic from the research is that 50% of the senior marketers surveyed didn’t know what to do to make the value they offer more effective in encouraging data sharing.

With brands facing an uphill struggle to weave their way into people’s lives, it is absolutely imperative that they do more than meet their customers’ expectations: they must start offering more value in exchange for personal data. However, that doesn’t mean just bribing consumers with points or discounts.

At Rapp, we have formulated a data sharing equation:

Meeting expectations of the relationship for your sector


Using the right value lever for that relationship


Applying Privacy by Design


The perfect data value exchange for your brand

Brands need to place the data value exchange in real language for real people and design interactions that protect the consumer as well as deliver on the value levers of Choice, Control and Community. Above all, brands need to be more creative in meeting customer needs, which is especially important in the world of ad blockers and unsubscribers. Privacy by Design is absolutely critical if brands intend to survive the potential data sharing recession.

Privacy By Design is an internationally recognized approach to marketing systems that’s all about putting control in the hands of the customer. Privacy by Design is based on 7 foundational principles:

  • Proactive not reactive - preventative not remedial;
  • Privacy as the default setting;
  • Privacy embedded into design;
  • Full functionality – positive-sum, not zero-sum;
  • End-to-end security – full lifecycle protection;
  • Visibility and transparency – keep it open;
  • Respect for user privacy – keep it user-centric.

Under new General Data Protection Legislation, which comes into effect in May 2018, strict limits will exist on businesses that collect, use and share data from European citizens. Companies will face new requirements that compel them to rethink their approaches to customer privacy and implement new protections. The attitude ‘If I give you consent, this is what I gain’ will start to drive how consumers think about sharing and how they choose the brands they share with.

Brands need to be on the front foot, to anticipate the effect of this legislation and put consumer interests at the heart of their data systems and infrastructure. It is no longer enough for brands to just change a few words in their privacy policy, or offer to delete customers’ data. Points, discounts and offers will no longer suffice to persuade consumers to part with their personal information. Brands need to understand the new rules of engagement and adapt to their customers’ expectations so that they can thrive beyond the data sharing recession.

Shiona McDougall is senior vice president, strategy at RAPP UK