How to Make Big Data Personal

Think about what you did today. Who you interacted with. Where you spent your money. Every one of these daily interactions creates the “big data” that informs business decisions. That’s not breaking news.

Personal information is being collected and analyzed constantly and at an alarming rate. But attitudes toward big data are very personal and exist in several shades.

Understanding how open people are to sharing their data and how it is used is critical to generating increased trust, higher quality data, and actionable insights.

A recent Maru/Matchbox study, leveraging its Springboard America Market Community, reveals four distinct groups of consumers, with four different outlooks on how their data can and should be used.


Research shows that 23% of Americans fall into this segment, and they will be very hard to convince that personal data is acceptable. They are firmly against virtually every form of personal data collection and very few feel comfortable with their data being used at all.

So how do you engage with this hard to crack segment?

1. Place Importance on Trust

Establishing trust and two-way communication is a must with this group. They need to completely understand every aspect of your relationship with them as well as have a say in the process. The relationship has to be more than just their data.

2. Provide Absolute Transparency

Clearly lay out how the information about them will be used and include compelling benefits. Do not alienate or assume they understand what they are providing. Educate and provide transparent messaging that will help everyone understand exactly what is happening.

3. Follow Through on Promises

Already on the defense about sharing their data, avoid further upset. Once you have set your terms of disclosure and how personal data will be used, you must follow through on your promises. Even a tiny or perceived slight risks alienating them for good.

Social, Not Commercial

The second key segment you will want to understand is Social, Not Commercial. Research shows that 24% of Americans are comfortable with their data being used for social good, but not in a capitalist way. This segment has a slightly better understanding of what big data is, but that does not mean you can make assumptions.

To engage and win with this segment of the population, you will have to use Big Data responsibly to show you are helping address a range of complex global challenges.

1. Know What They Care About

Before you can act on using Big Data for social good, you need to understand what this particular target truly cares about. This group is looking for organizations who are using Big Data to address social problems such as hunger, disease, poverty, and social inequity.

2. Communicate Social Benefits

It’s important to communicate the social benefits from their personal data being used. Simply making a product better isn’t enough. They need to hear how their data is being used to make the world a better place.

Instead of telling them how their input will help make their water filter better, perhaps talk about how that improved water filter will also be used to help people in other countries get access to clean water.

3. Prove Social Good

As with the Private segment mentioned above, you need to follow through on promises. Share details or even produced content showing the people you have helped based on collected personal data. Those who are fighting for social issues, will become consumers for life if they see their data helping with their own eyes.

Learn More About Big Data Insights

Maru/Matchbox conducted an original research study on Big Data collection and how it impacts consumers. View this essential data on attitudes and behaviors towards Big Data in our latest infographic – Big Data: How to Make It Personal With These 4 Key Consumer Segments.

Click to view infographic

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