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The False Dilemma of Privacy vs. Personalization


A new survey from SAS found that a growing number of US consumers are concerned about businesses using their personal information. At the same time, the survey confirmed that consumers still expect business to understand them as individuals and personalize their experiences.

On it's face, it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for marketers. Ask for information and you risk privacy fears. Deliver services impersonally and be criticized for being primitive and low-tech.

But take a closer look at the data and the dilemma may not be as bleak as it appears. Survey respondents reported spending an average of 77 minutes a day on social media and a whopping 70 percent belong to loyalty programs. Clearly, it is possible to be concerned in general about privacy while still selectively placing trust in particular companies.

I'm reminded of the old political true-ism: most Americans hate congress but love their congressman.  Consumers are much the same - while they harbor real worries about privacy in the abstract, they willingly share personal information in real life on a selective basis.

Companies that nurture prospects, progressively acquire data as the relationship grows and respect customers' wishes through preference management are rewarded. And suddenly a dilemma becomes an opportunity.



About the Author: 
Rob Tate is the Director of Enterprise Sales at PossibleNOW.






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