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Title: What are the limitations in the gathering of individual-level consumer information for direct marketing purposes?
Author: Robertshaw, Gary Steven.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3526 2172
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2005
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The post-modern market is characterised by consumer individuality and eclecticism. Consumers are becoming time poor, better educated, sceptical of advertising, less brand loyal, have more product and service choice and expect personalised levels of service. Essentially, the fragmenting post-modern market has led to a breakdown in the behavioural consistencies previously associated with age, income and occupation, forcing companies to increasingly respond to customer needs on an individualised basis. At the same time, the conditions created by the advent of post-modernism have become a source of competitive advantage for the direct marketing industry given its unique ability to communicate and interact with consumers on a personalised level. Unrivalled levels of product and service customisation, improvements in customer satisfaction, increased customer retention rates, extended lifetime values, the development of customer relationship programmes and the identification of up-selling and cross-selling opportunities are being made possible. This represents a paradigm shift away from mass marketing methods towards a more consumer focused approach, with the result that it has now become both possible and profitable to customise products and services according to the needs of individual customers. A review of the literature, however, reveals that the limitations associated with the gathering of individual-level consumer information, upon which personalised marketing programmes rely, have received little attention. Using 256 personal interviews and a nationally representative, proportionally stratified sample frame combining quantitative and qualitative research methods, this study identifies, quantifies and provides an understanding of these limitations within one allencompassing framework. A number of case studies and hypothetical models are provided that demonstrate that the limitations associated with the gathering of individual-level consumer information have \..A significant and widespread implications for the efficiency of the direct marketing effort and company profitability. A consumer-centric understanding of the concept of data protection is provided, and the level of data protection concerns and prevalence across different consumer groups is quantified. An enhanced insight into the manifestation of data protection concerns with respect to consumer propensity to disclose, omit and falsify personal information is provided. An understanding of the interrelationships and underlying reasons for consumer abstention from the voluntary disclosure of personal information for direct marketing purposes, and omission and falsification of such disclosures is presented. This is supported by quantification of the availability, completeness and reliability of individual-level consumer information and the hypothetical implications for direct marketing practice. Contributors of personal information for direct marketing purposes are shown to be significantly different from abstainers, indicating that individual-level consumer information is biased and prompting a re-appraisal of current customer profiling and data appending practices. Values variance across and within demographically defined groups is demonstrated, confirming the inadequacy of extant direct marketing data gathering techniques and calling for the inclusion of a wider range of consumer classification schemes. The contention of this study is that the combined availability, completeness, reliability and usefulness of individual-level consumer information is significantly limited, thereby constraining the evolution of relationship marketing programmes, interactive communications, pennission marketing and other forms of personalised marketing strategies that exploit the phenomena of post-modern market fragmentation. The new insights imparted offer a better understanding of the manifestation of data protection concerns and implications for the gathering of individual-level consumer information, suggest a number of solutions for improving companies' ability to gather such information coupled with several testable predictions, and provide a revised model contributing to the development of direct marketing theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available