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Consumer Data Collection Comes at a Cost

Cash, discounts would motivate customers to hand over info

Can brands convince consumers to hand over more details by waving cold hard cash in their faces? When April 2015 research by Sentient Decision Science for Microsoft asked US internet users which incentives would motivate them to share personal information with brands, every respondent said they’d do so in exchange for cash rewards. More than three-quarters said the same about significant discounts.

Incentives that Would Motivate US Internet Users to Share Personal Information with Brands, April 2015 (% of respondents)

Other research supports the role money can have in data-sharing. In March 2015 polling conducted by ORC International for Kelly Scott Madison (KSM), fully 52% of US internet users cited discounts on service costs as an incentive for sharing personal data, and 45% said the same about coupons or discounts. Similarly, 59% of US internet users surveyed by Trend Micro said they would provide personal data to companies they trust in exchange for money.

However, there’s still little faith in how well companies protect consumer data—on both sides of the equation. Results from Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) research in May 2015 showed that 60.6% of US marketing executives agreed or strongly agreed that companies were not doing enough to safeguard privacy—even more than the 57.9% of internet users who said the same.

US Marketing Executives* vs. Internet Users** Who Agree that Companies Are Not Doing Enough to Safeguard Privacy, May 2015 (% of respondents)

It’s no wonder, then, that in March 2015 research by the Annenberg School for Communication and Princeton Survey Research Associates, 84% of US internet users said they wanted to have control over what marketers could learn about them online.

While money may be appealing, doubts about data protection among marketers as well as consumers could have people second-guessing whether it’s worth the risk. Companies might be better off beefing up security before resorting to paying for info.

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