General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Concept Illustration - 25 May 2018
Tom Welbourne

Tom Welbourne

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

Should Consumers Jeopardise Their Online Privacy For Personalisation

In today’s modern era, content is becoming highly personalised, which is extremely important for businesses and consumers alike. A recent study found that 80% of consumers like it when a service is tailored to them and their interests. However, the lack of transparency between companies and consumers, about what consumers personal information will be used for, has resulted in many questioning if exchange should occur. With Cyber-attacks becoming more common, during a period where marketers and businesses are progressively reliant on data, it has presented the paradox if consumers should jeopardise their online privacy for personalisation?

We live in an era where we have access to more information than we could have ever thought possible: all available through a click of a button. Data enables marketers to anticipate consumer behaviour and customer intent, and information plays a great deal in automating the delivery of customer experience and providing highly individualised interactions online. However, consumers have high regards to their online privacy and consumers have grown weary if they should jeopardies personal information being apprehended by the wrong person if disclosed. What’s worse is data breaches are happening way too often in too many places that it is hard to keep count, which has left many consumers uncertain if they should jeopardise their personal information for personalising.

The lack of transparency has also left consumers uncertain about what their personal information will be used for. A recent study showed that 89% of consumers say it is imperative to know how secure their information will be, and 86% of consumers seek an answer to what their personal information will be used for, but the problem is not just about organisations being transparent about the data they have collected and how they will use it. It is about giving consumers a say in what organisations do with it, this ultimately makes consumers more susceptible to exchanging personal information for other forms of value. 

The spread of communications and new technologies have presented ethical problems, with consumers demanding openness, honesty and integrity from organisations about what their personal information will be used for. Risks to privacy are greater than they have ever been and safeguarding sensitive information has become more significant, and more difficult to do. A new regulation is set to come in to effect on the 25th of May 2018 that will affect every organisation that captures customer data.  Under the General Data Protections Regulation (GDPR) organisations will need to be crystal clear about why personal information is being collected and what it will be used for. Companies must obtain consent for each and every usage of consumers personal information, and most importantly, organisations must now take steps to safeguard the data that consumers provide to ensure that it is not shared beyond the specifications that the customers have consciously agreed too.

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and certainly under GDPR, breaches of information will be accountable to the companies collecting, storing, and using consumer personal information. A study from the Information Commissioner’s Office (2017) found that only a fifth of people have trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing their personal information in the United Kingdom.

With GDPR soon being enforced, data privacy controls will be brought up-to-date with the digital era. However, GDPR should not be an excuse for organisations to start being honest and transparent with consumers about how their data will be used. When companies are seen to handle personal data with permission, in ways that grant tangible benefits to the individual; consumers are then more likely to give out personal information. Businesses will need to do more to make it worthwhile for customers to give up their personal information and put more emphasis on the need to create personalised experiences.  An important element of the new regulation is the change to the way that data is collected. Consent only exists for as long as it is given, this gives consumers a chance to change their minds about how their data is being used. The new legislation will require customers to opt in to having their information saved, which could mean that consumers will be more interested in the information they receive as they have agreed to interact and give consent to an organisation. For companies, if consumers give permission to receive information, then more effort can be put into creating effective personalised experiences.

Organisations must endeavour to assure that there is greater transparency over the use of consumer’s data, in a bid to build trust and confidence in this progressively formidable environment. GDPR will change the way businesses use data and the scale of change is massive and it is no surprise that customer data will continue to be advantageous, as it gives vital understanding to marketers that is needed to create more effective marketing campaigns, but as we enter an era of information transparency, it is not just about organisations being open about how consumers data will be used; it’s about giving customers a say in what organisations do with it. It is fundamental that companies are recognised for using data with respect, and not in means that create suspicion and mistrust. If businesses are transparent with consumers and show them the value of exchange, consumer are more often than not, happy to share their personal information, but the question still stands, should consumers jeopardise their online privacy for personalisation? The answer may not please everyone, but the answer is yes! There are numerous benefits for both organisations and consumers when personal information is disclosed, and new regulations will mean that companies will be obliged to be transparent about what customer information will be used for.

So, whether you are a client or prospect, you can be rest assured that The Good Marketer is GDPR compliant. We also have an in-house GDPR Expert who can assist with any questions you might have on how GDPR might affect your business. Get in touch via 0203 963 0810.


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