The value exchange

Oct 13, 2020

To state the obvious, privacy is a personal thing. Some of us don’t mind sharing personal information – at least in some situations – while others are more circumspect. Each of us has a unique perspective.  

To many, the decision boils down to a few things: what personal information I’m sharing, who I’m sharing it with, how they’re using and protecting it, and importantly, what am I getting in return for sharing something about myself.  

The last point is interesting. Data exchange is fundamental to many of the goods and services consumers interact with daily. Our 2018 research study Data Privacy – What the Canadian consumer really thinks found that three-quarters of Canadian consumers are willing to share personal data in order to receive benefits, as long as the data is properly protected. That value could range from some form of discount to just a better online experience tailored to their needs and interests.

We have witnessed phenomenal digital transformation during the pandemic. The Digital Marketing Pulse Survey conducted by Ipsos that we released last week found that, although Canadian consumers are very worried about the privacy of their personal information, very few are changing their use of social media and more than four in 10 want to see ads that are relevant/targeted, reflecting a clear contradiction between what people say and what they do.

Nevertheless, consumers’ trust in an organization can be shaken if they believe their personal information is being abused. And if consumers are willing to look the other way, regulators are not. As marketers operating in the digital economy, we need to build and retain the trust of consumers and regulators by using personal information responsibly and playing within the rules. 

For many years, the CMA has provided marketers with tools and best practices to make it easier for you to identify and reach your customers through data-driven marketing while staying within the rules. One way we do this is through our annual event: CMAprivacy, which is coming up on October 20. We are pleased that Canada’s Privacy Commissioner and a diverse selection of marketing and privacy experts will be joining us. This year’s event comes at an important time, as Canada is facing the most significant changes to its federal and provincial privacy laws in decades.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Stay safe,

John Wiltshire
President and CEO




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