Contact Data ManagementIt's Who You Know
Contact data management used to mean building lists of targets to email or similar. Now, we are swimming in data. Contact data spans the recording of a contact’s interactions with anything, where you can record it. Before you build any kind of data around a contact, you need to ask permission* to do so. Moreover, you need to be explicit about what you’re going to do with this data.
We live in very open and connected times, so transparency around contact data management is increasingly important. We all know that we are a product when we give personal information away – knowing it will be used to market to us in the future.
*at least in Europe you do, but we’ll take that as our best practice for all of you outside of the EU.
GDPR and Contact Data
The General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation in EU law designed to give control to individuals over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.
The upshot for contact data management is the need for explicit permission to record and use contact data in any way.
Point of data capture, including tracking on websites (even without detail capture via a form), needs to be explicitly approved by the individual.
Furthermore, all the intended uses of data need to be presented up-front to users. In addition, their consent to these uses needs to be explicit, and an option to opt-out needs to be provided.
Handling contact data makes you a processor of personal data and consequently, you must clearly disclose any data collection, declare the lawful basis and purpose for data processing, and state how long data is being retained and if it is being shared with any third parties or outside of the EU.
Sourcing Contact Data for Marketing Communications
When working with data from external sources, it is extremely important to honour the scope and limitations of use, gathered at point of collection. It certainly doesn’t hurt to gain additional opt-in or approval for use as part of your first communication to any new contacts.
Being more transparent and honest about data usage sets up a good basis for rapport with your contacts. Whilst GDPR may result in fewer opted-in contacts, engagement and conversion rates are more likely to improve.
Numerous list-brokers exist with access to valuable contact lists, but marketers need to proceed with more caution than ever before.
Subsequently, we find that sometimes it is more effective to manually research and build your own contact lists, via explicit opt-in. To do this, we use a combination of social network research, web-based research and telemarketing activity.
Creative Use of Contact Data in Marketing
Contact data can provide far more than a route to email individuals with the correct salutation line. The depth of personalisation achievable through communications and website content personalisation is huge.
Consequently, knowing contact interests, challenges and stage in buying cycle are powerful tools to personalise their experience with your brand and marketing content.
Did you know email addresses can be used to specify who sees your adverts on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (to name just a few platforms which support this). Such custom audiences mean that adverts can be tailored to particular groups of individuals – serving extremely focussed messaging.
Some campaigns may even go beyond this and choose hyper-personalised messages with content immediately recognisable to the individuals viewing the adverts. We expect this area to develop over the next few years, affording dynamic advertising content closer to the experience many websites offer via integration with marketing automation and personalisation platforms.