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Are consumer concerns about big data warranted?

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Most companies already have a big data strategy in place or have one in the pipeline. These efforts can help businesses make better decisions based on data, rather than relying on gut instincts or reacting to changes that have already occurred. A significant aspect of big data uses information to help businesses gain a better understanding about consumers, specifically pertaining to their needs and desires.

However, nonprofit groups such as Consumer Watchdog paint a dark picture of big data, according to iMedia Connection. The organization chooses to compare data harvesting to spying on customers. However, this doesn't take into account the benefits shoppers might experience as a result of these initiatives, such as personalization.

If consumers were asked whether they would prefer general advertisements that may not appeal to their interests, or posts about items they like, they might be more in favor of companies using big data.

Data brokering firms - those that collect consumer information for companies' use - can use gathered information to ensure only the most relevant messages land in a customers' inboxes, according to CNN. For these efforts to be effective and legal, businesses must put measures in place to verify data quality. This can prevent them from sending messages to customers who have asked to be removed from contact lists, and ensure that all communications reach the correct recipients.