Exchanging personal information with marketers

Seventy-four percent of American and Canadian consumers said they don't feel they're receiving a benefit from sharing personal information with marketers, according to the latest survey research from Toronto-based LoyaltyOne.


In an online survey of 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Canadians, just 52 percent somewhat or strongly agree with the statement that companies use their personal data "so they can better serve me." Breaking down the somewhat and strongly agree responders, only 9 percent strongly agree that companies use their information to serve them better. Hardly more encouraging, 54 percent expect improved customer service in exchange for their data, and 55 percent said they expect access to exclusive events or offers. In fact, 23 percent forgo a purchase out of concern about use of their data.


Marketers need to solve an important perception problem about the benefits accruing to the consumer for exchanging personal information. Underscoring the perception problem, consumers tallied below 50 percent in acknowledging several of the basic benefits on the customer side of the personal information exchange equation: tailored offers based on what I buy (49 percent); advanced information on new products and services (41 percent); communications based on my preferences (41 percent); easier buying process (39 percent); preferential treatment (36 percent); and product assortment improvements based on what I buy (36 percent).


Product discounts, a benefit not necessarily associated with the development of a long-term relationship between customer and company, scored highest (71 percent) as the offer that consumers expect to receive in exchange for their information.


"The message isn't getting across to the consumer that the primary reason marketers use customer behavior data is to enhance the individual customer experience and build a deeper relationship," says LoyaltyOne President Bryan Pearson.