Marketers Operate in Defiance of Privacy Practice, New Study Finds

September 20, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Elk Rapids, Mich. - The latest study conducted by privacy and information management research firm the Ponemon Institute finds that, in spite of compelling evidence that privacy-conscious marketing strategies appeal to consumers and are instrumental in building trust and greater campaign profitability, corporate marketing and privacy organizations often operate at odds with each other.

The groundbreaking study, What Marketing Professionals Think about the Value of Privacy to Consumers, sponsored by marketing strategy firm ZOOM Marketing, is based on the responses of nearly 300 randomly selected, U.S.-based marketing professionals. The survey asked questions related to marketers’ attitudes toward privacy, perceptions of privacy’s utility in marketing campaigns, privacy-related marketing practices, and cooperation between marketing and privacy personnel. Among the study’s most compelling findings:

• More than half of the marketing professionals polled (56%) said they have never asked for assistance from the corporate privacy office
• More than half of the marketing professionals polled (51%) said corporate privacy policies made their efforts more difficult, while 26% said privacy policies had no effect
• Meanwhile, 94% of marketers wanted more guidance from their privacy office on privacy laws and regulations, and
• 76% of marketing professionals stated that respecting consumer privacy preferences is important to building brand trust

Findings suggest that marketers may not be aware of the increasingly strong connection between privacy and brand perception. Recent Ponemon Institute Privacy Trust studies of the federal government, financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and airline industries have drawn a clear association between an organization’s respect for individual privacy and a willingness to do business with the organization. Sound privacy practice has even been attributed to increased profitability.

"Our survey of marketing professionals highlights a troubling reality within marketing: too many companies fail to understand the strategic significance of privacy within the context of a successful, profitable marketing campaign,” observed Dr. Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute. “In spite of a growing body of evidence that shows privacy’s importance to marketing, and in spite of the obvious association between consumer privacy and brand trust, the data show that privacy is still regarded as an inconvenience to the marketing community rather than an opportunity to build strong, long-lasting relationships."

“The place where privacy and marketing professionals can converge is around customer trust,” said Nick Copping, co-CEO ZOOM Marketing. “Seventy eight percent of marketing professionals believe that privacy is important to gain customer trust. Since trust is critical to a brand’s success, this can be the starting point for a productive dialog between marketing and privacy folks. We see exciting possibilities for companies to make privacy and trust part of their competitive differentiation.”

Copies of What Marketing Professionals Think about the Value of Privacy to Consumers are available through both the Ponemon Institute and ZOOM Marketing. Additionally, on September 30, the Ponemon Institute’s RIM Council of leading information management professionals will issue a white paper based on the results of the survey. The paper will offer specific guidance to both marketing and privacy professionals to help build more cooperative and effective operations between corporate marketing and privacy departments.

About the Ponemon Institute
The Ponemon Institute© is dedicated to advancing responsible information and privacy management practices in business and government. To achieve this objective, the Institute conducts independent research, educates leaders from the private and public sectors and verifies the privacy and data protection practices of organizations in a variety of industries.

About ZOOM Marketing
ZOOM is a consulting practice that helps clients gain leadership through business-driven positioning, differentiation and The Point That Matters: The single most important reason your company wins in the marketplace. ZOOM’s client list includes Adobe, EDS, HP, Novell, Oracle, Palm, Sun, Symantec and TiVo. Incorporated in 1997, ZOOM is based in Palo Alto, California.