CIM: why marketing spam is a now a dangerous norm

By Real GDPR

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has released research highlighting the extent to which the general public is being bombarded with marketing materials.

42 percent of people surveyed say they receive marketing via social media at least once a day, and over a third (36 percent) receive calls once a week or more.

Although customers receive a high level of marketing materials, half of those who have ever received them say it is never relevant to them. Of those who receive promotional materials, it is most common to receive marketing about a hobby or interest they don’t have (61 percent) or for them to receive promotions for offers in areas they neither live in nor visit (35 percent).

Even more concerning is that over half (55 percent) of people receiving promotional material believe the majority of these organisations obtained their contact details without their consent.

CIM’s research also revealed the sectors that are the most and least trusted when it comes to data management. The lowest ranking sectors are fast moving consumer goods* – only one percent deem them trustworthy, followed by media, including publishers (two percent). 

Meanwhile there was some positive recognition for the work of financial services (34 percent), healthcare and pharmaceuticals (25 percent) and professional and business services (16 percent) on the way they manage people’s data.

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, comments: “What’s most worrying about these results is that they are unsurprising. In our interconnected, 'always on' world, being bombarded with irrelevant materials has become the expected or the norm. It's not good enough and it's eroding the trust between customers and businesses. We need to act now and this is why we are asking organisations to take the Data Right pledge, to commit to showing greater respect and accountability to their customers.

“Businesses have a responsibility to their customers to be transparent, respectful and clear about how they use their personal information. Not only is this best data practice, but it ultimately will help consumers feel more confident and enjoy the benefits of sharing more personal data with businesses. The more data is shared, the easier it is for companies to provide relevant, targeted communications to consumers. But until businesses step up and show their commitment to best practice, they risk alienating their customers and damaging their brand.”

CIM’s Data Right pledge asks businesses to commit to do four key things:

  • Be clear: businesses should tell consumers how and when they will use their data
  • Show respect: companies need to ensure trust, honesty and accountability are at the heart of the relationship with their customers
  • Be in the know: businesses need to continually familiarise themselves with the dos and don’ts of data rights and  the law, such as the upcoming changes due to new GDPR legislation, and best practice
  • Show the benefits: businesses must help customers understand how data collection can benefit them
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