The continual demand for customer information, along with advances in technology and the merging of information sources, has lead marketing organizations to gather information in ways that raise concerns among privacy advocates. Many customers are unaware of the amount and nature of the data marketers collect. As new information gathering techniques and technologies emerge customer response to issues of privacy may determine whether these methods are feasible or forbidden.
The growing concern with privacy is leading many customers to limit their participation in a company’s research activities. This includes customers choosing not to respond to company requests to take part in research studies that may come via telephone or email solicitation. Customers are also becoming more aware of how their Internet activities are tracked and are responding by using techniques to restrict marketers tracking efforts. For example, marketers can place small data files called cookies on customers’ computer and then use this to track user activity. Many customers are learning to disable the cookies and, in doing so, limit the marketer’s ability to track customer activity.