Last Thursday I attended a webinar hosted by Quirks Marketing Research Review in conjunction with Radius Global. The title of the webinar was Data Security and Privacy: The Opportunity to Differentiate Your Brand With Today’s Consumers. Much of the discussion centered around the importance of data security and privacy of information among consumers and where it fits in their decision-making process. A full survey conducted by Radius in December of 2013 among consumers was used as the basis for all statistics sourced in the webinar presentation.

If you would like to replay the full webinar, here is a link to watch.

Data Security and Privacy

Data security and privacy is something that we deal with on a daily basis here at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS). With our large number of hospital and international healthcare clients, we must abide by HIPAA regulations as a service-provider. We also exchange non-healthcare customer information that needs to be kept secure for our clients and their customers. Our firm has processes and checks in place to ensure client information remains confidential and secure. So the topic of data security and privacy presented by Radius Global immediately sparked my interest at RMS.

Here are 3 key takeaways from the data security and privacy webinar:

  • Takeaway 1: Consumers are willing to provide personal information to companies, but they are: (1) not entirely comfortable doing so and (2) the consumer is not taking extra steps to protect their information or themselves. Working in market research for nearly 10 years, this did not come as a surprise to me. Demographic questions that ask for personal information such as age, income, marital status, are a commonality in surveys for cross-tabulation purposes. Survey respondents are never 100% comfortable giving this information to us, but do so in almost all instances. Our rates of refusals on demographics in surveys is usually 5% or less. Although many consumers state the growing importance of protecting personal information, only a small percentage take regular actions to prevent an issue (using an ID protection service, changing passwords on a regular basis, etc.)
  • Takeaway 2: Consumers believe that ensuring data privacy and security is the responsibility of the vendor they provided the information to and not their personal responsibility. This means that if there is a breach of information or a security issue, the consumer will blame the business. Consumers also stated they would change their behavior if their personal data was compromised (change business, switch vendors, etc.) which has major loss-of-customer implications for companies holding this information.
  • Takeaway 3: The only type of business that consumers feel data security and privacy is not the responsibility of the vendor is social media platforms. By joining these social media sites, consumers are willing to pass their information along proactively as a requirement for joining the site. This is different from other types of businesses requiring information to become a customer or sign-up for services. With social media sites, consumers feel they have more control over what type of personal information to offer up in their profile, and what they would like to keep confidential.
  • Bonus Takeaway: One caveat to this webinar that I thought needed mentioning was the fieldwork for the Radius survey took place in December of 2013. If you can remember back a few months, December 2013 was during the time of the major Target customer data breach with the release of credit card information. So understandably the data collected for this webinar presentation incurs some major bias to the point that survey respondents rated the importance of data security and privacy higher than global issues such as poverty, rising health insurance costs, etc. Not to say that data security and privacy isn’t important, but there is no doubt it was a bit overstated in this survey data which I suppose supported the presenter’s case.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm in Syracuse NY. This post was written by George Kuhn, Director of Research Services at the firm. Connect with George on Twitter by clicking here or on LinkedIn by clicking here. If you are interested in hiring a market research consultant for your business needs contact our Director of Business Development, Sandy Baker at or by calling 315-567-5422.