Companies’ ability to collect, analyse, and use consumer data to gain insights into consumer preferences and behavior is pivotal in today’s marketing landscape and will become even more important as more elements of human life become digitalized. Concerns about consumer privacy may increasingly become an obstacle to obtaining the consumer data required to get the in-depth knowledge about consumers’ characteristics, preferences, and behavior that is needed to establish and maintain profitable customer relationships and gain a competitive advantage. The first aim of this dissertation is to study how consumers integrate privacy considerations into their decision-making processes with regard to sharing their data with companies.
The second aim is to study how companies’ activities with regard to company-consumer interactions throughout the customer journey affect consumers’ data sharing. The results of four empirical (series of) studies are presented. The first empirical study focuses on understanding how consumers incorporate privacy concerns in their evaluations of companies in the specific setting of online customer service encounters, drawing on privacy regulation theory and using privacy calculus theory as underlying framework. The next chapter zooms in further on privacy calculus theory and presents a novel theoretical perspective on the flexibility of privacy preferences and data sharing tendencies using construal level theory. The third study looks at the effects of corporate transparency on consumers’ data sharing behavior. The final empirical chapter looks beyond ‘overcoming privacy concerns’ as a means of persuading consumers to share data, by investigating how branded content can stimulate consumer engagement behaviors in different stages of the customer experience.