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New Study Shows U.S. Consumers Willing To Share Personal Data

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A new landscape is emerging in the U.S.: it is no longer a question of consumers’ willingness to share data but one of establishing a fair value exchange. This finding is highlighted in “Sexy Little Numbers,” a new book by Dimitri Maex, managing director of OgilvyOne New York, the digital direct arm of Ogilvy & Mather. “Sexy Little Numbers” shows how to grow your business using the data you already have.

“Despite the handwringing that has accompanied the age of ‘Big Data,’ our research shows that 72 percent of U.S. consumers are, in fact, willing to share data—they just want to receive fair value in exchange. This finding indicates a fundamental shift in the data privacy debates—and even in attitudes toward privacy—and foreshadows opportunities for those companies that figure out the value consumers place on their personal information. These forward-looking companies will have the edge as they are able to develop offers and incentives that draw consumers into more intimate relationships with brands,” said Maex.

There are three types of value exchanges: rewards and monetary benefits; better service; and transparency and control in data usage. Some distinct groups are emerging:

• The “Cash for Information” consumer: typically young professionals, 94 percent of whom will share information in exchange for monetary benefits;

• The “Privacy Cautious” consumer: typically older consumers, 41 percent of whom will share data such as their telephone number in exchange for better services. This number increases to nearly 50 percent among retired respondents;

• While 52 percent agreed that a cash reward was the most preferred exchange benefit, “Affluents” (those earning over $150,000) were more interested in receiving exclusive deals/discounts on products and services (51 percent).

“Before the digital age, it was fairly simple to target customers using direct mail and traditional customer relationship management (CRM) techniques,” said Maex. “Today, with every customer move transparent, the huge quantity of data that is now easily available gives companies an unprecedented window into how customers engage with brands—and more importantly—where that can lead to revenue.”


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