Hopefully Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is not a surprise to you at this point. CASL’s Enforcement start date is rapidly approaching (July 1, 2014) and over the next several weeks I’ll be giving you tips on things to accomplish each week as a way to help you get your Digital Marketing Programs ready and compliant with the legislation. These tips are based on many discussions with marketing professionals, legal professionals, Industry Canada and the CRTC.

Please note that this series is not legal advice, you should continue to work with your legal staff while reviewing your digital marketing programs.

With 18 weeks to go, this week is all about getting familiar with CASL, start by reading the law and all the regulations released over the last three years. Head over to the office website of the Anti-spam law; FightSpam.gc.ca for all the required reading. Specifically focus on the text of the legislation and the guidance provided by Industry Canada and the CRTC. Once you’ve read the law and are thoroughly concerned about the large fines, just remember that there is still lots of time to make the required changes and get your programs aligned with the law.

While you are reading the suggested documentation start thinking about the next step in planning any potential changes you might need to make over the next few months by taking inventory of your digital marketing programs. By starting your planning now you should have more than enough time to drive the critical changes forward and plan/schedule for longer term changes appropriately.

Lets get started on the path to compliance:

      Step 1 – Take inventory of your current digital marketing programs. Include all of your digital marketing programs; newsletters, transactional emails, SMS/MMS, and social media accounts into a list. Taking time to build this list will be useful when planning some of the items in the weeks ahead.
      Step 2 – Identify all of your data collection programs and locations. These may included collection sources like; point of sale, call center, web, social channels, contests (online/offline), events and third parties

        Step 3 – Identify the location of all your data, and decide which are the master records. Include your ESPs, call center, internal/external data warehouse, eCommerce vendors, agency and any others that might hold some of your data.
        Step 4 – Identify all of your output sources for sending your messages. This list might be very similar to the list in Step 3 *

Completing these steps will get you ready for Next weeks steps to help you plan your CASL programs and set up your Digital Marketing programs for compliance under CASL.

* A tip to help identify all the sources your organization is sending email from would be to publish a “none policy” DMARC record for your domains. This will allow your organization to get a complete view of all emails sent as your organization. Read up on DMARC and have your IT Team review the standard to understand what you are getting into here. But this should be part of your compliance mix for CASL – it will help you with internal compliance as well and protecting your brand from spoofing and phishing when properly implemented.