August 13, 2018


Clean up your marketing data

Caring about your marketing data and database has always been an important priority for every business professional, after all, it’s a great asset, as too is your CRM. Despite good intentions, the realities are often different and time pressures inevitably lead to shortcuts in good data management and over time, it becomes ‘messy’ and less than perfect. Now, with GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation, good housekeeping of marketing data is back at top priority. Whilst the regulations largely affect business to consumer businesses, if you’re a business to business that has become lax in data management, pushing even the gentle limits of the Data Protection Act 1998, then that spring clean also applies.

With just under three months to go, Finkk Marketing clients are aware of their responsibilities (number one in the OCI 12 point plan) and are in the process of doing what they need to do in order to be compliant for 25th May 2018.

As each business is unique, there are few shortcuts or ready-made templates that will provide a ‘quick fix’. It’s more of a process and what is as important as the end result is the process itself and the recording of that process.

It’s about getting into the mindset so roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Where to start:

Be aware and appoint a person with overall responsibility. Literally, give them a GDPR notebook to record the journey. It can be written and documented in the appropriate format later.

If you’re starting from scratch, start with this downloadable pdf from the Information Commissioner’s Office (OCI) – Preparing-for-the-GDPR-12-steps. This is a good document to understand the key points, rather than spin round in the detail, here are some of the poignant ones:

The customer has CONTROL, it’s all about the Individual’s Rights. One ‘customer’ whether justified or not, can cause a lot of costly problems.

It’s all about CONSENT. Someone who signed up for your newsletter (gave consent) several years ago who has never purchased or been in contact is classified as someone silent. Such silence can no longer be taken as consent. Yes, option one is to contact all of those ‘silent’ people in your database to ask if they wish to re-consent (but never any in your opt-out list – they remain opt-out – as Honda and Flybe found out at their expense). There is a second option – prove a legitimate interest. If you can honestly prove that your audience has been segmented or you operate in a niche and that that niche or segment is only receiving that which is totally relevant, then that avoids re-consent.

Think about your processes in a logical manner – GDPR touches all disciplines – marketing, HR, anywhere where ‘the individual’ has had cause to provide their personal details. Think too, about dealing with a complaint – again – a proper process in place and RECORDED, with all who need to be properly briefed.

Interesting fact: Wetherspoons ditched their marketing database – they never really utilised it and could see it perhaps becoming more of a problem than it was worth. In addition, their audience preferred communication by social media rather than email. Whilst this won’t suit many who have worked hard to compile marketing data, it’s still an opportunity to re-think how you do business.

For more information, go to the OCI website for the 12-point plan.

If you want expert advice, then try this local data specialist company, who was speaking at a Chartered Institute of Marketing event recently –

If you’re looking for industry-specific advice, then check out your industry trade association first.

Thanks to Finkk Marketing for this blog.

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