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Syniverse consumer research rings trust alarm bells

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US vendor Syniverse is using the start of Mobile World Congress 2016 to highlight some recent research into consumer attitudes to mobile brands, which revealed a growing trust problem.

Over 70% of consumers don’t trust mobile operators with their data, according to the survey, and it’s got worse over the past three years. 25% don’t believe their data will be kept private or secure, 21% are worried about how it will be used in future and 19% are concerned that their data will be sold on to a third party.

“We’re going to have this wonderful mobile engagement experience based on the fact that we, as consumers, are willing to share some kind of personal data, even if it’s just a willingness to receive notifications,” said Syniverse CMO Mary Clark in an interview with Telecoms.com. “This is very much the direction the marketing model is going now: away from mass marketing towards one that is much more personalised, so we said ‘OK let’s validate this’.

“There’s a really big concern associated with how the data is being used. Furthermore 75% of people think it’s difficult to withdraw their data from the brand. So there’s this huge amount of distrust and yet there’s this drive to get more personal, and it comes down to: what are you willing to do if there’s a benefit back to you?”

Syniverse’s ultimate conclusion is that consumers are still willing to share their data, but need explicit reassurance that it’s in their interest to do so and tangible proof of the benefit. The increased intimacy of the relationship between brand and consumer that is enabled by all this data works both ways. There is now a much larger burden of trust placed on the brand by the customer and a greater danger of permanently damaging that relationship if that trust is abused.

“All players in the mobile value chain must rethink their approaches to harvesting, managing and using personal data,” said Clark. “They must take a more transparent approach to personalization that empowers control and guarantees data security and privacy. It is on this foundation that a new ‘mobile privacy pact’ will be established to ensure business models and engagement strategies of the future are fully realized.”


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