Author: Jim Walker, Contributing Editor, PharmaLeaders
Issues surrounding customer privacy regulations continue to increase. It’s essential that marketers give greater attention to how they source leads, manage customer data, execute communications, and drive follow-up engagement.
Working in a complaint communications environment requires a coordinated effort between clients and their agency partners to ensure that final deliverables are successful not only in marketing goals but also in meeting necessary guidelines and regulations.
To that end, a reliable strategy to achieve consistent results involves developing thorough and workable approval checklists that produce repeatable outcomes without dramatically slowing internal and external workflows.
While every organization and team may have particular elements to add or enhance, the following checklist can serve as a valuable framework for a wide range of marketing situations.
5-Step Compliance Marketing Checklist
1. Is our marketing list accurate and up-to-date? When was the last time we scrubbed our list?
No matter what industry you are operating in or what regulations are in place, the marketing organization should have a predictable and repeatable routine for updating their customer lists. This type of “data hygiene” is now a fundamental requirement for successful modern CRM-driven campaigns.
Accurate customer information has become the indispensable foundation for success in today’s digital marketing era. The more frequently you are contacting your list, the more often you should scrub your list. For example, if you are doing weekly sends, then consider doing a monthly or bi-monthly review. If you are just doing one email deployment per month, then consider performing a quarterly review process.
2. How have we sourced each contact?
As part of your list review, it’s imperative to know how, where, and when you acquired each particular name among your contacts. Most email platforms now make it mandatory to have opted-in permission for you to deploy campaigns. Further yet, many have increasingly strict guidelines requiring that opt-in contacts be verifiable and discoverable. If you do not have clear visibility into lead sourcing, then you will need to work with your internal marketing teams and external partners to gain specific clarity on the origin of your contacts and leads.
3. Do we have a proper unsubscribe process?
A key element of new regulations gives greater power to customers in terms of opting-out of marketing campaigns. Be sure to test and review your unsubscribe process. If someone requests to unsubscribe, is that request satisfied in a timely manner? Is that contact data purged from all relevant locations? Do you have procedures in place for handling when customers opt-out via multiple channels such as phone, email, or auto-checkbox? Be sure to allow customers to opt-out gracefully by providing a simple “sorry to see you go” message.
4. Do we have an accurate 360-degree view of our all our customer touchpoints?
For both professional and consumer marketing, there are often multiple campaigns actively operating across different channels, leveraging both sales and digital touchpoints. To successfully manage your overall marketing efforts, you must have a complete and accurate real-time view of these various initiatives. Achieving this view is obviously easier said than done and will require a coordinated effort between your marketing technology vendors and various internal stakeholders. However, this investment is crucial, not only in terms of creating a more engaging and long-lasting customer experience, but also in terms of managing customer privacy and compliance.
5. Who is responsible for customer data and owns this checklist? Are they empowered to enforce internal adherence?
As marketing has grown in complexity, the number of internal and external stakeholders has also increased. When it comes to instituting new processes around customer touchpoints, there will inevitably be many stakeholders affected in the rollout. In order to prevent confusion and ensure consistent results, it’s critical to assign clear roles and responsibilities for appropriate management of customer marketing data. At the highest level, there needs to be alignment around which part of the organization has ultimate ownership of customer data. From there, specific workflows and approvals should be implemented, and external stakeholders should be brought up to speed about new requirements and educated about their role in the process.
As with any checklist, this type of approach only works if people take the time to repeatedly and thoroughly go through the steps! Be sure that you ask these questions on a regular basis to be confident your marketing campaigns are compliant, and your contacts are current.
The final key strategy is to keep adapting your checklists and compliance processes while marketing regulations and technologies evolve – and they undoubtedly will in the months and years ahead.