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Digital Marketing May 18, 2018

How the GDPR and marketing automation will automatically clean up your database

Dept Agency - privacy

GDPR and marketing automation: two concepts that you might initially think are not at all related. However, practice proves the contrary. The introduction of the GDPR and the utilisation of the correct marketing automation flows for your data make it possible to enhance the way you use the right content via the right channel at the right time. However, this is only possible if you know how to set everything up correctly. It is important to keep a few things in mind when you want to implement marketing automation that is in compliance with the new legislation.

E-mail marketing & the GDPR

The new GDPR, which comes into regulation on 25 May 2018, aims to ensure that businesses respect the privacy rights of individual consumers. With the correct cookie consent, a business may store data and track what visitors are looking at on its website. Perhaps you want to send the visitor info on relevant items and articles by e-mail, based on search behaviour? In that case, cookie consent alone will not suffice. In addition to the general cookie consent, you must also ask the recipient for their explicit consent before sending targeted marketing information.

Obviously, there’s no plug-and-play package that will render you compliant with the GDPR in a few mouse clicks. Moreover, opting for quick adjustments that are visible to the outside world right away, like the consistent placement of an opt-in box for every registration page for updates, newsletters, events, etc., is not always the most efficient solution for the long term. Think about the data processes that you must orchestrate ‘behind the scenes’. Are they given sufficient attention in this process? Or is this only dealt with after the explicit consents have been applied?

Rock your data

The GDPR has its advantages. One of them being that you are more or less ‘forced’ to organise your database properly. Thanks, in part, to the ‘record disposal’ component – the part of the legislation that makes it possible for the ‘data object’, or contact person, to actively ask to have his/her data deleted, also known as the ‘right to erasure’ or the ‘right to be forgotten’ – which appears to be the key to keeping the data silos clean. This might feel like a loss, but it is actually a gain. After all, it is quite likely that this data object contributed to a higher bounce rate, lower CTRs or open rates.

Another component of the GDPR states that personal data may only be retained for a specific period. This is tricky because you want to build a long-term relationship with your prospect. No worries, because even this restriction can have positive effects on your database if incorporated correctly.

Why your database needs marketing automation

So, you can maintain your data in a well-structured manner under the GDPR and even clean it up automatically. To achieve this, these two processes will lend a helping hand:

  1. Automatic ruling of your existing data: this means the right contact persons in your database are automatically allocated to a marketing process or deleted from your database.
  2. A marketing automation flow: the starting point (the trigger) is activated as soon as a contact person meets the values established according to such a data ruling.

When your data ruling is up to par, your CRM database will automatically recognise when specific actions must be performed for a contact person. This background process ensures that, for example, de-registrations are processed correctly or that the contact person’s details have the correct values in specific fields.

You then create your marketing automation flow in your usual way. This means that, based on specific field values, you ensure that all contact persons with the right criteria are automatically added to the flow. These contact persons will go through your marketing automation flow as soon as they meet the start criteria. Obviously, it is up to you to determine the exact context and content of the flow, but in this example, the focus is on requesting explicit consent.

What does an automation flow like this look like based on the business ruling?

  • Step 1:
    Set up data ruling. This business ruling is your ‘master’ ruling for your data clean-up or data enrichment processes. In this example, we assume that the retention period is one year for specific marketing purposes. Based on this, we make sure that the business ruling is set up in such a way that it will actively perform actions when specific criteria are met. In this example, we want the ruling to kick in when the ‘lead’ record type may only be retained for another three weeks.
  • Step 2:
    Based on the business ruling, a contact person whose retention period has nearly ended is automatically certified to be included in a specific flow.
  • Step 3:
    Depending on when the retention period ends, the trigger is initiated and the appropriate content is sent to the contact person based on the appropriate details. Naturally, it is up to you and your marketing department to choose how you want to formulate and present this message, but an example would be:
    ‘Please tell us if you are still happy with our updates.’ You then indicate that the data retention period has nearly ended and that you want to know if the contact person still wishes to receive information in the future. In addition to the e-mail to the contact person, your automation flow can also trigger an e-mail to the contact person’s administrator. This way, the administrator will know that his/her client will likely be deleted from your database. He/she may then decide to actively chase up this client, ensuring that he/she opts into marketing activities.
  • Step 4:
    Your flow will determine the next action based on the contact person’s response to the e-mail. If the contact person does not respond to the message, the data will be automatically deleted when the retention period ends. When a contact person has actively updated his/her contact details, it will automatically be adjusted in your database. It is possible that, based on these adjustments, a contact person now features specific start criteria that will automatically enrol him/her in a new current campaign.

This is only one example of how you can clean up your database with the use of effective marketing automation. Another example of how to clean up your database by using marketing automation is the implementation of a ‘view my details’ button that you incorporate in the e-mail or on the website. This is a similar flow to the one above, which allows you to seize the moment again to obtain explicit consent for new campaigns.

Personalise with dynamic content

Dynamic content plays an important part in marketing automation. To set up this process optimally, you are advised to work with dynamic content such as dynamic landing pages, dynamic forms and/or dynamic e-mails. By utilising these resources, you ensure that you send the right content to the right person via the right channel. This way, you only show your contact person the content that is relevant to him or her, which will be good for your long-term relationship.

Don’t wait too long

A well-considered marketing approach can take you quite a way in cleaning up your current database and you will avoid having to deal with the Data Protection Authority. A more relevant database will improve your marketing activities and ensure they are more targeted. In the future, this will have a positive effect on your CTRs, open rates, etc. Add the correct dynamic content to the mix, and you are well on your way to strengthening that important long-term relationship! All thanks to the introduction of the GDPR! And, even better, you can still implement these flows or optimise them after 25 May*, so you have a little room to breathe.

*on condition that you do so shortly after 25 May 2018.

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