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Blog > Marketers: Care About My Data!

Marketers: Care About My Data!

As part of my New Year cleanup, I decided to unsubscribe from a few mailing lists. Like many of you, I have a lot of interesting content mailed to me – but over the course of a year, the emails accumulate and clog my inbox.

Most legitimate marketers are good about providing “unsubscribe” links within these emails, but simply providing this option is not enough. Twice in the last two days I’ve received a response saying, “It could take up to 10 days for you to be removed from our list.” This started me thinking. What does this wait time say about a company’s data management, its focus on personal data protection, or how much it cares (or doesn’t care) about its customers?

Marketers: Let’s think about how the unsubscribe process should work. It’s pretty simple. You have a database containing email addresses you send marketing communications to. When I, one of your subscribers, click “unsubscribe,” you look me up and delete my email. That’s it. So:

Why does that take ten days?

It is likely you say “it might take ten days” because that’s how long the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act allows marketers to process a recipient’s request. But with today’s consumers expecting faster service than ever before, it is important to deliver immediate response times in addition to checking the compliance box.
Practically speaking, your mailing lists are likely set up well before you send out the emails – because they are tied to triggering events such as product releases and holidays. This infrastructure may slow down the process of removing subscribers. Since your email lists are prepared by a manual process using spreadsheets – which comprise millions of addresses – instantly finding and removing one address may seem unfeasible. Or, you may use a list from a collector. In this case, you provide the list to a processor who delivers the emails and receives “opt-out” requests, which turns unsubscribing into a multi-step process.

pexels-photo-1061588.jpegHow do you balance these practical challenges with your duty to the people who you are marketing to?

First and foremost, you should make sure you are in compliance with Article 30 of the GDPR, which regulates how you manage mailing processes and record personal information. To make achieving compliance simpler, you should also invest in a tool with personal data management capabilities, such as ASG’s Data Intelligence. With Data Intelligence, you can know who is collecting, holding and using personal data, as well as why and what for. You can also trace the personal data to know where it is stored and where it moves to – especially if it travels between data processors or across borders. Understanding this information— the who, what, when, where, why and how of personal data— is not only critical to ensuring your marketing activities are in compliance, but it also allows you to optimize your mailing processes overall. This includes improving the management of “opt-in/opt-out” subscriber requests.

If it takes you more than a few seconds to honor unsubscribe requests – or it requires a change in workflows, applications and even data stores to automate the processes – you might have a significant change management project on your hands. ASG Data Intelligence delivers the information you need. It builds the data and application inventory, understands the relationships between data and applications, and tracks the flow and change of data. Data Intelligence makes the connection between business and IT clear, so you know how to make those necessary changes. Then, as changes are considered, ASG DI impact analyses will ensure that no implications are missed.

While it might seem that I’m making a big deal of a small matter, the 10-day window to unsubscribe raises an important point: from a business point of view, the scrutiny of personal data handling is intensifying quickly. As a consumer, I will continue to receive unwanted emails from multiple marketers during that 10-day period—an inconvenience that will deter me from ever being a customer or partner of that company. While today’s organizations must comply with regulations related to personal data, they should not rely on that regulation to set the standard for service. Organizations need to implement the necessary infrastructure and tools for data management to meet heightening consumer expectations and to avoid increasingly steep fines – which means doing better than “we will process your request within 10 days.” The more you understand your data today, the more prepared you (and your marketing practices) will be as digitization continues to change and accelerate the nature of business.

To learn how ASG Data Intelligence can help you not only enhance your marketing activities, but also make sure they are compliant, visit this product page and read this blog post.
Posted: 1/23/2019 9:02:32 AM by Ian Rowlands
Filed under :data, email, emails, GDPR, information, intelligence, management, marketer, marketing, personal