Next year you may have to pay customers for their data

Next year you may have to pay customers for their data

Sounds ridiculous, right? But I believe it will happen. The attitude of different generations to personal data means that some people will recognise the value of their data and ask firms to pay for it.

My view comes from research conducted by the Data Marketing Association (DMA) which categorised people as either Data Pragmatists, Data Unconcerned or Data Fundamentalists. Here’s how these 3 groups view their personal data:

  • Data Pragmatists – Understand the ‘value exchange’ and are prepared to share their personal data in exchange for access to a product/service.
  • Data Unconcerned – Unconcerned about the collection and use of their personal information. 
  • Data Fundamentalists – Unwilling to provide personal information even in return for a reward.

The DMA has conducted studies on attitudes to personal data in 2012, 2015 and 2017. In the latest report, it highlights there is a “generational shift in attitudes towards data-exchange”.

I believe future generations will include a new breed of consumer; Data Capitalists

People over 55 years old are less likely to share their personal information compared to other generations. Over 55s are more likely to be Data Fundamentalists.

In the 35-54 year-old age group you are more likely to find people that are Data Unconcerned, and 18-34 year-olds is where Data Pragmatists dominate.

But I believe future generations will include a new breed of person; Data Capitalists. Currently, Data Pragmatists are prepared to give their personal data in exchange for access to a free App, software or document. Data Capitalists fully understand the value of their personal data and will want to ‘monetise’ it.

The DMA report reveals the proportion of people that hold such a ‘capitalist’ mindset towards data has increased from 40% in 2012 to 56% in 2017. Among 18-24 year-olds, it has risen to 61%.

In-house marketing executives may not be able to justify paying for customer/prospect data, but marketing agencies can ‘re-use’ data, so the ROI on buying it will be higher. Time will tell. 

I’m not suggesting marketers will pay for every person’s data, just those they need – the high-value ones. It’s also open to debate whether the payment will be annual or lifetime. Furthermore, there is a discussion to be had on whether a recruiter that pays for data has exclusive or shared usage.

If you don’t think you’ll pay for the prospects/customers you know today, what about those in the future? The young adults at school, college, university or apprentices that have a different attitude to personal data – tomorrow’s Data Capitalists.

These young adults will not expect to make a fortune from selling their data, for them, it’s the principle that their data is valuable and organisations should pay for it.

Still not convinced this will happen? Many moons ago you had to pay to discover your credit rating, then one firm decided to offer free credit scores, and soon everyone jumped on the bandwagon (Experian, CapitalOne, ClearScore, Noddle, Equifax, TotallyMoney, etc.) All it will take is for one recruiter to offer a monetary reward and others will follow. If not next year, when?

So how much would you pay for a prospect/customer data? The really good ones. And how much extra if they agreed to remove their data from all other sources and competitors?


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