The Great Value Exchange

Some are calling it the great exchange: Increasingly, consumers are willing to give up their privacy for valuable brand offers. “Privacy is a major concern for consumers, but so is relevance and getting value from companies. [For marketers] it’s really about finding that balance,” says Glen Hartman, global managing director of digital transformation at Accenture Interactive. “Value exchange for customers has become the [norm]. Actually if people don’t have that experience, they think it’s odd.”

A recent survey from Accenture underscores those sentiments with 80% of respondents in the U.K. and the U.S. saying that they believe total privacy is a thing of the past. Perhaps even more sobering, 49% of the more than 2,000 surveyed said that they would not object to having their buying behavior tracked if it would result in relevant offers from brands.

Hartman says it’s simple: Customers will continue to embrace digital, targeted messages in pursuit of a good deal. “In today’s digital age, consumers are connected [to each other and brands] and [are] empowered. Data is abundant. [So] businesses must align their…strategies to deliver relevant and loyalty-enabling experiences to their customers.”

In the study—which surveyed consumers between the ages of 20 and 40—87% said that adequate safeguards are not in place to protect their personal information. But interestingly enough, 42% said that they believe brands are using that personal data to provide them with more relevant offers. And about half say that marketing messages help guide their future purchase decisions. Hartman says that despite concerns over privacy and security, customers are simply recognizing the benefits of personalization, which for many outweigh worry about their personal data.

“It’s similar to going to the doctor to get treatment. Patients divulge all kinds of personal info—family history, your own medical history, even personal habits,” Hartman explains. “Similarly, [consumers] are willing to give up lots of personal information if they feel that they’re in a trusting environment or relationship, and of course, if they feel as if they’re getting great value in return.”

Those surveyed also listed the top channels on which they prefer to receive marketing messages from companies; email was the top choice at 93%, followed by social media (57%) and text messages (44%). Just 25% of respondents said that they’re comfortable receiving phone calls from brand marketers. “This simply boils down to control by the customers. Consumers get to engage how [and when] they want,” Hartman adds. “And with these channels, the ability to share is easier when it’s done through email, social, or text, versus telephone.”

Hartman says digital channels should work in sync to encourage consumers to share data, and eventually, spend money with the brand. “There’s a whole variety of options that marketers can use to send their messages and for customers to receive them,” he adds. “But in the end, it’s all these channels working together that resonates with customers.”

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