Data Sharing and The Generational Divide

I wrote recently about the importance of ‘Giving then Receiving‘, reminding marketers to give something to their audience before asking for personal data. It works, and I’ve been touched by the messages I received from you sharing your experiences of testing this approach.

New data from Mintel in the USA should provide further encouragement if you’ve not yet taken the plunge. The research, focussed primarily on exploring the online behaviours and attitudes of millennials, highlights how open young people can be to sharing their personal data. Almost one in three of millennials (30%) questioned said they would happily share even their most private information after receiving an incentive offer like a money-off discount coupon. For the older baby boomer generation, that percentage was only 13%.

And before anyone jumps on the “silly young people” bandwagon, this phenomenon has less to do with youths being naive or irresponsible with their data, and everything to do with the norms they have learned in their lives to date. To illustrate this, it turns out that baby boomers are more likely to disclose their mailing address (40%) than millennials (38%); perhaps the older we are, the less protective we are of the data we have grown used to disclosing throughout our lives.

What this shows is that the younger generation, who grew up in the Information Age, is clearly more comfortable with sharing those types of personal information and are far less skeptical than their parents

Fiona O’Donnell, Mintel

The implications and opportunities for marketers are clear. Our data collection goals and approach should be adjusted to appeal to the target audience we are seeking to understand. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ data collection form is unlikely to be uniformly successful; bespoke, tailored forms designed to appeal to the recipient are likely to generate far higher response levels.

And with a savvy content strategy that serves the right content for each audience segment, before presenting them with a tailor-made data collection form inviting them to get more great, customised content, the opportunities for great insight driven marketing have never been greater. Think about it. The potential is huge.

Want to learn more? You can read further highlights of the Mintel report here.