How Data Sensitive Are Your Customers?

Most marketers and customer intelligence (CI) pros tend to lump together most types of customer data. Sure, things like passwords and social security numbers are considered more "sensitive," but for the most part, the systems that protect all the data -- and the privacy policies that communicate their capture and governance -- are largely the same.

This model used to work just fine. But in an era where consumers are becoming increasingly aware of data capture, data breaches, and the value of personal data, it's not enough to treat all data (nor all customers) the same. In researching our latest report, "Personal Identity Management Success Starts With Customer Understanding," we found that:

  • Individuals see different types of data differently -- they're most worried about what we consider individual identity data, and far less concerned about the capture and use of their behavioral data
  • Most consumers are willing to share their data in exchange for value. But, what they consider "valuable" is very age-dependent -- in other words, the same consumer isn't equally motivated by discounts and cash rewards. 
  • A surprising number of consumers "just say no" if a privacy policy doesn't pass their sniff test, and the numbers seem to be rising. 

So where does this leave you? 

Simple. Your organization needs to think differently about the data it collects. Your privacy policy must be aligned with your data governance practices, and must be written in such a way that customers are crystal clear about what you're collecting and why. And, you should be thinking about the TYPE of data differently, too -- consider providing customer granular opt-outs or preferences for what you store and how you use it, instead of making these types of options an all-or-nothing proposition. 

I encourage you to read the report in its entirety, and stay tuned for future consumer research around privacy, security, and personal data. I suspect that the move towards personal identity management is closer than we expect.

Comments

Good blog post. It's

Good blog post. It's something privacy advocates have been promoting for years. I first learned about your research through this PC Magazine article:
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/372298/consumers-ditch-websites-with-poor-pr...

Where can I go to read or learn more? As a solo blogger, the $500 price on the research is a little steep for me. The research summary page in the Forrester site is short on details. Thanks,

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com