People Are Concerned About How Companies Are Using Their Data, Adobe Study Shows

Updated: May 3, 2022
adobe trust repost

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Every year, there is a competition between bars in some cities in Brazil, my native country, in which the bar with the public’s favorite meal wins. Last week, I went with some friends to one of the participating bars and, at the end, we received a form to give our grading of the meal. 

As soon as we started filling this out, a friend questioned the amount of information requested and the reason why they would be asking for so much personal data there. He refused to fill out the form and did not vote. He didn’t know what they would do with his information.

Most of the time, working in a Marketing company, I’m on the side of those who ask for the data, so as I lived this episode I was reflective: how can we create an environment of trust in data collection where it can be useful for both companies and consumers? 

Coincidence or not, in the same week, Adobe published a study that addresses topics related to data, consumers, and trust. The survey, conducted with nearly 6,000 consumers and more than 900 leaders in the EMEA region, made it clear that more than 70% of consumers are concerned about how companies use their data.

And, in the perception of most of the leaders interviewed (69%), today it’s more difficult to build and maintain trust with the consumer than it was two years ago.

In some ways, my experience with my friend at the bar showed in practice the consumer insights revealed in the study.

Let’s go deeper into it!

Trust is a non-negotiable

In uncertain scenarios and with significant episodes of data leakage, more than ever, consumers are concerned about the misuse of their information.

According to the Adobe 2022 Trust Report, 67% of the interviewees intend to stop buying from brands that mishandle their data.

Using data without permission, not respecting the user’s usage preferences and/or violating other data protection policies are no longer tolerated. All care is necessary — fortunately.

As a result of uncertainty about the actual safety of data usage, consumers tend to trust brands less. This breach of trust brings the opposite impact on what, as brands, we expect from our customers.

Customers who trust a brand tend to repeat purchases, recommend services/products to other consumers, post reviews and positive comments on the company’s social media. Customers who trust, impact and drive business growth. On the other hand, customers who experience a breach of trust leave.

Data collection must generate benefits for the consumer

When my friend refused to fill out the voting form, me, as a marketer, understood the value of that information to the company that was collecting the data. At the same time, I assumed that sharing that data would also be beneficial for my friend if the company had an efficient strategy – and clear benefits for the public.

Even more, if those responsible for the competition were able to validate the veracity of the vote and have valuable information to know the profile of botequeiros (term used in Brazilian Portuguese to refer to people who go into bars frequently), my friend could start receiving personalized content and tips about the world of bars. As I know him, I’m sure it would make him very happy.

But he didn’t know why they were collecting his data. It was unclear to him what would be done with his personal information. And, to be honest, it wasn’t even clear to me – I am just making assumptions.

Where do I want to go here?

Let’s go back to the Adobe study again: it shows that 65% of the interviewed people believe the information gathered from digital interactions benefits only the company, not the consumer.

But that’s not (or at least shouldn’t be) true.

We should deal with data as a two-way street in which there is a mutual benefit for both sides: company and consumer. While the brand benefits from the many possibilities that well-analyzed data can provide (I will talk more about this below), the consumer gets personalized experiences and targeted communications.

Making good use of data

Creating an atmosphere that is personalized and focused on customer needs is a key factor in becoming a successful brand – and data is essential for that to happen.

You need to collect the right information and, more than that, know how to use it efficiently.

From an intelligent use of data, it is possible to:

  • Make better decisions, be more assertive and guide business strategies
  • Create, direct and adapt your services/products according to what makes more sense to your customer
  • Create campaigns and communications that talk directly to your audience
  • Prospect and reach fitting customers
  • Have more personalized and efficient interactions with your audience

All of these items listed above add value to the customer and the brand. After all, an efficient and well-targeted journey enables a good customer experience. A satisfied customer buys more, recommends, and becomes loyal.

Building an ecosystem of trust

As the Adobe study and my empirical experience show, data security concerns are real. So, the path for leaders is to really prioritize the demands related to information security, strictly follow data protection and privacy laws (such as GDPR) and create an environment of trust with consumers.

Collecting real data is a sensitive task and requires a lot of responsibility. Therefore, it is a must for professionals to make good use of it. It is up to the company to assume responsibility and be transparent with the consumer.

In addition to committing to the correct use of personal data, it is our role to educate and generate value with the audience about why we’re collecting data and how they will benefit from it too.

Here at Rock Content, for example, when you fill out a form, we clearly state our terms to the user, to set realistic expectations of what we are going to do with the person’s data. For example: when you sign up to our The Beat newsletter, you know that every Friday you are going to receive the best Marketing trends, not tons of advertisements.

If my friend had seen the value and filled out that form with his personal information, maybe today he would be having a good beer at a bar he didn’t know about in town based on super-personalized recommendations he received. Or not – perhaps he almost fell into yet another “trap” of inefficient use of data.


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