Buyers and sellers agree that sharing information produces value. They also agree that consumer privacy should be protected in such an exchange. Where disagreement arises is the degree to which the parties benefit.

In a Forbes study titled “The Promise of Privacy, Respecting Consumers’ Limits While Realizing the Marketing Benefits of Big Data” 60% of sellers said their buyers (both b2b and b2b) are willing to provide personal information if they perceive value from the exchange. The figure rises to 77% when survey data is statistically sliced to focus on those sellers that are the most sophisticated in their use of customer data in marketing programs.

The picture grows a tad less enthusiastic when buyers are surveyed.

53%  of b2c customers (and 45% of b2b customers) say they are willing to provide personal information when they perceive a benefit. And – this is the finding that shouldn’t surprise anyone – 55% buyers agree with the statement “companies who track my personal information owe me some form of commensurate benefit.”

So who benefits most?  The study goes on to show three out of five consumers readily admit that it’s the seller who benefits most from the sharing of information. Not a big surprise. But do buyers care?

The study concludes with findings that show – while consumers see a slight imbalance of benefit, they remain content with the exchange. And while a small subset of consumers care a lot about privacy, what most are concerned with is security.

This finding aligns strongly with marketers’ concern that a security breach has a huge negative impact on buyer trust (not to mention impact on brand and reputation).

Hence, marketers might be well advised to tell buyers precisely how their personal information will be secured along with their privacy policy.  Actions speak louder than words.


1 Comment
  1. 22 April 2014 at 2:05 pm
    Robert says:

    I must be one of those who don’t trust marketers with private information period. The customer may get some small payment for a item with a short life (a few cents off for a tube of toothpaste) and the marketer keep the information FOREVER. I never know when the information I ‘sold’ will be used in ways that I would not approve of. The customer has no way of ever have the information destroyed. The time asymmetry has never been address. This doesn’t even take into account the information being stolen.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *