Recently, there have been a number of high profile lapses in security when data sets are being passed between systems. Virgin Media lost a CD with 3,000 data records and in May HSBC was forced to apologise for losing a computer disc containing details of 370,000 customers.
This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as over 60 per cent of data protection and marketing professionals have experienced a data breach of consumer information in the past two years. In 90 per cent of the cases the incident was unreported to the affected customer (source: Strongmail survey).
In this climate when combined by the real concern of identity scams, it is no wonder than many consumers are more nervous about disclosing their personal data. 53% of consumers admit to filling in false information (Consumer attitudes to Disclosing Personal Data for Direct Marketing March 06). I’m personally receiving a Phishing scam into my inbox on a daily basis.
So what does this mean to the email marketer?
Good data means good email marketing. Without accurate data, it is almost impossible to target effectively. All email marketers should invest in building trust with their subscribers and never abuse it.
Good data management should span your collection, storage and suppression policies.
Data collection should make it clear why you’re asking for details, easy to complete forms and if possible use validation/ PAF files to ensure accuracy.
Data Storage should be secure and robust. This also includes any transfer procedures between your own database and your email broadcast tool.
Data suppression and ensuring that your permission policies are clearly stated and followed. People unsubscribing is a positive thing as they are telling you they no longer want to receive your promotions.
This all can be summarised in one easy statement- if you’re not sure about whether you should be sending someone an email, your probably shouldn’t send it.