Selligent Marketing Cloud, a marketing automation platform aimed at enabling B2C brands to connect with consumers, recently published the 2nd edition of their Selligent Global Connected Consumer Index. The Index shares insights on how 5000 global consumers feel about personalization, privacy, and brand interactions.

Content produced in collaboration with Selligent Marketing Cloud.

The connected consumer

Customer Experience (CX) spans every facet of an organization and includes every touchpoint that connects a brand to its potential customers. From the ads they see online to the company website, from sales reps to customer service assistants, consumers are judging the overall experience they associate with a brand.

One of the key takeaways of the Selligent Index was that today’s connected consumer has high expectations for quick response times. In fact, 96% of respondents expect a brand to act within 24 hours of a flagged issue and 90% expect a resolution within 24 hours.

rising consumer expectations, how consumers feel about personalization and issue resolution
Source: Selligent Marketing Cloud

The balance between privacy and personalization

Consumers’ high expectations of their interactions with brands are supremely connected to personalization, with 71% of respondents indicating they believed personalization to be very important. The same percentage of consumers expect customer service personnel to know their story after just one contact.

More than 40% of respondents use voice assistants when interacting with a brand and over 50% are willing to share their personal data in exchange for a more personalized customer experience. While this is promising for brands who want to implement and facilitate personalization, privacy was also an important concern among over 70% of respondents.

These concerns ultimately affect consumer behavior. They include fears of voice assistants listening without consent, worries about social media privacy, and alarm following unprompted voice assistant ads (which 69% of respondents deemed “creepy”).

Source: Selligent Marketing Cloud

The good (Read more...) is that if brands maintain a balance between the use of personalization and the respect for customer privacy, consumers across all age groups are willing to share their personal details.

The digital generation gap

From a privacy perspective, older generations are less willing to give out personal data even though younger generations are more privacy-wary.

The Selligent study revealed that only 38% of Boomers were willing to exchange their personal data for a more personalized experienced compared with 57% of millennials, 56% of GenZ and 51% of GenX.

Source: Selligent Marketing Cloud

Younger consumers are adjusting their social media usage based on their concerns for privacy, particularly on Facebook with 40% of younger consumers indicating that they’ve abandoned the platform completely. Other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are also being abandoned by younger consumers, but at a much lower rate.


Source: Selligent Marketing Cloud

Slight regional and generational differences were found regarding privacy concerns and social media usage, though this wasn’t as pronounced as marketers might think given the rollout of GDPR in Europe. In fact, North American respondents were slightly more likely to reduce social media usage or quit a platform completely versus European users.

The impact of voice assistants

Voice assistants (VAs) are used by 45% of survey respondents were a key source of concern among these consumers, with 51% indicating that they’re worried that VAs like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home are listening in on conversations without the consumer’s consent. 

In this instance, it’s actually younger consumers that are more concerned than older ones when it comes to suspicion surrounding voice assistants. The study found that 36% of boomers are suspicious that VAs listen in on conversations without cues versus 58% of GenZ, 57% of GenY and 48% of GenX.

Informing your strategy

Brands can use the Selligent data to help inform their data collection and personalization strategies in a way that strikes a comfortable balance between customer demand for a high level of personalization and their worry over privacy.

Selligent asked consumers to identify when they consider messaging to be helpful versus creepy and the results are illuminating. Nearly three quarters of respondents indicated that they find it helpful when a brand asks how they liked their last purchase. Consumers also appreciate product recommendations based on previous purchases, with 64% of respondents indicating they appreciate when a brand makes personalized recommendations.

Highest on the “creepy” factor is when a brand targets ads based on conversations a consumer has had with a voice assistant such as Siri, with 69% of respondents indicating that they dislike this type of targeting.

One final key takeaway from the survey is that social media plays a large role in a customer’s omnichannel experience and actually influences the online-to-offline customer journey.

64% of consumers indicated they research products online, but prefer to make an in-store purchase, while 61% indicated they research and purchase products online only. And, 50% want recommendations from the brand before going on to make an in-store purchase. Social’s role in consumer research is more prevalent for GenX and GenY versus Boomers and GenX.

Source: Selligent Marketing Cloud

Brands can leverage the data from Selligent’s study to help inform their own company’s strategy and to provide ultra-personalized experiences for their customers while addressing privacy issues and concerns. 

To learn more valuable insights, check out the full Global Connected Consumer Index here. The study includes many more charts and stats than are listed here – including a detailed breakdown of generational trends by country.

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