Most Consumers Don’t Understand What Businesses Are Doing With Their Data

Consumers are wary of how companies use their personal data, and businesses’ data privacy strategies are impacting their customer relationships. While new legislation is holding businesses more accountable for how they are using and protecting consumer data, and brands are focused on compliance in these regulations to avoid financial penalties, stepping out of line can result in far costlier repercussions with their customers. Research from enterprise marketing software provider Tealium found that 85 percent of consumers won’t forgive a company’s misuse of data, even if they previously trusted the brand.

Tealium's 2019 Consumer Data Privacy Report surveyed 1,000 consumers about their relationships with brands and personal data privacy. The study found that almost all (97%) consumers are somewhat or very concerned about protecting their data, but the majority simply don’t have the time or prowess to educate themselves. This highlights that it’s the responsibility of businesses to educate consumers, manage and communicate privacy practices and protect consumer data.

Tealium advises brands to prioritize compliance for both the present and future as the survey found that 91 percent of consumers say they want their state or federal government to adopt strict regulations to protect their data. The company believes that GDPR and CCPA are just the start of a much larger regulatory wave.

Businesses are also advised to create a clear value exchange for data collected. The survey found that 43 percent of consumers say they’d provide detailed data about themselves to a brand for a discount, and another 32 percent would do so for exclusive benefits or perks. Businesses should also practice transparency throughout the entire customer journey. Tealium suggests that this could be as simple as rewriting consumer-facing legal and policy pages, which 72 percent of consumers would be more likely to read if they were shorter and 61 percent if they were more straightforward.

“While all data privacy acts have their differences, they point to the same truth—we must manage customer data the way our customers would expect us to manage it. That means keeping it organized, accessible and protected, and using it to provide value back to the consumer,” says Jeff Lunsford, CEO of Tealium. “More data privacy regulations are inevitable in the U.S., so brands must prioritize and future-proof themselves by finetuning their strategies to abide by these standards, while continuing to bring innovative customer experiences to market.”

The full report is available here.

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