Will consumers pay a premium to withhold their data?

Posted by Jenni Armstrong on 19 November 2014

Last week I attended the fifth Performance Firestarters event at Google’s HQ in London, where the topic for debate was data. Provocations were made by three leading lights in data and analytics: Rob Jackson from Havas, Alistair Dent from Periscopix, and Ben Chesser from Footfall 123.

The question that dominated the evening was this: how can digital marketers accurately measure ROI when a customer discovers a product online, but purchases in store? Ben Chesser offered a solution to the clicks and bricks conundrum: Footfall 123.

The simplest way to explain what Footfall 123 do is by giving you a quick scenario. You’re browsing online and you see a banner ad from, let’s say Pizza Express, offering you 50% off a pizza. You click on the ad, hit a landing page and enter your email address. A voucher is then sent to your phone with a QR code (square barcode), and when you next get hungry you go to Pizza Express and eat a scrumptious pepperoni pizza. When paying the bill you scan the QR code on your phone, and just like that, Pizza Express can measure revenue generated in store from a digital campaign.

This is great news for marketers, who gain an accurate picture of your path to purchase. And it’s good news for consumers too, who can opt-in to swap data for discounts. But what happens if I’m a CEO who values profit over ethics? Would I artificially inflate my prices and force customers to part with their data, or pay a premium to withhold it?

There is no doubt that data is the new currency. And while it can help companies offer you what you want, when you want, where you want it, it will be down to tomorrow’s leaders to protect consumers and be ethically aware when acquiring customer data.

What are your views on this? Is it the government’s responsibility to moderate data acquisition? Is this an opportunity for ethical businesses to gain competitive edge?

Til next time,
Joe McRoberts