By Ruth Parkinson

Privacy Made Positive® 

There is now overwhelming  evidence that consumers across the globe have significant concerns about how companies handle, process and share their personal data. 

In the latest Privacy Made Positive® research that Securys conducted with Kantar in the US, we discovered that as many as 97% of consumers pay attention to privacy issues and 75% choose a supplier based on their privacy commitments.

Yet until recently, data privacy within companies have largely been the preserve of privacy, legal and tech teams as they fulfil the statutory requirements of legislation like CCPA (California, US).

Customer privacy concerns, however, also impact sales and marketing teams. Our research also found that 63% of Americans occasionally, or frequently, halted a purchase over privacy concerns. That’s a huge amount of lost revenue.

Why marketers should take the lead

We think it is time for marketers to help their companies rethink data privacy. Not to simply tick regulatory boxes, but to innovate in delivering ‘best in class’ initiatives that not only chime with customers, but make them feel comfortable and secure when making purchases or interacting with a brand. 

To be fair to the marketing industry, it is not a concern that has been paramount for them until now. 

Securys recently co-hosted a webinar with the American Marketing Association (AMA) entitled ‘Privacy Sells: The Value US Consumers Place on Privacy’. Among the speakers was Amy Nixon, Senior Vice President of Strategy at 9Rooftops Marketing, who acknowledged that most marketers didn't get into their job to focus on things like data privacy. “It is not necessarily something they're hugely passionate about,” she told the attendees.

Yet Amy believes privacy issues should be at the forefront of marketers’ minds. “There is a problem that consumers have, and marketing was invented to help consumers find solutions to their problems. If I put enough effort in as a marketing person I can make changes on this, I can make some momentum here that will be meaningful to the customer.”

Creating safe spaces for consumers

One key fact our research uncovered is that consumers, especially in the US, are very sophisticated when it comes to understanding the value of their data and how companies could potentially abuse it. Sure there are understandable concerns about data theft, but more generally they are worried about the way in which some companies may collect unnecessary data or pass information on to other parties, some of which may not even be based in the US.

They are also not afraid to take action. On one level this could mean abandoning purchases if they don't feel confident that the company will respect their data concerns. Over 65% of US men, and 50% of women have taken further steps asking for a correction or deletion, processing of their personal data to be stopped, or for their data not to be sold on.

So it is clear that lack of transparency is preventing sales in retail and that consumers are demanding an environment where they feel secure. If not, they vote with their feet and go elsewhere.

Trust as a brand differentiator

For most companies trust is pivotal to the success of their business. It is a core brand issue and in many ways marketers are the custodian of this trust. It is essential that companies maintain the trust of their customers. Even small issues can have a devastating impact on the perception of a company.

At the same time trust can be a positive, a brand differentiator. At Securys we are adamant that if marketers collaborate with privacy, legal and tech to create best  practices they are in a position to communicate those gold standards to consumers, many of whom only make purchases with companies they feel respect them and their personal data.

On the webinar Ben Rapp, Founder & Principal at Securys, argued, “If we can build a trust environment, where consumers actually want to share more information because they directly see the value they get back from doing that…then you can use privacy as a leader to drive a competitive advantage.” 

American marketers can also look for inspiration in other parts of the globe. With privacy legislation enacted some 140 countries worldwide, the most forward-thinking enterprises are using these regulations as a springboard to deliver data privacy that is as transparent as possible and more in tune with what the contemporary consumer demands.

The key thing for brands is to not be overwhelmed by the task, but to start the balls rolling. As another of our panellists Joana McKenna, CEO of, pointed out at the webinar, data privacy should be an ongoing process. 

“I think it's about defining where we want to be and then taking bite-sized initiatives because we can't do it all at once. It takes time, especially with legal and finance to get things aligned. But the more we can chip away at it and start executing on deliverables to drive a best in class experience for customers who want to shop online, the more effective our marketing becomes.”

Of course US marketers have plenty of other data issues to focus on. Many US states are in the process of re-defining their privacy regulations, at the same time tech companies are rethinking their stance on third party data.

By taking positive action to deliver far-sighted privacy policies, companies can create a halo around their brand. And marketers, driven by notions of making their brands stand out, should lead those discussions.


Webinar recording - Privacy sells: the value US consumers place on privacy

To watch the full recording of the webinar hosted with the AMA, click here.

Privacy Made Positive®

Click here to download the eBook on our US research with detailed findings.

To find out more about our Privacy Made Positive® programme and the toolkit we have developed to help businesses profit from privacy, visit 

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