Collecting data without infringing on consumers’ privacy and ultimately sacrificing their loyalty and trust is a new marketing imperative. Marketers must avoid regulatory fines and reputational damages and lead the conversation on consumer privacy. Data deprecation, new privacy laws, and the cookiepocalypse are coming. You’re now past the time to revise your approach to data collection to understand your customers’ preferences and earn their trust. But fear not: You can still act now.

We just published Forrester’s 2022 US Consumer Privacy Segmentation to help marketers navigate five privacy personas: Reckless Rebels, Conditional Consumerists, Data-Savvy Digitals, Nervous Unawares, and Skeptical Protectionists. What’s changed since our 2021 analysis?

  • Protective behaviors are on the rise. Many consumers want to regulate the information they share with companies and protect their data. Eighty-seven percent of US online adults use at least one privacy- or security-protecting tool online. The privacy market is booming: Roughly 80 million people use DuckDuckGo, a privacy-minded search engine, and investment in the privacy software market is projected to reach nearly $26 billion by 2029.
  • Sentiment is mixed regarding targeted advertising. Consumers are fed up with creepy, invasive ads that follow them across the internet. Nearly half of US online adults say they avoid ads in emails and on websites. However, attitudes vary by privacy persona. To balance targeting and privacy, use zero-party data as a mechanism for understanding consumers’ preferences and delivering messaging that’s well received. Each privacy persona has different attitudes on sharing personal information, so work directly with your specific target audience to understand their preferences and respect their privacy choices.

How Can Marketers Adapt?

Today’s marketers are tasked with a difficult objective: to collect first-party data despite consumers’ increasing unwillingness to share their personal information. Learn where your customer base falls in our privacy segmentation and adapt by integrating their preferences into your data strategy. This allows you to differentiate your brand by building privacy-aware practices and experiences.

Remember, more data is not necessarily better — especially if you can’t glean insights from it. Instead of collecting as much data as possible, identify what data you need to improve each customer’s experience, and then design a transparent and respectful way to ask them for it.

Read Forrester’s new 2022 US consumer privacy segmentation report here.