Growing challenge of collecting customer data and balancing privacy

By our News Team | 2023

Survey finds 60% of marketing leaders believe collecting customer data while balancing privacy and customer value is now more challenging.

Sixty-percent of marketing leaders believe collecting first-party customer data with an appropriate balance of customer value exchange and privacy has become more challenging in 2023.

This is according to a survey by global insights and consulting firm, Gartner, published on Wednesday (22 March).

Customer Data

Photo by This Is Engineering from Pexels

The study involving nearly 400 marketing leaders, conducted in November and December 2022, revealed that 85% of respondents have implemented a formal policy to manage customer data, yet privacy remains an ongoing challenge. 

Despite this, marketers are leaning into personalisation more than ever, with 42% of respondents citing that they are executing one-to-one personalised messages to customers.

“Third-party cookie depreciation is causing sources of data to disappear, and many marketers are still scrambling to shore up their first-party data strategy,” said Ant Duffin, Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.

“As this data becomes more challenging to collect, marketers must adapt by leveraging new sources of data to fuel personalisation and build deep customer relationships.”

Empower customers to manage their data

In response to growing consumer awareness of data privacy, 78% of marketing leaders empower their customers to manage their own data. Eighty-two percent indicate that their organisation is prioritising first-party data to create immediate value for customers.

“Almost a third of survey respondents said they have abandoned an agency or channel partner over the last year due to customer trust or privacy concerns, highlighting the gravity of this issue,” said Duffin.

Reap the benefits of prioritising first-party data

Marketing leaders who act decisively to shore up first-party data achieve the strongest results. Over half of respondents who strongly prioritise the use of first-party data reported exceeding their customer-retention expectations.

Marketing organisations that pursue multi-channel strategies are more likely to take advantage of these benefits. Conventional wisdom suggests that brands that manage fewer marketing channels are able to more easily pivot towards first-party data. However, the survey found the opposite to be true.

Almost half of organisations that manage 11 or more marketing channels have increased their first-party customer data collection, compared with just over a quarter of those with 10 or fewer channels. Companies with more channels are also more likely to be driving growth through new experiences and service channels (36%), and are leveraging AI to deliver customer engagements (24%).

“Data privacy is an issue that isn’t going away, and it’s imperative that digital marketing leaders build strategies that will secure the data they need, while keeping the needs of customers front and centre,” emphasised Duffin.