SAS says consumers want businesses to understand them better

Posted by David Ranii on October 22, 2013 

— Consumers are concerned about data privacy yet want to receive more personalized marketing messages from the companies they do business with, according to a new survey commissioned by SAS.

“The days of mass marketing, obviously, are over,” said Pamela Prentice, chief research officer at the Cary-based software giant.

The online survey of 1,260 consumers found that 71 percent of consumers are worried about the privacy of their data.

Despite that, many consumers are willing to share information so that businesses can do a better job of targeting goods and services they’re interested in, said Prentice. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they want businesses to understand them better.

The survey also found that businesses are improving in this area, with 59 percent of consumers reporting that companies have gotten better at delivering personalized messages over the past five years. In addition, 33 percent say that the number of irrelevant messages they receive is decreasing.

“They are no longer getting baby diaper ads when they’re in their fifties,” Prentice said.

Nonetheless, the data indicates there remains a lot of room for improvement “from an analytics perspective,” Prentice said. Corporations, government agencies and others use SAS business intelligence and analytics software to analyze their operations and predict trends.

Online retailers ranked first in understanding their customers, followed by grocery stores. Airlines ranked lowest.

Amazon, which Prentice says is a SAS customer, ranked No. 1 among individual businesses for understanding what their customers want.

SAS unveiled the survey Tuesday at its annual Media Day, held at its Cary campus. Nearly 20 journalists from six countries attended.

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