At the heart of market research is the desire to learn more about consumers. Who are they? What makes them tick?
In the quest for this data, market researchers must be more careful than ever to protect people’s privacy. Data breaches, secrecy, and being ungenuine can break the trust between businesses and their clients.
Compliance Tips For Market Research
To maintain confidentiality — and inspire confidence — marketers should follow these five compliance tips when researching their target audience.
Be Upfront About Data Collection
Whether or not they’re subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), market researchers should tell people when they collect personal information from them.
Websites can inform people when they’re using cookies, for example. Businesses should also let people know about their data privacy and security policies.
Collecting information covertly or informing people after data collection has already occurred leads to a breach of trust. People who trust a business could be more likely to become loyal customers.
Clarify About How Data Will Be Used
People may also be more likely to provide information about themselves if they know explicitly how a business will use it. Why is this collection necessary? How will it help the company?
Market research is highly beneficial in many areas for companies, and researchers should explain whether the data they’re collecting is for a survey, product development, ad purposes, or another reason.
Businesses can ask people for permission to collect data for specific projects. But even after receiving authorization to obtain their information for one project, they may still need permission again for future research.
Just because a client participated in one survey doesn’t mean they wanted to sign up for several.
Companies should inform people if they share the information with a third party. They should also let people know how long they plan on using the data. Telling people the data will only be used for a short time can help get more people’s consent.
Notify People When a Breach Happens
Security breaches are a serious threat to market researchers. They can involve releasing customers’ personally identifying information, making them vulnerable to cybercrimes like identity theft.
If data leaks happen, companies should be upfront about what information was released, who has it, and how the criminal might use it. Market researchers who collected the information should notify their supervisors immediately.
Delete Data As Requested
In most cases, people have the right to be digitally forgotten. This situation isn’t true for every industry — hospitals, for instance, can hold people’s information confidential to provide medical care.
But other sectors must delete a person’s data when requested to do so and not allow third parties to access it.
Although it is essential for businesses, market research isn’t a valid reason to permanently store people’s information, unlike for scientific or medical purposes.
This gives people more autonomy and control over data that may no longer be relevant in their lives.
Let People View Their Data
If people request to see the information a company has collected about them, they should have the right to do so.
This is called the right of access, a fundamental component of data protection laws. Refusing to reveal the information can make people feel angry and suspicious.
Maintaining Trust and Compliance
Doing market research is an integral part of running a business. Market researchers should take care only to collect relevant data, store it properly and be transparent with people about its use. This practice will create a solid relationship between businesses and their clients.