Like Verizon and Facebook, AT&T is also planning to sell customers’ smartphone data to third parties for marketing purposes.
The company has also offered assurances to its customers that any data that’s shared with third parties would be made anonymous to protect individual identities.
Some AT&T customer have voiced displeasure with the plan. However, customers are more likely to share information about themselves with companies whose terms are clear and whose brands they trust, according to a recent study by Forrester Research and Neustar.
This is especially true when consumers believe that the information gathered about them can ultimately benefit them.
In fact, a whopping 82% of consumers expect their banks to mine personal data about them to protect against fraud, according to a study by Infosys. And 70% of those polled are comfortable sharing personal data with retailers.
But even though nearly four out of 10 (39%) view data mining as invasive, they still recognize it as helpful (35%), time saving (33%), and convenient (32%).
Certain groups of consumers – especially millennials (people ages 18-33) and younger customers – are generally more willing to share information about themselves and allow companies to use information about them.
But the percentage of baby boomers (people ages 46-65) who deem themselves highly sensitive to privacy (83%) is far greater than people under 18 to 25 (67%) and those who are 26 to 45 (79%), according to another study.
As millennials grow older and a greater percentage of the population is digitally savvy, it’s likely that a higher number of consumers will become more relaxed about the use of personal information by marketers and third-party aggregators, especially as relevant messaging, offers, and convenience of services carry increased benefits for consumers.
In the meantime, companies can use data analysis to gauge the views of existing customers and high-value prospects on data usage and the types of information that they are comfortable – or uncomfortable – sharing with companies they do business with as well as with third parties.
Gaining a deep understanding of customer sentiment can help companies develop acceptable data usage policies that can help strengthen customer trust and build long-term customer value.
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