5 Tips to Prepare Your Business for GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, goes into effect on May 25, 2018. Are you ready? Here are 5 tips you can use to help prepare for GDPR.

Note that in this article we're focused on GDPR's impact on your web properties and cross-channel marketing automation. While Listrak does not provide legal guidance, the goal of this article is to pass along ideas and best practices. Always consult your company's legal team and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation Official Site for advice specific to your business.

Tip 1: Update your privacy policy.

Use clear, concise wording to describe how data is collected, how it will be used, and how long it will be kept. Ask yourself, is my company's privacy policy clear enough that my own family and friends would understand how my company uses personal data? If not, look for ways to simplify the words you use and always be transparent. Put yourself in your visitor's shoes. If you were a visitor on your site, what would you want to know about how your data is being used? Also, make sure your privacy policy is located where it can easily be accessed by your visitors and customers. 
  • Looking for ideas? See how Listrak is handling our own Privacy Policy.

Tip 2: Add consent-gathering steps to customer touchpoints on your web properties.

To determine when and where to ask for consent, you could start by making a list of where and how data is collected on your web properties. Next, make note of how each data point is used.  You are likely to see themes or clusters form around areas in the user journey such as when a visitor first lands on your site or during your checkout process. These clusters become good checkpoints to stop to ask for visitor consent to proceed. A few natural places to consider include the first page a user hits when they land on your site, signup forms, preference centers and the checkout process. Each site is unique, so look to add consent-gathering steps where it makes sense for your business.

Here are two common places you may consider getting consent:
If you use cookies you will likely need to capture express consent from EU visitors when they first land on your site. Your website operator should consult with your attorney to see if this applies to your web properties.

Marketing signup points are another area where you should seek affirmative consent from EU visitors for the collection of data for a specific purpose. To collect affirmative consent you may consider including not only a link to your privacy policy but also clear text that explains how you intend to use the data you are collecting.

You may also consider capturing and storing more robust consent information when someone hits the submit button. You may consider capturing information such as timestamp, IP address and the consent language the user saw when they opted in if you aren't already doing so. 

Tip 3: Make your web properties GDPR-friendly for visitors who do not consent to use of their data. 

In tip 2 we suggested you map out the data you are collecting and how it is used by your company. Now it's time to update your site functionality to stop collecting and processing personal data for visitors who wish to remain anonymous. Update your site functionality to only capture and process personal data for visitors who have given you express consent to do so. 

Tip 4: Touch base with your EU contacts and customers to gain affirmative consent.

Now is a great opportunity to reach out to current contacts and customers in the EU to get affirmative consent that they still wish to get messages from your company. You should also confirm they agree to the ways you intend to continue using their data. It’s important that if you intend to continue marketing to EU subscribers beyond May 25, 2018, that you have a record of how they subscribed. 
  • Check out our THRIVE course on how to set up a one-time reconsent conversation for EU contacts. (
  • Available to Listrak Clients Only. I
  • f you don’t have a login to Thrive, reach out to your Account Manager or Support to get an access code.
  • )

Tip 5: Get your internal processes, technology, and staff ready for GDPR Right to Know and Right to Be Forgotten requests.

Once you've put in the work to make your web properties and marketing GDPR complaint it's important you consider the role your own employees play in protecting personal data. Ensure everyone on your team with access to personal data understands their duties in protecting the privacy of your customers and contacts.
  • Decide now how you will handle cases where a customer or contact asks to see a copy of their data. 
  • Decide now how you will handle cases where a customer or contact asks to have their data erased.

Ask yourself, “Who will take these requests?” “Who will validate the identities of the requesters?” “What steps will they take to validate the identity of the requesters?”

Also, consider whether or not you should build technology to automate the process of finding or erasing data.
  • Listrak has several processes and procedures in place to handle requests related to data access, data edits and data erasure.  Check out our THRIVE course for instructions on where to submit data-related requests. 

In Summary:

Taking the time to make sure your web properties and cross-channel marketing efforts are GDPR compliant is an opportunity to show your visitors, contacts, and customers that you care about their privacy and personal data. For help implementing some of these tips, check out our GDPR Course in Thrive now or contact your account manager.

