Privacy issues have been positioned as one of the hot topics marketers need to consider not only for their data strategy, but reputation as well. There are more and more laws and regulations that control what can be done with the data, but also a greater awareness among citizens on the subject.

In the relationship between privacy, consumers and brands, not all citizens are the same. Although the concern for privacy has grown in a generalized way and consumers are, all of them, increasingly aware of the importance of data and what it means for companies, not all age groups see things in a different way same.

There is a generation gap, one more, also in how the relationship between data and consumer expectations is managed. The younger they are, the more reluctant they will be when it comes to trusting companies.

This has just been shown by a study by eMarketer, which is based on an American-based sample but is well worth understanding generational dynamics in a much broader way. Young consumers are the most disbelieving when it comes to trusting companies and their protection in terms of data.

The generation gap
Only 39% of members of Generation Z, which runs from 1997 to 2012, say they trust companies to protect their personal information once it is given to them. It is by far the group with the lowest data. Millennials don’t trust companies much either.

More than half distrust them, but still they are much closer to the border with which most consumers do trust brands. 47% of millennial respondents (1981 to 1996) trust that the company will protect their data. Older consumers are more confident than younger consumers. 53% of Generation X (1965 to 1980), 54% of baby boomers (1946 to 1964) and 51% of seniors (1928 to 1945) do say that they trust how the company will protect their information once who give it to you.

What does this mean for companies
Given that data is a very important piece of marketing strategy and, furthermore, given that younger consumers present the most complex challenge, marketers must be very aware of this reality. They need the data to understand and prepare for the market changes younger consumers are making. For that, they have no choice but to gain a consistent data flow.

But if young consumers don’t trust what they will do with that information and how they will protect it, marketers have a serious problem on their hands. Companies must create safe climates, environments in which consumers feel comfortable sharing personal data and in which they are not afraid of what might happen next with that information.

In general, they should do it with all consumer groups, but they should do much more to convey all this to young people as they are the ones who position themselves most reluctantly.

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