I’m sure that you are aware of the importance of email marketing, but just in case you aren’t: email marketing is the practice of sending out regular emails to customers to keep them engaged and, hopefully, make a purchase from you or another brand. It is a very valuable tool in any marketer’s arsenal.
Email marketing has many benefits, but one of the major downsides is a common and, sometimes, fatal mistake that businesses make when using email marketing. That mistake is creating a Data-Masking Agreement (DMA) without thinking about the ramifications that such a contract has on your business.
What is a Data-Masking Agreement? A DMA is a legal contract between two companies where one company agrees to collect and process data on behalf of the other. The Agreement can range from broad to specific, but most companies use DMA’s to protect the commercial interests of the other business. For example, a bank may use a DMA with its credit card processors to protect the bank’s interest in transaction data that it collects.
The major risk with DMAs is that the data-collecting business can, at any time, go dark. That is, the company can shut down its data collection without warning, rendering any marketing plan that was built on that data useless. To give you some idea of the danger that DMAs pose to your email marketing strategy, I want to tell you about a story. I think that you will find this story very interesting. Let’s call the company that we will go into detail about “Company A.”
Company A Hires Email Marketing Agency To Help With Its Project
Company A knows what it wants: it wants to grow organically by providing superior service to people who need it. To help with this goal, the company has decided to try email marketing. To get started, it hires a marketing agency to help it develop an email marketing plan. During the planning phase, the agency works with the company to identify key metrics that will help them determine the success of their campaign. For example, the agency suggests setting a goal of getting 50 new leads per week, which the company agrees to. Now, the agency has a better understanding of the company’s objectives and can develop a plan that will achieve those objectives.
In addition to developing an email marketing plan, the agency also suggests that the company consider setting up automated email campaigns to keep the leads coming in consistently and to reduce the amount of time that they need to spend managing the campaign. To implement the automated emails, the company uses a tool called “MailChimp.”
The advantages of automated emails are that they can be set up to be triggered by a variety of events, such as subscribing to a blog or website, requesting information, filling out a quote request, or purchasing a product. The agency helps the company set up the automated emails so that they can begin collecting data right away.
Company A Begins To Work With Another Company On A Project
While Company A is getting started with email marketing, it begins to work with another company on a project. This company is a software development company that offers a product that will make tracking and analyzing customer behavior much easier. This product is called “Customer Relationship Management” or “CRM.”
To be able to provide superior service and build a brand for itself, Company A decides that it needs to implement CRM into its operations. To do this, the company will need to integrate CRM into its website, email marketing, and social media platforms.
However, integrating CRM into a company’s operations is not as easy as it sounds. There are numerous technicalities that a business needs to consider before integrating CRM into its backend processes. For example, the legal department needs to review and approve the contract that will govern the data-sharing arrangement between Company A and the CRM software provider. The compliance department also needs to review and sign off on the plan to share sensitive customer information across company boundaries.
Because of the sensitive nature of this information, both the legal and compliance departments agree to add some extra stipulations to the contract. First, they want to make sure that all customer data is stored in a secure location and that only authorized individuals have access to that data. Second, they want to ensure that customer data is kept for as long as is needed and that there is reasonable periodic review and audit of that data.
Company A Finally Completes The Project
After many months of working with the agency and with CRM, Company A has completed the project. The project was a huge undertaking, and it required a lot of time. As a result of all of that hard work, the company has a much improved understanding of its target audience and can, therefore, tailor its communications to be more effective. Additionally, the company can track the results of its efforts in real time and, thus, determine the success of its email marketing strategy.
To celebrate the project’s completion, Company A holds a party and invites its customers and anyone interested in its services to attend. Many of its customers had never given the company much thought. Now that they know about it, they are interested in learning more.
To help attendees find the most relevant information, the company creates a cheat sheet with all of the project details. In addition to the cheat sheet, the company distributes a business card to each attendee, containing all of the contact information. On the card, the company’s logo and website are imprinted in a way that makes the card look like a legal document. The website URL links directly to the company’s CRM.
After the party, the CEO of Company A decides to review the project’s success with the agency. During the review, they discuss all of the details of the project, from the goals that they set to the metrics that they tracked and analyzed. The CEO notices that there is something strange about the business card that they gave out at the party. One of the customers had gone through their entire database and made duplicates of every card. In total, the user made a second copy of every card that they had at the party. When they found out that they were being charged for the duplicate storage, they were extremely upset.
The moral of this story is that, even though Company A had a successful email marketing project, it would not have been possible without careful thought and planning. The data that the company collected allowed it to tailor its communications to be more effective. However, the company cannot be sure that someone will not go through all of the cards that they distribute at random parties and turn them into duplicates. This is why the company prefers to store its data in a way that is inaccessible to unauthorized individuals and why they enter into Data-Masking Agreements with third parties.