If you have questions about GDPR, contact regulations@listrak.com.

Listrak does not provide legal advice, however, we feel it is important to provide details on how the European Union General Data Protection Regulation will affect your business. We advise you to consult with your company’s legal team for additional details.                 

Is Your Data Accidentally Lying to You?

Imagine sliding a report across the desk to your boss outlining how customer acquisition counts are through the roof and the cost to acquire a new customer is at an all-time low − only to find out that you were actually paying to acquire a second or third email address for your existing customers!

We all know data tells a story. However, when big data is reviewed in little silos, it can sometimes tell a rather inaccurate story. Hidden information, misclassified information, False Positives, data collection bias, missing data, bad data entry, subjective data interpretation, cherry-picked data, sample collection bias, small sample size, logical fallacies: these can all result in off-target decision making. According to a recent insideBIGDATA report, poor data across businesses, organizations and the government contribute costs of up to $3.1 trillion a year to the U.S. economy. To make matters worse, 14.9 percent of marketers claim they do not know what big data is, let alone how to use it. 

At Listrak, we've seen merchants interpret a LOT of data over the years. And we've seen a few common themes where giving our merchants the ability to explore their own data could have headed off missteps in their data analysis. As a result, we've spent time developing a customizable data visualization layer that helps our CRM merchants explore their own data beyond a single data point to really understand what's going on under the hood in their marketing ecosystems.

Here are four suggestions on how to use data exploration to look beyond a single data point to extract more holistic and accurate signals from your data:  

1. Exclude outliers and test data
One common request we get from clients that utilize our Abandonment Solution is to remove outlier carts that tend to skew average abandoned value and other metrics available in our default Abandonment Dashboard. We also see our fair share of test data. Outliers creep into any data set for a variety of reasons, but their presence can make it difficult to understand your average customer.

The Fix: When exploring your data, add filters to exclude outliers or test data points that fall outside of expected ranges.

2. Clarify what you want to know & improve your data collection accordingly.
Order source is another hot issue for multi-channel retailers. We commonly see orders bucketed into two groups: Online or Offline. However, having only two options, orders that are made online but shipped to store or shipped between stores may create confusion for a retailer hoping to analyze their orders by channel.

The Fix: First, clarify what you're trying to track. Second, if you wish to track both purchase source and pickup location with one field, consider creating additional source names in your data to reflect unique shipping situations. For example, instead of only tracking Online or Offline, decide where each shipping situation applies and add sources to bucket that data. For example, use sources such as Online, Online Ship-to-Store, Offline and Offline-StoreTransfer.

3. Explore your data to rule out other possibilities or events.
A simple change to your website can have a ripple effect on your entire marketing ecosystem. When viewed in a silo, individual dashboards don't always provide enough context or nuance to uncover the reason behind sudden shifts in data. When you encounter a shift in data, use that as an opportunity to look deeper.

The Fix: Explore potentially related data points. For example, if repeat buying appears to be down, review your new subscriber acquisition metrics. Did the website team add an irresistible new promotion for new subscribers that resulted in loyal customers entering a brand-new address to snag that first-time-buyer discount?

4. Pick the right data visualization type and add labels
The beauty of data exploration is that you’re in the driver's seat for finding answers to your company's unique questions. However, if you've ever seen deceptive political advertising (...and who hasn’t?), you know that the way data is presented is critical. Since you undoubtedly work with a team, you have great power to help others analyze the information you've compiled.

The Fix: Help your coworkers and boss understand the custom reports you generate by selecting a data visualization type (chart, graph, scatter chart, etc.) that most effectively illustrates your data. Adding labels and a description will also help.

Hands-on data exploration is a great way to overcome data silos and ensure that your data is telling the full story. Have you found creative ways to overcome reporting silos in your organization? Leave a comment to share your ideas.

Wendy Huffman
Product Manager, Listrak

Why Should You Care About Data Quality?

Poor data quality can impact the reach and reliability of your digital marketing campaigns. This can lead to bad product recommendations, less effective new customer acquisition strategies, and decreased customer retention and engagement.

Malformed data records will be replicated across systems, compounding the negative effects. Backend systems responsible for running AI algorithms will be compromised and show diminished confidence. In some cases, they will be unable to return meaningful insights.

