Strengthen Customer Relationships Through GDPR
When I was a kid, I started collecting keychains from different places I would visit on family vacations, mainly because I was an impressionable child and my older sister was already collecting pins. Once I started, I kept doing it because it became part of my routine for vacations — I never stopped to think about why I continued collecting the keychains. Unfortunately, they sat in a shoebox I never looked at until years later, when I realized I had no use for them and threw them out.
On May 25th of this year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is going into effect. It will apply to any company doing business with individuals in the EU. In a world where companies are thinking about collecting more and more data about their consumers, GDPR is a great opportunity to stop and think about privacy and make sure that when capturing data, you are always focused on the consumer’s experience. Within the context of the Adobe Experience Cloud and GDPR, Adobe is a data processor, and we’re here to partner with our customers on their road to GDPR readiness.
One of the key principles promoted by GDPR is data minimization — which states that companies must limit data collection and usage to data that will actually be used for a specific purpose (basically the opposite of what I did with my keychain collection). This means that now is the time to review data capture processes at your company and ensure you’re only capturing data in Adobe Campaign that is needed for your marketing campaigns. You may find data fields you captured originally with good intent, but never ended up using.
This type of comprehensive review may sound daunting, it may even sound counterintuitive, but the benefits span even further than GDPR compliance.
Before joining the Product Marketing team for Adobe Campaign, I was a consultant with Adobe Customer Solutions. We recommended that customers limit data imports to only the essential data needed for their uses. This was before GDPR was passed, but we recommended it not only because it reduces overhead and maintenance from a system and process perspective, but because it also allows marketers to focus on the most critical data which can ultimately be leveraged to give customers better experiences. Regardless, some companies still wanted to import and capture as much data as they could, even if it didn’t have identified uses. This generally lead to longer implementations (due to additional testing required to ensure all the data was flowing properly) and additional work and maintenance for their IT teams preparing the data. The benefits were never readily apparent.
GDPR now doubles down on the sage practice of not collecting more data than necessary, and those companies that haven’t followed these good practices have a bigger challenge ahead of them as they review their data usage and processing in preparation for GDPR.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you review your data and practice in the wake of GDPR:
Focusing your data stream increases your conversions
The good news is that reducing data capture may provide a better experience for customers, both at the time of data collection and throughout the customer journey. Limiting the number of fields on web forms has long been used as a technique to increase conversions and with more focused data about customers, marketers will have an easier time establishing personalization as part of their marketing programs
- Tip: Review your data loading process in Adobe Campaign (import workflows, web forms, APIs) and remove unnecessary data fields
Refine your data capturing techniques
Don’t be afraid of capturing data! Just because it’s more-highly regulated, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it and do it well. Be transparent about why you are collecting it, and help your customers understand the value proposition of why you are collecting it.
Start slowly. Collect the customer data that you actually need — which, for me, probably meant stopping after one keychain. Then, with the data you have, use it wisely by building better experiences through personalization. This will grow more trust in the relationship — which is a key ingredient to long-lasting relationships.
- Tip: Look for new ways to personalize your campaigns and determine what data could be used to improve the deliveries you send across all channels
Bin data when done with it
As long as you can continue to use the data to provide great experiences and it serves the specified purposes, you will limit consumer requests for deletion and there will be no need to discard it. But when you no longer have a use for the data for the reason you captured it — like my dusty box of keychains — get rid of it
- Tip: Leverage automated recurring workflows based on rules to remove old data effortlessly
Take these three steps to aid your company’s GDPR readiness, but even more important than that, do so to establish trust and build a stronger relationship with your consumers. This is an important step towards providing your consumers with truly delightful experiences. And as an added bonus, you’ll make your own life easier, as you’ll be reducing overhead associated with storing and managing more data.