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Personalization is all the rage these days – with a primary goal being to enable 1-to-1 communication. A new survey from Selligent Marketing Cloud gives one reason why marketers – who are yet to move to individualized campaigns – may want to work on those efforts rather than broader segments.

The survey, fielded among 7,000 respondents globally, found an overwhelming preference for being treated as an individual rather than a member of a segment. Fully three-quarters (74%) of respondents agreed that they expect companies to treat them as an individual, not as a member of some segment like “millennials” or “suburban mothers.” This compares with 20% who were neutral on the topic, and only 6% who disagreed.

The figures were even slightly higher in the US, where 77% of respondents expect to be treated as individuals, not part of a marketing segment.

The trouble for marketers, though, is that there’s a reluctance to provide the data that can enable that type of engagement. About three-quarters of the survey’s respondents are at least somewhat concerned about companies tracking their behavior on their websites and apps – the type of first-party data that could be used to personalize experiences to the individual user.

Consumers’ concerns likely stem from their worries about data breaches: 88% of respondents are at least somewhat concerned about getting hacked or experiencing a data breach that exposes their data. Yet almost half (45%) agree that companies should use their personal data to provide them with better service.

The desire for personalized experiences and communications – and its conflict with the means for getting there – is apparent elsewhere in the results, too. Fully 62% of respondents are “quite” or “very” concerned about companies tracking their location even when they’re not interacting with them. But only 41% have that level of concern about companies sending them messages based on their current location or needs…

In other results from the report:

  • The vast majority (79%) of consumers are least somewhat concerned with companies tracking their behavior on other company sites;
  • 2 in 3 respondents globally are annoyed when companies keep promoting things they they have already bought, even if not from them (a chief complaint with retargeting ads, and also a frustration with email offers);
  • 7 in 10 respondents globally are sometimes to very frequently annoyed with companies that don’t provide the convenience, relevance and value they expect.

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