61% of American consumers say they'll share more data with a company in order to get customized communications from them. 48% of UK consumers agreed.

The key: having control.

"While today's technology allows companies to easily collect a tremendous amount
of customer data behind the scenes, more stringent privacy laws are putting more and more control over this data back into the hands of the consumer," says a new study from Smart Communications. "To entice them to share the personal details necessary to make communications as meaningful as possible, companies must first prove that it will be worth it."

It makes sense.

Customized communications should mean more relevant communications, and more relevant communications mean less wasted time and less irritation. In addition, the more relevant a brand's messages are, the more likely they are to address a customer's actual need.

Not shockingly, however, there's a lot of improvement needed.

Only about a third of financial, health, and insurance companies scored high on delivering the right messages at the right time.

And there are other risks in marketing communications.

The report's authors also asked the 500 survey respondents what would make them more likely to change brands. Errors would prompt almost 60% of UK consumers and 50% of Americans to switch brands, according to the report. Hard-to-understand messages were almost as bad, and irrelevant messages would tempt 45% of UK consumers and 32% of Americans to switch loyalties.

Interestingly, while the UK consumers say they're more likely to switch vendors due to irrelevant communications, they're also less likely than Americans to want to provide more information for brands to use in customizing messages.

One thing that stands out.

While consumers are certainly requiring more privacy in general, people are willing to let trusted brands and vendors use data to serve them better. That bodes well for organizations that can gain -- and keep -- that trust.