Looking at the Data Workflow and Life Cycle

Most data problems stem from the source: data entry errors, typos, spelling errors and, for one merchant, I recall seeing intentional jabs aimed at customers ... “This lady thinks she’s all that” and “Green is not your color.” NOTE: Those were supposed to be email addresses entered at the time of checkout but apparently, the cashiers weren’t all that impressed. Shame on them.

Systems and services can have bad moments as well, and there goes the data pipe from your corporate network to your CRM. These gaps in time could remain unnoticed and are often discovered unexpectedly. Or - worse yet - it turns out to be the root of that nagging data discrepancy for which your boss just lambasted you. Thankfully, there are ways to monitor, shed light on and deal with data quality issues.

Introducing Listrak’s Data Quality Program

Don’t fear! We understand the responsibility and inconvenience involved in managing and maintaining a healthy data enterprise. The Listrak CRM offers merchants a dashboard to help diagnose common data quality issues, notify administrators, and proactively repair some issues.
Here’s a sample of the offering:
  • An order total outlier plot makes it easy to spot and eliminate that invalid $1,000,000.00 order;
  • A plot showing the daily number of orders and any obvious visible gaps in data or reduced volumes hinting at an underlying system issue;
  • A listing of suspect duplicate orders that could throw off customer metrics or overall order volumes totals if not dealt with swiftly by the local authorities;
  • A breakdown of how many products are missing categories, brands or other important data points (this decreases the potency of classification algorithms and leads to bland customer taste graphs); and
  • A listing of products with missing image and link URLs. This is not very convenient for your email campaigns and could eliminate that product you should be recommending.

Most of these issues require correcting the problem at the source. Sometimes the data you have on hand is old, harmless reference data that isn’t relevant to your current operation, but having regular data quality checks will yield an occasional surprise.

Brian Iovino
VP of Product, Listrak

GDPR: Why You Should Cherish It!

Many of you are familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and may be well on your way to compliance. For others, you might just be getting started. Either way, you may be surprised to know that this new regulation can lead to a real benefit for the relationship between businesses and consumers, and may result in higher sales for businesses that embrace the regulation.

The GDPR empowers individuals (aka Data Subjects) within the European Union (EU) to have informed consent regarding how their data is collected, processed and retained, as well as offering easy ways to update those and other details.

Believe it or not − this is good news for retailers! How? By keeping this data accurate, not only will you stay compliant, but the data you collect will be of higher quality and therefore of greater value to you as a retailer. This compliant and up-to-date information should translate into fewer unsubscribes, a more trusting relationship with your customers, higher engagement, increased revenue and greater customer service.

At Listrak, we have been preparing for GDPR for some time. Not only are we building frameworks for your compliance within our application, but we have also certified our privacy and security controls. Listrak is certified by the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield, meaning we have implemented the proper privacy controls to appropriately handle your data according to the EU requirements. In addition, Listrak is audited annually for an SSAE SOC 2 Type 2 audit with the optimal favorable opinion from our auditors. This audit examines the effectiveness of more than 100 controls as they relate to security, privacy and other trust service principles. This further emphasizes the importance we place on the security and privacy of your data.

To be fully compliant when GDPR goes into effect on May 25, you may need to do a few things, some examples of which might be:
  • Sign our Data Processing Addendum which allows controllers to transfer personal data from the EU to a processor outside the country; and/or
  • Obtain updated consent from your EU subscribers to further process and/or transfer their data to a third party outside the EU.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, as you may need to make some internal and strategic adjustments. To view the entire Regulation, visit https://gdpr-info.eu.

Our Account Management, Professional Service and our Customer Success teams are here to help you with the compliance process. We will continue to communicate updates and provide resource materials, but, it is important to note that a heavy share of the responsibility for compliance will rest with you within the operation of your own business.

While Listrak can help you prepare for GDPR, please consult with a qualified legal professional to ensure you understand the full impact of this regulation.

Mobile Marketing Strategies: Using SMS and MMS Together

Before we dive into strategies, let’s first define the difference between SMS and MMS messaging.

