The Transformation of Data Marketing: How an Ethical Lens on Consumer Data Collection Shapes the Future of Marketing

Sophie Hemker*, Carolina Herrando, Efthymios Constantinides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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With a mass of customer data at our fingertips and the ability to use it to individualize promotion strategies, marketing communications, and product offerings, marketing activities are becoming more and more tailored to the individual customer. However, as concerns about online privacy and the handling of personal data take on an ever-increasing significance, marketers must increasingly evaluate and adapt their personalization and data collection methods. As a result, there is an increasing demand to take a critical look at the collection of data for personalization processes from an ethical perspective and to consider implications for further initiatives to maintain consumers’ trust. This research study utilizes a systematic literature review approach to investigate the current state of knowledge on the tradeoff between personalization and customer privacy by synthesizing and integrating extant knowledge. From the results of the present study’s search process, 20 articles were selected and analyzed for this review. Findings emphasize the importance of strengthening consumer relationships by increasing consumer trust, loyalty, confidence, and emotional attachment through specific organizational activities. The adaptation of marketing-related activities can thereby create a competitive advantage for data-collecting companies, as consumer backlash and privacy concerns decrease, and the willingness to disclose data increases. The current research contributes to the field of marketing by reviewing the issue of increasing personalization at the cost of customer privacy and explores how the resulting ethical considerations may affect the future of marketing practices. It thereby serves to help marketeers to implement effective strategies to ensure customer relationships and the resulting willingness to disclose personal data for personalization processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11208
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • personalization; digital marketing; ethics; consumer privacy


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