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Data Tracking: A Double-Edged Sword?

Customers are increasingly reluctant to have their data mined by marketers, but marketers need it. Collision ahead? Perhaps.
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According to recent reports, consumers are increasingly reluctant to have their personal data trawled by Internet services, yet marketers are on a mission to mine that information with greater precision.

Are the two on a collision course?

A new survey reveals consumers are well aware that their personal data is a gold mine for marketers. A whopping 75 percent of respondents are aware their data is being collected, according to a data privacy survey administered by Ovum, a London-based analyst house. The survey, which solicited 11,000 respondents in 11 countries, also found that 68 percent said they would select a do-not-track feature, so that their online movements aren’t always monitored.

"More and more consumers are deciding to effectively become invisible in data terms on the Internet," said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum, to business tech and IT news site InfoWorld. "It will shake the Internet economy as more and more users decide they don't want to be tracked."

A large number of responders also said they believe their personal data is the lifeblood of many Internet companies: 46 percent say they believe these companies rely on selling customer data to survive.

And their assumptions may well be right. A separate survey administered by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive, which drew responses from over 700 of the world’s top marketers, found that making the most of big data is a top concern for marketers in 2013.

At present, the findings said, marketers are so overwhelmed by the amount of information on digital and social channels that they are “data-rich and insight-poor,” a situation many want to correct.

A whopping 68 percent of marketers said they expect data-related expenditures to increase in 2013, and 56 percent plan on hiring new employees to handle data collection or analysis.

The survey findings went on:

While marketers have improved their ability to collect data, they’re still learning how to analyze it. In 2013, most marketers are ramping up spending on the people and technology that will provide the data-driven insights they need to help them understand their customers on a much deeper level across channels.

For the moment, while 47 percent of the marketers surveyed said they perform regular quality control—weekly or monthly—to clean customer data, more than a quarter said they couldn’t remember the last time they performed quality control on their customer data.

 

Last updated: Feb 8, 2013

JULIE STRICKLAND | Staff Writer

Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.




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