SMS (Short Message Service) is essentially a 160-character text message that may include links whereas MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) allows you to send a message with rich media content, including animated gifs and short video or audio files – and it has an increased limit of 1,000 characters. SMS messages cost less to send but MMS messages have a higher engagement rate with a 15% average click-through rate and 20% more campaign opt-ins than SMS.

Because almost all devices support both SMS and MMS messages, you don’t need to pick one over the other. A good mobile marketing strategy can include a combination of the two.

Mobile marketing has a greater potential to increase engagement and revenue due to the fact that it is delivered directly to your customer’s most personal device provides new opportunities for marketers.

For example, you can use it to re-engage email subscribers who have become disengaged with message - or, you can reward your most loyal customers with exclusive offers.

Not convinced yet? Think about it this way, almost everyone has their phone within reach all day. While the majority of our mobile time is spent in social networks, Informate reported that the average American smartphone user goes through 32 texts and 6 phone calls per day, accounting for a total of 26 minutes and 21 minutes, respectively. An even closer look by eMarketer shows we spend 22% of our time texting compared to 10% of our time interacting with email on mobile devices.

Message Strategies
SMS messages are great for campaigns like text-to-join keyword acquisition. The user sends a keyword to the brand’s short code number to opt-in to the program. Typically, the introduction messages include a double opt-in (reply Y to confirm entry) or a request for additional information (reply with your email to sign up), plus the required compliance language.

SMS messages also work well for triggered, transactional messages. Send short messages that your customers want the most – information about their recent order, appointment reminders, account updates, etc.

Use MMS Messages to Enhance Your Mobile Marketing Campaigns
Treat your loyal customers well and give them a reason to stay on the list. It’s best practice to deliver timely, relevant SMS or MMS messaging that sparks an immediate action. Pair images with an actionable message with a link in it to not only track activity, but to give customers instant access.
  • Send a sneak peek of new arrivals
  • Drive in-store sales with coupons 
  • Invite subscribers to in-store events
  • Give early access to sales
  • Send a special birthday or anniversary message

MMS gives you the ability to add a subject line that appears above the image. This text is included in the 1,000-character limit. We recommend that you limit the subject line to around 40 characters.

Even though you have 1,000 characters to work with, it’s important to think about how recipients will interact with the messages. Test different message lengths to see what works best for your audience. Provide enough information to entice a click-through to your site, but don’t provide too much text that overwhelms your audience and causes them to close instead of click. Also, keep your CTA near the top of the content – don’t bury it at the bottom.

Every mobile messaging provider handles images differently. It’s important to note that iPhone models 5s and 6 open static images in preview mode, which adds a top and bottom navigation bar that covers part of the image. Because of this, avoid putting content in the top 129 or bottom 89 pixels. Here are some additional best practices to help ensure your images look great on every device.
  • Avoid transparencies as it will appear black on some devices 
  • Static image files should be in .JPG format and should not exceed 500 Kb
  • Image size should be 640 x 1,138 with an aspect ratio of 9:16
  • Animated images should be in .gif format and have a frame speed no faster than one every half second – file size should not exceed 600 Kb
  • Animated image size recommendations:
    • 480 x 480 
    • 480 x 640 
    • 480 x 720 
    • 640 x 640 

SMS & MMS Short Code Provisioning
In the provisioning process, you’re securing approvals from the wireless carriers to send and receive mobile messages to your short code. If you would like to send both SMS and MMS messages, it’s important to note that you must be provisioned for both.

About Listrak’s Mobile Marketing Solution
MMS is now available in Listrak’s Mobile Marketing platform. Send photos, gifs or longer text (1,000 characters plus an image) to add a fun and engaging layer to your mobile marketing campaigns.

With Listrak’s Mobile Marketing platform, you can segment specific target audiences to create highly personalized messages while coordinating SMS with your email, paid social and other channels. Best of all, because you are sending to a targeted list, your carrier CPM rates will be much lower. You’ll spend less while driving even more revenue.

What's more, we’re here to help you through the entire process – from provisioning to navigating compliance rules to measuring ROI and providing campaign recommendations.

Learn more about Listrak’s Mobile Marketing solution.

Collette Lazor
Listrak Product Marketing Manager