Marketing / A third of consumers have no idea how firms use their personal information

A third of consumers have no idea how firms use their personal information

More than nine in ten consumers do not fully understand how marketers, brands and organisations use their personal data.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) showed that 92 per cent of customers do not fully understand where and how their information is used.

Meanwhile, 31 per cent of those questioned at the organisation's Digital Summit in London said they had no idea where and how their personal data is being used.

57 per cent of those surveyed said they do not trust firms to handle their data responsibly, with 40 per cent worried their details will be passed to others without consent.

“Customer data is essential for marketers to reach the right audience and meet customers’ needs and interests,” said Chris Daly, chief executive of CIM.

“Yet our report shows that people are nervous about sharing personal data – fears of data breaches and misuse has them on high alert.

“And with two thirds of marketers confessing to limiting sharing their own data as a consumer because they know how organisations will use it, this is extremely worrying.”

Despite this, 67 per cent of those surveyed said they would share more personal information if organisations were more open about how it would be used.

“The solution is clear,” Daly said. “Marketers need to brush up on the rules, demonstrate clearly the value-add personal data offers in delivering a more personalised experience and ultimately reduce the fear by being open throughout the process.

“Otherwise marketers risk alienating their customers – and that benefits no one.”

More than half of the consumers questioned said they had been contacted by firms they believe had misused their data, with 17 per cent saying it happens all the time.

70 per cent said they did not see the benefit of sharing their information at all.

CIM advised businesses to be upfront with customers on how their data will be used, demonstrate the benefits of this, show they respect customer data and read up on the rules so they know what they should and should not be doing with the information.

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