Big Data is Out and Your Data Is In: SDL Global Study Finds Millennials Expect Brands to Use Their Unique Data for Hyper-Targeted Experiences

Wakefield, Mass.
May 7 2014

Press Release

Results show that 54 percent of Millennials in the U.S. would provide more personal data if it meant more relevant offerings

Despite all the hype surrounding Big Data, it's the small data - the customer's data - that really impacts the bottom line.  Millennials in the U.S. will respond to brands when they use data specific to them to create a contextualized and personal customer experience, according to a new study by SDL(LSE: SDL) . 

The survey findings are featured in SDL’s second report of the “Five Truths for Future Marketers” series titled “Your Data Trumps Big Data.” This report examines the need for marketers to analyze customer data above all other data to gain a competitive edge in customer experience management, particularly when marketing to millennials, and can be downloaded here.

Consumers in the millennial generation are increasingly aware of the data that brands are collecting on them, but reactions to this differ around the world. In a global study released today by SDL, more than 40 percent of millennials in the U.S. could identify the digital data brands are using to track their behaviors, setting the expectation that marketing touch points should be personalized, contextual and timely. While this might be unique to brands in the U.S., this data identifies the need for a fair value exchange when it comes to successful customer experience management.  

However, global data dictates that what consumers find valuable is what should resonate most with brands.  In the U.S., brands should give more to get more when it comes to their customers, but they should not take the same approach around the world as millennials have expressed concerns over the use of their personal information. 

Customer data has become the currency for engagement with millennial consumers:

Give More to Get More: Over half of the respondents in the U.S. (52 percent) have no issue with brands using data to provide a better customer experience.
Privacy over Purchase: Globally, millennials had drastically different responses, with only 37 percent of UK millennials in agreement and an even smaller amount of 13 percent agreement recorded in the Netherlands. These findings indicate that personal data should dictate how a brand interacts with millennials if they hope to establish meaningful relationships.

Transparency Translates: 60 percent of U.S. millennials will provide more personal data to a company they trust. If brands are using tracked information to better the customer experience, consumers will see how the data is being used and ultimately begin to trust the motives of the brand – fostering future engagements and ultimately purchases.
Time is Money: Additionally, 46 percent of millennials, globally, are willing to provide more data to businesses if it meant they weren't forced to entertain offers that aren't relevant.

Brands should practice greater transparency in their marketing efforts to customers, specifically to win over the millennial generation. Showing consumers how the data is being handled and using it to offer them more, will lead to brand loyalty, in the U.S., in the long run. But more importantly, brands need to keep in mind that millennials across the globe do not share the same viewpoints and therefore must tailor their marketing strategies to reflect this. As the research indicates, Big Data means nothing when it comes to strategy and engagement – it is the consumer data that tells all.

“With the ability to understand what consumers in the millennial generation want from brands, it is up to marketers to ensure they get it,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO at SDL. “Consumers in the U.S. do not want or expect the same as consumers across the globe, and personal data that is collected by brands daily clearly states this. Big Data, without sifting through to obtain the small portion relevant for customers, has no value when it comes to the customer experience. For success, marketers need to spend time focusing on what matters to the consumers in the region they are selling in, and alter their strategies to align.” 

The study sampled more than 1,800 millennials (ages 18-36) across the globe, with more than 300 respondents in each country including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. It was conducted between January and April, 2014. The first data set sampled more than 300 millennials in the U.S. only. The complete results of the first data set of the study can be found

To learn more about how “Your Data Trumps Big Data,” download our report and infographic.

About SDL

SDL (LSE: SDL) allows companies to optimize their customers’ experience across the entire buyer journey. Through its web content management, analytics, social intelligence, campaign management and translation services, SDL helps organizations leverage data-driven insights to understand what their customers want, orchestrate relevant content and communications, and deliver engaging and contextual experiences across languages, cultures, channels and devices.

SDL has over 1,500 enterprise customers, over 400 partners and a global infrastructure of 70 offices in 38 countries. We also work with 72 of the top 100 brands. For more information, please visit www.sdl.com.

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Jessica Hohn-Cabana
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