Canadians Who Give Companies Their Personal Information are Sorely Disappointed, Study Reveals

With the internet and modern technology more accessible than ever, personally tailored marketing approaches are now remarkably possible even when dealing with tens of thousands of consumers. But Canadians are less than satisfied with how companies have thus far made use of this potential, the results of a recent study suggest.

According to a SAS/Leger survey, 73% of Canadians who give companies personal informaton (age, email, income, etc.) fairly expect tailored marketing in return. But just 37% of those Canadians feel they get more personalized marketing as a result.

And this is tanigbly damaging to the brands who fail to deliver on their part of the bargain, as half of Canadians say they have stopped doing business with particular companies because of bad marketing experiences.

“Canadians expect organizations to be relevant in how they talk to them,” explains Lori Bieda, an executive with SAS. “It’s a give and get.”

As Lori notes, most Canadians share a similar thought process: “If I provide you with some key personal information, use what I give you to send me offers which align to my interests, and serve me in a way that makes sense.” However, “when companies don’t do that they lose the privilege of having that customer and our communications are relegated to ‘junk mail,’ and we don’t get share of mind, never mind wallet,” she warns.

Her advice to companies stuck in generic mode? “Analyzing customer purchasing habits and matching promotional offerings to their needs is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty.”

According to the data, 60% of Canadians want more personalized marketing material and half would be more likely to buy from companies that do tailor their marketing to each consumer. Further, 46% of Canadians say they’re willing to spill more personal information (which is of tremendous value to retailers) in exchange for truly custom marketing.

And don’t think as a company that you can fool this lot, either: two-thirds affirm that they can spot the differences between generic marketing and personalized marketing.

“It is essential that companies not only understand their customer expectations regarding the use of personal information, but also how best to communicate with each individual to offer tailored deals,” Lori added.

73% of Canadians like being marketed via email, but only 47% like mail—another favourable consumer preference for retailers, as email is far more cost efficient and measurable. But don’t even try new-fangled social media: just 13% of Canadians want to be marketed that way. Even among the younger generation, of which 93% use social media, email remains on top by far.

And while 93% of Canadians claim to have divulged personal information to companies, 27% now give away less than five years ago, and only 18% give away more—suggesting that companies should seriously consider adequately rewarding consumers for their information… or else they may get no more of it.