Yesterday, we reported on the new proposed legislation regarding the use of social security numbers and the protection of consumer data. From a direct marketing perspective, we mentioned that this is an area where we need to be very proactive as an industry to protect our customers (and their consumers) from identity theft and other consumer privacy concerns.
We have a unique opportunity to impact this before consumers are impacted -- or heaven forbid -- they change their buying behavior. If we don't figure out a positive way to impact this problem, our customers will react -- and their reaction will definitely mean a negative effect on our bottom line.
Case in point . . . DM News reports today that "in the wake of recent massive data breaches at businesses, educational institutions and medical facilities, consumers are growing more concerned about identity theft and, as a result, changing their buying behavior . . ." In fact, the article goes on to report that "thirty-six percent of respondents said they would not use their credit or debit cards to make a purchase with a Web merchant they do not know. The study also shows that 62 percent of respondents have been notified that their confidential data have been lost, and 84 percent of those reported increased concern or anxiety because of data-loss events."
This is not good news. Online purchasing behavior is changing due to these heightened security concerns -- and let's face it -- it's changing for good reason. If any of you have ever gone through trying to clear things up after your identity has been stolen, you know what a painful and time-consuming process this can be.
If you have a success story or best practice that you'd like to share, please comment so that we can post it here. At the end of the day, it behooves every single direct marketer to attack this issue to protect our valuable clients and stop those thieves in their tracks!