Consumer concerns fuel fears of widespread data abuse

consent 2Fresh evidence of potential data abuse has emerged in a Chartered Institute of Marketing study which reveals that the majority (55%) of consumers believe organisations which send them marketing materials have obtained their contact details without their consent.
The claim, which is likely to have GDPR compensation lawyers chomping at the bit, is one of the key findings of the CIM study to support the professional marketing body’s new Data Right campaign, which calls on businesses to be more responsible with the way they manage data, in order to improve the relationship between businesses and customers.
Some 42% of people surveyed say they receive marketing via social media at least once a day, and over a third (36%) receive calls once a week or more.
Although customers receive a high level of marketing materials, half of those who have ever received them say it is never relevant to them. Of those who receive promotional materials, it is most common to receive marketing about a hobby or interest they don’t have (61%) or for them to receive promotions for offers in areas they neither live in nor visit (35%).
The Data Right pledge asks businesses to commit to do four key measures:
Be clear: businesses should tell consumers how and when they will use their data
Show respect: companies need to ensure trust, honesty and accountability are at the heart of the relationship with their customers
Be in the know: businesses need to continually familiarise themselves with the dos and don’ts of data rights and the law, such as the upcoming changes due to new GDPR legislation, and best practice
Show the benefits: businesses must help customers understand how data collection can benefit them.
CIM’s research also revealed the sectors that are the most and least trusted when it comes to data management, with some surprising results. The lowest ranking sectors are fast moving consumer goods – only 1% deem them trustworthy, followed by media, including publishers (2%).
Meanwhile there was some positive recognition for the work of financial services (34%), healthcare and pharmaceuticals (25%) and professional and business services (16%) on the way they manage people’s data.
CIM chief executive Chris Daly said: “What’s most worrying about these results is that they are unsurprising. In our interconnected, ‘always on’ world, being bombarded with irrelevant materials has become the expected or the norm. It’s not good enough and it’s eroding the trust between customers and businesses. We need to act now and this is why we are asking organisations to take the Data Right pledge, to commit to showing greater respect and accountability to their customers.
“Businesses have a responsibility to their customers to be transparent, respectful and clear about how they use their personal information. Not only is this best data practice, but it ultimately will help consumers feel more confident and enjoy the benefits of sharing more personal data with businesses. The more data is shared, the easier it is for companies to provide relevant, targeted communications to consumers. But until businesses step up and show their commitment to best practice, they risk alienating their customers and damaging their brand.”

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