As 2011 draws to a close, naturally our thoughts race ahead to 2012 and plans for the new year. But we should also reflect on 2011 and think about what happened, what we did, and how we can improve. For email deliverability and privacy experts, there was no shortage of impactful crises, events, and policy changes this year. For me, there are some clear steps marketers should take based on what we learned and where we want to go in 2012 and beyond.
Perhaps the biggest impact on privacy and deliverability was from changes to and increased focus on laws about consumer protection and permission. For 2012, resolve to put in place a formal review of your programs to benchmark your opt-in practices to be sure you meet all legal requirements in the countries in which you do business. Also, identify who on your team is responsible for keeping up-to-date on existing and developing new laws. Not complying with regulations, such as Canada’s new anti-spam legislation, can be costly.
Database breaches at ESPs and other organizations earlier this year should serve as a wake-up call to all of us in the industry. No company is truly safe from determined cyber criminals. Your customer data is one of your greatest assets and should be protected accordingly. Take a look at how your team shares information internally and with third-party vendors, think about who has access to what systems, and why, and make it a priority to educate internally about the importance of data security. Also, plan for the worst-case scenario. How would you handle a data breach if it happened to you?
Focusing on these goals will help marketers make important strides in building trust and consequentially, be more successful by showing customers that the company values not only their business, but also the personal information that is shared during a transaction.