Posted May 9, 2014 3:22 pm by with 0 comments

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mhAMTHQ - lusi - rgbstockSeems like every time I turn on my computer there’s an email about a potential security breach. Today, it’s, the link shortener people. They’re reporting a breach of customer email addresses, passwords and authentication keys. Last week it was the Heartbleed Bug and before that a handful of major retailers who lost control at the cash register.

With all this bad press, you’d think people would be even more reluctant to turn over their personal information but it’s not so says SDL.

They conducted a few surveys, created an infographic and here’s what it comes down to:

Over 40% of US millennials can identify the data brands are using to track their behaviors – and expect a personalized shopping experience because of it.

54% of US millennials are willing to provide more personal data if it means more relevant offerings.

They’ve learned that you need to give a little to get a little and they’re okay with that. But there’s a limit to how much they’ll turn over before yelling stop.

SDL Data Collection

This chart shows how people feel about sharing different types of personal data. The more sacred, the more they have to feel both confident in you as a business and confident that they’ll gain something in return. The bigger the request the bigger the expected gain.

For example, asking for a phone number in return for a 20% off coupon ain’t going to cut it for most people. You want my email address, sure. No problem. You want to know which ads I clicked on so I can get better ads – I’m all for it. You want my location so you can customize my ad experience. . . well. . now I need to get to know you a little better.

It’s a funny thing, location. When I download a new app and it asks if it’s okay to access my location, I hesitate. Why? I’m not sure. I’m not actually worried about an app knowing where I am. Not like I’ve gone to the Bahamas for a month and left my house unlocked. I’m not walking down any dark alleys in bad neighborhoods while I broadcast my location. But still, I’m hesitant to let a retail app know where I live. I didn’t say it was rational, it just is.

The takeaway for marketers is that you need to be mindful about what you ask for and don’t ask for more than you really need. If you have no intention of using a person’s phone number, then don’t ask for it. Certainly don’t make it a requirement for signing up.  That could be the one piece of the puzzle that causes the potential customer to say never mind.

And it probably goes without saying, but protect the data you do collect with every means you have and never misuse it. One slip up can mean a dent in your reputation that can be hard to mend. People are willing to trust you until they can’t trust you and then they’re never coming back.