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ForbesTurn-Who-Benefits-From-Personal-Data-Exchange-Oct2013About 7 in 10 executives selling to B2C and B2B customers (“sellers”) believe that those customers are willing to share their personal information if they see a benefit to doing so, per results [download page] from a Forbes Insights and Turn study. The customers themselves are a bit less likely to agree, though: 53% of B2C customers and 45% of B2B respondents claim to be generally willing to share information where there’s a benefit involved. Part of the reason may be that customers feel that sellers benefit more than they do from the exchange.

Indeed, asked who benefits most when companies collect, analyze and act upon information obtained from their dealings with them, 60% of B2C respondents pointed to the seller, with just 2% feeling that individual customers benefit most. B2B buyers were less one-sided in their responses: one-third said the seller benefits most, while another 13% believe that all benefit, but mostly the seller. By comparison 18% feel that groups of customers benefit, while 13% believe their company benefits most. (Just 14% feel that it’s an equal exchange, with all parties benefitting to the same degree.)

Sellers themselves tended to be closer to the B2B participants’ views: a slight majority feel that the seller ends up with the lion’s share of the benefits from the data exchange, while 30% feel that customers (whether groups or individuals) are the biggest beneficiaries.

So what would incentivize a customer to share personal information? For B2C respondents, the most important incentives (rated moderately to very important) are money (87%) and an improved online experience (71%), while B2B values tend more to better services (88%) and products (87%), with money (87%) and time (86%) almost equally as important.

Overall, sellers have some work to do convincing their customers that there’s value in the exchange. 54% of B2C respondents said that their privacy concerns outweigh benefits from sharing information, and only 31% of B2B respondents felt that the benefits of sharing outweigh the risks.

About the Data: In September 2013, partnering with Turn, a provider of data-driven marketing services, Forbes Insights executed three related yet distinct surveys: one for business-to-consumer (B2C) customers (n=106) , one for business-to-business (B2B) customers (n=115), and the primary or “main” survey for executives from “sellers” to both of these segments (n=129).

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