Can Marketers Earn Back Consumers' Trust? - eMarketer
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Can Marketers Earn Back Consumers' Trust?

Few consumers think companies are doing all they can to protect digital privacy

April 3, 2015

How much faith do consumers have in companies when it comes to data protection? Not too much, based on Survey Sampling International polling for My.com among more than 1,000 US mobile device users ages 13 to 54 during October 2014.

US Smartphone/Tablet Users Who Feel that Companies Do Enough to Protect Digital Privacy, by Age, Oct 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Around one-fifth or fewer of smartphone and tablet users from each age range studied said they felt that companies did enough to protect their digital privacy, and with the exception of those ages 19 to 22, respondents were more likely to flat-out disagree than agree with this statement. Still, about half of respondents from each group did think companies “somewhat” guarded their online info but that it needed to be more easily communicated, suggesting that clear privacy policies provided upfront are a must-have.

November 2014 research by Accenture found similar results. Just 18% of internet users worldwide said they were always confident in the security of their digital personal data, no matter the website. And even among the websites they knew, just 28% felt that their personal data was protected.

US Marketers Who Plan to Take Additional Steps to Protect Customer Data and Privacy in 2015 (% of respondents)

Marketers have heard consumers loud and clear, and they’re taking steps to convert the skeptics, based on a March 2015 report from Infogroup. Among US marketers surveyed in October 2014, nearly eight in 10 said that taking additional steps to protect customer data and privacy was a 2015 priority, with half of respondents saying it was a top priority.

Those who don’t take care of consumer information risk losing valuable customers if their lack of security comes back to haunt them. When AYTM Market Research asked 400 US internet users in January 2015 if they would stop using a website or app if it experienced a privacy breach, nearly six out of 10 agreed (23.7%) or strongly agreed (34.7%), and an additional 20.7% at least somewhat agreed.

If marketers want to get back in consumers’ good graces—and retain customers—they’ll need to make huge strides in their goal of improving customer data protection and privacy before it’s too late.

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