According to marketers, their customers understand how companies are using their data. According to those customers, however, they don't. And when asked to predict how customers might behave in two years' time, marketers were again wide of the mark. So why has this gap opened up when there has never been greater visibility or contact between the two groups?
The findings emerged from a survey of 200 marketing professionals and 2,004 consumers carried out for credit reference agency Callcredit in September 2017. It revealed that marketers often miss the mark when estimating how well customers understand the way in which their data is used.
By contrast, customers are less selective with who they authorise to access their data than marketers think they are. Eight out of ten marketers thought that customers were selective, when 62% of customers took this view.
Interestingly, customers seemed to be more tolerant of the ways in which their data is used than marketers think. Just over half (52%) are frustrated by the way that businesses use and access their data, but marketers believe that figure would be 61%.
When it came to predictions of what actions customers would be taking in the next two years, marketers only got it right three out of nine times.
Three in every 20 (15%) marketers and consumers believe that customers will use multiple credit or debit cards for online and offline purchases. In addition, 37% of marketers and consumers think that customers will select or deselect data sharing options with third parties. And 40% of marketers and 41% of consumers believe that in the next two years customers will carefully read Ts and Cs when accessing services online and offline.
However, marketers vastly overestimated how many consumers will be turning on "private browsing" when searching online (53% compared to 28%). Marketers also overestimated how many customers will undertake personal credit scoring checks (44% compared to 20%).
This could represent an opportunity for marketers to get ahead of the curve, so that when customers do start taking more actions to safeguard their data, stable platforms and tools will already be in place to access data from other sources.
Marketers were also surveyed on the data sources they will be looking to introduce in the next two years. For between 23% and 21% of marketers, these will be transactional data, communications history data, media data, external data, behavioural data, unstructured data and socio-economic data.
Occasion data, market research data and attitudinal data will be introduced in the next two years for between 19% and 17% of researchers. Just one in ten named internal data.
These low levels of predicted use may indicate that many of these data sources are already in use. Marketers responded that in 2016, 67% of them used internal data to inform marketing decisions and in 2017 this figure fell to 37%.
Steve McNicholas, managing director, credit and marketing data at Callcredit, said: “Many of the methods used to gauge customer expectation are imperfect or superficial. Businesses need more nuanced means of gathering customer insight to avoid creating marketing campaigns based on inaccurate preconceptions.”