Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

November 07, 2006 16:57 ET

Consumers Knowledgeable And Supportive Of Company Biz Intelligence

But Very Suspicious About Data Mining

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor VANCOUVER/BC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2006) - According to a province-wide online study of nearly 600 adult BC and AB residents conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA), consumers are very knowledgeable and supportive of companies that conduct business intelligence (BI) activities, and personally participate in a wide number of these activities. However, consumers are also very skeptical and suspicious about data mining, and have significant concerns about invasion of personal privacy, and the potential misuse of this information.

Over one-half of consumers are knowledgeable, supportive, and participate in a wide range of business intelligence activities, except that a sizeable number of consumers are suspicious about data mining activities.

In today's sophisticated marketplace, a sizeable proportion of consumers indicate they are either 'very' or 'somewhat' knowledgeable about business intelligence/knowledge management (44%), environmental scanning/secondary research (40%), or competitive intelligence (44%). The vast majority is knowledgeable about business market research activities (84%); a small majority is knowledgeable of company's data mining activities (52%). Only between 10% and 20% of consumers claim to be 'not at all' knowledgeable about these activities. Comparisons to a similar survey Ipsos Reid did last year shows that consumers are almost as knowledgeable about BI activities as business intelligence leaders at organizations who conduct these activities.

Consumers are also very supportive of businesses that conduct these types of activities, especially marketing research, which receives the strongest support (84% strongly or somewhat support organizations that do this), followed by support for environmental scanning (69%), and business intelligence overall (63%). A smaller group is supportive of competitive intelligence activities (45%).

The most skepticism is levied against data mining activities, as nearly one-half are either 'somewhat' (27%) or 'strongly' (21%) opposed to this, and only 32% support companies that conduct this activity.
Consumers are willing participants in a wide range of Business Intelligence activities, and are quick to see the benefits of participation.

The vast majority of consumers have at some time participated in a wide range of BI activities such as market research (98%), give out credit card numbers online (87%), give personal information for warranties (85%), willingly provide email addresses to companies (80%), join customer clubs to receive rewards/price discounts (79%), join mailing lists (74%), sign up for frequent purchase cards (74%), provide personal info to get free online content (53%), or pay a fee for customer club cards (52%). Consumers agree with a wide range of benefits to doing these types of things, seeing things like getting rewards for frequent shopping, getting price discounts, getting free information, having the ability to voice their opinions to companies, saving time, building personal relationships with the companies they shop with, and finally, allowing companies to tailor their offering to match buying patterns of the consumer.

Although consumers for the most part, participate in BI activities willingly, they have a number of suggestions for where businesses could improve the way in which they conduct themselves in these areas.

Consumers strongly believe that they will only give out information to companies they trust (88%), and admit that they are very concerned about personal identity theft (72%). They also believe that companies are asking for too much personal information (63%) and unnecessary information (64%). A slight majority believes that companies misuse the information that they collect (55%), and while they may collect it, many believe companies don't make good use of the information they do collect (45%).

Those who are reluctant participants of these types of activities cite concerns about getting more junk mail/spam, the invasion of their personal privacy, concerns about selling personal information, identity theft, and uncertainty over what companies are using that information for.

"Today's consumer is highly sophisticated, and understands the need for businesses to collect information from consumers and to conduct various business intelligence activities", says Steve Mossop, President of Ipsos Reid's Western Market Research practice. "However, businesses must do a better job in protecting consumer privacy, and better utilizing the information that is collected so they don't damage the trust that consumers have…".
"Consumers play a vital role in business intelligence - much of the information that businesses utilize emanates from consumers. Their knowledge and support of business intelligence activities is very encouraging and serves to reinforce the direction our industry is taking," says Gail Tibbo, Chair, Business Intelligence Conference. "Still, we have a distance to go in educating consumers about the more sophisticated and technical uses of data. We must tailor consumer information to specific requirements, and justify our data requests with solid, convincing consumer-centric explanations. We need their continuing cooperation and advocacy for a healthy business intelligence climate to reign."

This was the second online business intelligence study of this nature conducted by Ipsos Reid. The first study conducted this time last year involved surveying business decision-makers across Canada, and the current undertaking focused on consumer perspectives towards business intelligence.

Sponsored by Ipsos Reid and MRIA, the goal of the study was to gather perspectives on BI and determine the current trends and challenges that exist in this area. For the purpose of this study, BI is defined as a process for professionally gathering, processing, analyzing and disseminating decision-making information relevant to an organization. It can also be referred to as knowledge management. BI involves the collecting, filtering, analyzing and prioritizing data from various sources including:

* Environmental scanning or secondary market research information (market data such as industry information on trends, technology, sales, production levels, inventories, viewership, readership information).
* Primary market research (from survey-based research, focus groups, etc.);
* Competitive intelligence (organized collection of information about your competition); and,
* Data mining (from customer records, databases and other internal sources).

The full results of the study will be presented by Steve Mossop, President, Market Research Canada West, Ipsos Reid, at the upcoming Second National Business Intelligence Conference sponsored by MRIA on November 9th, 2006 in Vancouver, BC. For more information on the conference, please refer to: http://www.mria-arim.ca/BICONFERENCE.asp.

These are some of the findings from an online Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of MRIA between October 18 and 25, 2006. The poll is based on a sample of 578 adult British Columbians and Albertans from our randomly recruited and representative Voice of the West Panel. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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