Living in the internet age, any personal information we reveal and every action we take online is being recorded, processed, and analysed to generate enormous quantities of data. Any information, including our ages, interests, favourite music and movies, contacts, location history, online searches, email, and telephone communications are being exploited in order to improve marketing efforts by large corporations. They are being logged by Data Collectors from our phones, apps, web services, operating systems, and web sites that we use. The data is then used by both the organisations that collect it and also sold on the open market by Data Brokers. The quantity of data collected, processed and analysed has given rise to the name for this practice: big data.
Big data, and its application to the marketing world, Data-Driven Marketing, has revolutionised advertising and customer acquisition. The ability to interrogate big data sets to identify audiences, perform predictive market research, and target specific demographics, groups, or individuals allows businesses to optimise the use of their marketing budgets. From improving the conversion rate of advertising to informing and validating corporate strategy, decisions are increasingly being based on big data insight. Although consumers do benefit from some aspects of big data, such as the provision of free, advertising-supported services (such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera) and personalisation of services (such as predictive text input, suggested searches, anticipated navigation directions), it comes at the cost of decreasing privacy and increasing corporate surveillance.
As public awareness of the collection and use of their data for marketing purposes rises, big data is becoming a hot topic. There is now an interest in data protection, the right to privacy, and the ethicality of collection practices. Consumers no longer have control of their personal information, and they may not be aware of that their data is being collected and processed for marketing purposes.
This research aims to answer the following question “To what extent do consumers feel that they can control the amount and type of their personal data that is used in marketing campaigns?”. In order to achieve this objective, a survey was conducted in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area, an affluent part of Dublin. From the responses collected, it is possible to answer the research question and test the hypothesis above. This paper also will present the limitations of the research and highlight the results with conclusions drawn at the end. Author Keywords: Big Data, Data Protection, Consumer Awareness, Ireland, Information Sharing, Marketing