86% of Americans Received Unsolicited Messages from Companies They Did Not Share Their Personal Data With, dotdigital Data Reveals

Unsolicited marketing communications are eroding consumer trust and impacting profit as attitudes towards data stewardship harden and brand trust moves up the agenda post-pandemic, highlights the latest report from dotdigital, the leading multi-channel marketing automation platform.

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Original research collected from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers in dotdigital’sRise of the responsible marketer” report reveals that 51% of respondents said they had become more aware of how their data was used by brands as online shopping rates accelerated during the pandemic. Accordingly, 68% of consumers were concerned their data would be passed on to third parties for marketing purposes, with another 69% worried their personal information would be passed to other companies without their consent.

This concern is well founded with 86% of U.S. shoppers reporting they had received unsolicited texts or email messages from companies they had not provided their data to. More than one-third (36%) said they had continued to be marketed to by brands, even after they had asked to be removed from the database or opted out. Thirteen percent even resorted to reporting a brand for continuing to market to them after their repeated requests to be opted out of communications were ignored.

This research highlights the need for brands and retailers to put data stewardship at the heart of their marketing efforts to reassure consumers and build long-term meaningful relationships that drive loyalty and build customer lifetime value.

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The 2020 Trust Barometer from Edelman revealed trust as the make-or-break difference for brands, with 70% of respondents across all age groups, genders and income brackets reporting that trusting a brand was second only to price. However, trust is not just about reputation but also revenue, with 72% of U.S. shoppers surveyed reporting they would be less likely to buy again from a brand that they felt hadn’t been responsible with their data. Meanwhile two-thirds (65%) would actively discourage family and friends from buying from a brand that handled their data irresponsibly.

The recent iOS 15 update, which prevents accurate tracking and sharing of email addresses, is another reflection of changing consumer attitudes. However, Apple’s update is an opportunity for brands to build trust among its users.

“The world is changing and the shift to consumer-friendly marketing that respects privacy cannot be ignored,” said Tink Taylor, founder and president, dotdigital Group. “Embracing these changes and ensuring compliance naturally fosters trust is the key for consumers to share their data with a brand. If a consumer trusts a brand and knows that brand will market to them in a responsible manner, then they will be engaged. The value of a relationship nurtured over time will increase this engagement, yield better results, drive innovation and create stronger customer relationships in the future.”

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