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Do Consumers Care About Privacy?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Digital marketing and consumer privacy butt heads more often than they really should. It is true that companies are collecting more data than previously in history, but it matches the fragmented nature of the economic environment we call home. Plus, it isn't like the data you share is less secure than it was before, or that a consumer partakes in an activity and then is suddenly surprised that the company is tracking information about them.

A personalized experience is tough to do with no information. Sometimes we just have to deal with it.

But still, concerns about privacy and the confidence that consumers have for businesses that secure it is an important topic. Yes, if we thought that a store we patronized was selling our location and buying habits to the highest bidder, we could conceivably have doubts about visiting the store again if the information was used improperly.

Truste, in conjunction with Harris Interactive, conducted research in early 2014 to see the confidence people had in digital security and how businesses were handling it. Here are a few takeaways from the report:
  • 92% of those surveyed said that they were concerned with their online privacy.
  • 93% of them had concerns with online shopping, up from 89% the previous year.
  • Companies targeting consumers with ads and content based on tracked behavior is the second highest reason for raised concerns for consumer privacy.
  • Only 55% trust companies with their personal information.
  • A staggering 89% say that they avoid doing business with companies who they think do not believe in protecting privacy.
Very interesting.

Of course, it is tough to compare this information with actions. A nice experiment could be done here. Of course, people believe that it is correct to feel wronged when information about yourself is gathered by a company. But would consumers sacrifice that element for higher prices, more irrelevant ads, and less convenience? We lean towards the doubtful selection.

So we take this with a grain of salt. We wholeheartedly believe that there is a small but powerful minority out there who wants nothing more from this situation than to get off the grid. But when it comes to the path of least resistance, we think that many consumers will give up information in order to make their lives a little bit easier.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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