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Obtaining Customer Data Ethically

Customer data is crucial to your business goals. However, have you considered the person behind the data? Explore ethical data sourcing with us.

Ethical Data Sourcing

Like everyone else, you know that data is immensely important to the success of your business. You rely heavily on customer data to understand your target audience, improve your products and services, and drive revenue growth.

But have you ever given any thought into how you acquire that data? In our first post, we highlighted how increasing concerns about privacy and data security makes building trust with your customers a difficult task.

Additionally, acquiring customer data comes with its own considerations. For example, getting aggregate third party data may extend your reach, but its accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.

What if there was another way?

Now more than ever, it’s important to better understand where your customer data is coming from and, more specifically, source that customer data ethically.

Think of ethical data sourcing as a way to create a long lasting and impactful relationship with your customer or soon-to-be customer by buying their data directly from them.

Let’s explore some best practices for ethical data sourcing.

Be Transparent About Data Collection

One of the most important aspects of ethical data sourcing is transparency.

As an individual, think of all the terms of service you’ve accepted to read an article online or see someone’s vacation pictures. Unless you have the time or interest to read it all, you more than likely have no idea what you’ve agreed to regarding what data of yours will be collected or who will have access to it.

This is called into question in Drew Harwell’s article for Washington Post which details how data brokers are now selling mental health data collected by tele-health and tele-therapy apps.

If that doesn’t sit well with you, then you’re in good company.

According to Pew Research, roughly 60% of Americans believe it is not possible to go through their daily life without having their data collected.

Ultimately, being transparent about data collection can help build trust with your customers and soon-to-be customers.

Obtain Consent

In addition to being transparent, we need to obtain consent from customers before collecting their data. This means providing clear and concise information about the data being collected and giving customers the option to opt-out if they don't want their data to be used.

According to a survey by Gartner, 79% of Americans want more control over the personal information they give businesses.

By obtaining consent, you can ensure that you are collecting data from customers and soon-to-be customers who are willing to share it.

Protect Customer Data

Protecting customer data is essential to ethical data sourcing and maintaining trust with your customers.

That protection is also expected.

In a consumer survey, 63% stated that they believe that the company is always responsible for protecting their personal data.

Further, 81% said that it would be game over for a brand following a data breach.


Companies must implement strong security measures to protect customer data from unauthorized access, disclosure, or destruction.

Limit Data Retention

Lastly, you should consider limiting the retention of customer data to only what is necessary for your business purposes.

This means deleting or anonymizing data that is no longer needed or no longer relevant. This can help reduce the risk of data breaches and can also help build trust with customers by demonstrating a commitment to protecting their privacy.

In other words, collect only what you need or will be useful to your business goals.

A Better Way

At Ownli, we believe in ethical data buying. So we’ve made a platform for our business partners to learn more about their customers and soon-to-be customers by rewarding them for their certified data.

That means buying data directly from the individual creating it, certifying that it’s legitimate via the Ownli platform, and the user consenting to sell it to you. This isn’t the roll of the dice with data from 3rd party data brokers.

Most importantly, it means a direct connection with the customer so that you can garner their trust and business.

If you’d like to learn more about Ownli, then we’d love to hear from you.

Click here to schedule a call with Elan, our CEO, to see what Ownli can do for you.


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