BOSTON, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Communispace, the leading consumer collaboration agency, has released a new report that delves into consumer attitudes towards targeted marketing, exploring the fine line between helpful and intrusive personalized marketing tactics. The study found that 86 percent of consumers would click a "do not track" button if it were available and 30 percent of consumers would pay a 5 percent surcharge if they could be guaranteed that none of their information would be captured. Still, proving that brands walk a tightrope when it comes to using consumer data, 70 percent said they would voluntarily share personal data with a company in exchange for a 5 percent discount.
The study found that, overall, consumers tend to be distrustful of targeted marketing, which while often accurate, can offend by appearing overly familiar with personal aspects of their lives. Only 14 percent of consumers, if given the choice, want to shop by receiving targeted offers based on their online search and purchase history. Sixty-two percent of consumers would prefer to find promotions and discounts from multiple vendors at one centralized site, while 24 percent would like the opportunity to broadcast their shopping needs to invite retailers to bid for their business.
Some attitudes towards data privacy seem to be age-driven: consumer likelihood to disclose personal data in exchange for deals, for example, decreases with age: 62 percent of the "Silent Generation" would choose to share nothing rather than get perks, while only 40 percent of Millennials say this, according to the report. However, when presented with various personalized marketing scenarios, consumers showed similar levels of acceptance across age groups.
"While people increasingly accept some loss of privacy as a cost of doing business, or a way to earn perks, the majority say they don't appreciate or utilize targeted messages, especially from unfamiliar sources – a far cry from the 'added value' and 'customized experience' these methods promise," said Communispace SVP of Innovation Julie Wittes Schlack.
The report found that the single biggest breach of trust involves the buying and selling of personal data; only 13 percent approve of this practice. Even if they have technically granted their consent, consumers express extreme distaste for, and occasionally claim to boycott, companies that engage in these types of practices.
"History with a brand makes a huge difference when it comes to determining where that line is," said Katrina Lerman, Senior Researcher at Communispace and author of the report Beyond the Bull's-Eye: Building Meaningful Relationships in the Age of Big Data. "What feels like helpful personalization from a company you know well, suddenly turns into invasive targeting when it comes from a stranger. Just like in our personal relationships, you really have to earn that level of intimacy; it can't be bought."
Communispace conducted this study during the summer of 2013, with 8,343 participants across 52 of Communispace's private online communities. Methodologies included two open-ended, threaded discussions and one 16-question survey. Group difference tests were performed with age, gender, and country as independent factors.
Communispace is the consumer collaboration agency uniquely equipped to harness the power and inspiration of consumers to drive business growth. Communispace has been the fastest-growing consumer insights firm in the US for the last four years, delivering unparalleled consumer engagement and business impact, with more than 700 communities launched to date.
The acquisition of Promise Corporation, in November 2012, enabled Communispace to marry its unique research approach with the strategic consulting tools and processes that Promise successfully pioneered for a decade. The integration also marked Communispace's most significant step to date in expanding its global capabilities — Communispace has recruited members from 156 countries total, or 80% of the world.
Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Communispace has other US offices in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, and global offices in Amsterdam, Cape Town, London, Mexico City, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Sydney.