Report: Use of personal data by marketers at risk

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By: RickFerguson |

Posted on January 19, 2016

A new report from Accenture warns that businesses� use of personal data from consumers is at risk and recommends key strategies and principles to properly protect consumer data, build trust and simultaneously grow their businesses.

The report, "Guarding and Growing Personal Data Value," is based in part on an online survey of 578 business professionals across seven economies � Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, U.K. and U.S. The report revealed that 90 percent of respondents said digital stewardship is the most important principle in terms of improving their business reputation and being responsible managers of personal data, and 74percent said that their businesses are taking action on this principle.

The report identifies several trends affecting the outlook of businesses using personal data including:

  • A crisis of trust in data security: Customers won�t do business with companies they don�t trust with their data � and customers� trust in data security is lacking.
  • Customers are acting on their privacy concerns: Customer actions to protect their data could compromise the amount and quality of personal data that businesses can use.
  • Customers are demanding a data dividend: Nearly 60% of respondents from products and manufacturing companies reported their customers are actively monetizing their own data�for instance, by selling it to data intermediaries.
  • New technologies and startups are helping people go �off grid�: Growth in new privacy-enhancing technologies could impact the quality of customer data available to businesses.
  • Regulation is changing the rules of data collection: Governments are increasing their regulatory response to concerns over data privacy.
  • Watchdogs are increasing the scrutiny of business data practices: Groups like Fair Data (U.K.) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (U.S.) are scrutinizing the way businesses manage personal data.

The report also lists five principals businesses should espouse to become responsible stewards of consumer data:

  • Digital stewardship: Ensuring that management of personal data is consistent with the expectations of those providing it.
  • Digital transparency: Demonstrating openness in how businesses use personal data. Companies can foster transparency by proactively showing customers and others how they are using and storing data.
  • Digital equity: Clarifying and potentially increasing the benefits customers receive in exchange for sharing their data. Companies can strengthen digital equity by providing greater monetary or service-in-kind benefits to customers in return for their data.
  • Digital inclusion: Using personal data to multiply positive societal outcomes. Personal data that is shared appropriately can create significant value for society.

You can download the full report here.

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