CASL Countdown: Week 16 Data Management and Access

Data two weeks in a row?! When will we get to the meat of CASL you ask… Soon I promise but this is very important and quite a bit of work so I’m front loading it in the planning phases.

Let us start by reviewing your database to see how you are currently collecting and more importantly recording consent for your members. If you needed to prove consent for a recipient you’ve sent mail to, what data do you have to back up your claim? Can you provide the level of consent (explicit, implied, verbal, 3rd party, unknown) or any supporting data the date/time of collection, the source of consent (ex: web site, store location, event, etc…), a contract, any purchase or transaction data… maybe something else that might be useful?

Always Remember: Under CASL the sender of the message needs to prove consent to send it.

Why is this Important?

This is an important exercise because explicit consents may be grandfathered under CASL and remain mailable as an express consent under CASL (no expiry on mailing permissions). Users that fall into the Implied categories may also be mailable under Section 66 (three year transition period) where you can continue to mail to these people and upgrade consent over time. Some of the 3rd party data or unknown consent may need to be upgraded to some level of consent before July 1, 2014 or you will likely have to stop mailing these members or risk violation of the legislation.

What do you need to look at changing?

Start by identify gaps in database fields, that may include items like these, that can help you build the trail of consent:

  • Consent date
  • Consent level
  • Consent source
    • Website
    • IP address
    • Store ID
    • Call Center ID
    • Event Name
  • Last implied date
  • Last contact date

Start to think about the information you would want to present as evidence should you need to prove consent was collected from the recipient, how you store this information and how you can access this information quickly and efficiently. Planning for these type of major changes takes time and resources to accomplish properly. Start a sub-committee that includes your vendors, and internal data teams to review this and develop a plan on how to record the information you are looking for and consolidate your existing data.

I have a number of Databases with multiple data inputs, or for multiple lines of business, what do you recommend?

Have your data sub-committee meet to discuss various options you have around data consolidation or the creation of a centralized communication database for marketing purposes. Many people I’ve talked to say the later may be easier to accomplish in the next few months with a lot of planning and effort. Build a single database for communication purposes and synchronize this frequently with the external source database to ensure both have the same status for marketing approvals. Still not sure you can consolidate a communications Database, at a minimum I would recommend you look to centralize your unsubscribe process and build work flows to update the required marketing databases as people change their preferences. Rework and re-evaluate your existing database scripts to ensure they are not targeting members incorrectly, and that data updates provided by members are properly updated as they make changes to preferences and communication options.

This is too much work to complete in 16 weeks!

I agree it is a lot of work, but with proper plans and incremental goals and you’ll get there. This is a big project something that might take months of planning, so consider building data synchronization solutions while you plan this larger, and likely most difficult, part of your CASL compliance program. Remember to use the three year transition period effectively to complete this project and build it the right way, just be sure to stay within the rules while planning these changes/upgrades. While you are building this new solution, or upgrading an existing solutions, consider adding a centralized preference center to this project to work directly with the communications database and let users manage their communication preferences easily.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

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