May 17, 2013

Data point: Consumers of two minds about brands analyzing their data

Posted by: in North America

As our recent report “Travel: Changing Course” outlines, hospitality brands are increasingly using customer data to offer hyper-personalized service. While most consumers will prefer to be treated as individuals more than demographic segments, as personalized marketing gets more finely tuned, they will also take time to adjust to the idea that brands know a great deal about their lives and can predict their needs. Our research found that consumers are currently of two minds about brands analyzing their personal data in order to customize offerings: a little freaked out by the idea but also ready to reap the benefits.

Close to two-thirds of respondents said they feel discomfited by the idea of brands tracking and analyzing their data, saying it makes them anxious and that it feels as if Big Brother is watching. Half of respondents go so far as to say it makes them feel violated. (We surveyed 1,016 adults in the U.K. and U.S. using SONAR, JWT’s proprietary online tool.) On the other hand, consumers are open to personal data collection if there’s a clear benefit, and especially if it directly affects their wallet.

Transparency will become increasingly important for companies that leverage consumer data—they will need to explain what information they collect and why, assure consumers they’re to be trusted with the data and demonstrate how customers benefit.

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