Articles Written by the Edge Marketing Team

The new EU Global Data Privacy Regulations will take effect in May 2018. Do you have a plan?

Any organization that collects and uses data on leads, clients, customers, or business partners in the EU is required to comply with the tenets of GDPR.  Marketing teams, who are typically the custodians or owners of CRM systems and contact databases, have a key role in fostering their organization’s compliance.  Have you heard about GDPR, but perhaps not taken action yet?   Get started now, and you can avoid a non-compliance mishap.

There are six key steps that marketing must understand and act on by the May 2018 effective date of GDPR.  For simplicity’s sake, we refer to individual contacts of all types simply as customers or data subjects.

  • Assess your organization’s data and marketing tools

A first step to prepare for GDPR is understanding the data landscape across the company. Identify whether your organization is a data controller or data processor. Where does personal data reside? Who has access? What is the data used for? Consider all potential sources. Customer contact lists may reside on salespeople’s local drives, for example. Consider reducing the risk of rogue data by requiring all employees to interact only with authorized systems.

Talk to providers of sales and marketing tools early. Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, HubSpot and others will be implementing product features to assist controller organizations with GDPR compliance.

  • Run a data quality check

Most organizations manage databases holding thousands or millions of customer records. This data can decay rapidly, as individuals change jobs or move, and as companies merge, move or rebrand. Maintenance workflows must include regular deduplication, management of opt-outs and deletion of dead records.

Start by improving the quality of existing customer data. Complete an assessment of data on hand, validate existing contacts in the EU and confirm that each contact record contains a source, consent and date of consent.
If there are contacts for which you don’t have GDPR-proof consent—or if you are unsure whether their consent is compliant— it would be advisable to run a re-permission campaign to refresh that consent. Those who do not provide fresh consent should be removed from the contact list.

  • Implement effective consent process

GDPR further requires that organizations obtain explicit consent from contacts to obtain and use their data. Organizations should implement consent protocols for every data collection point. Examples include:

  • Landing pages that collect consent from website visitors. The subject must check boxes (default checked boxes are not allowed) or enter text to indicate or confirm approval for the use of data. These include subscription or event registrations, content download pages, support request forms and other website opt-in pages.
  • Collection of contact information at trade shows or events must inform the subject of data privacy policies and offer an opportunity for the individual to confirm consent.
  • Organizations processing personal data of children under 13 must collect consent from the child’s parent.
  • New customer account creation must provide data privacy policy and capture consent.

Consent details must be collected, stored and available for review. Controller companies will need to create a means of storing consent detail. This can be done by customizing existing applications, working with CRM providers to support consent capture, or migrating to GDPR-friendly applications.

  • Assure individual control over personal data

A key GDPR goal is to strengthen and protect the rights of individuals to control their personal data. Under the right to be forgotten rule, a company or organization is required to identify, erase and confirm deletion of an individual’s personal data upon request. Many organizations will have to create internal tools or rely on manual or semi-automated processes initially. Marketers should ensure that an erasure option is easy for customers to find and submit.

  • Provide contacts with access, rectification and portability

Customers have a right to access, review or correct their data and may ask for a copy of their personal data in a machine-readable format. Initially, marketers may have to use a relatively manual process, using web forms or email to complete the process. Work with CRM and marketing automation providers on this front – many will offer user-friendly dashboards, enhanced profiles or wallets that allow the customer to securely access and maintain their own private information.

  • Update your organization’s privacy policy

The GDPR requires company privacy statements to confirm support for the right of data erasure, rectification, restriction of processing and portability.

Update your privacy policy to explain data practices in a clear and transparent manner. This information be conveyed in an unobtrusive, easy-to-digest mode with graphics, icons, hover text or even video.

Customer Focus Is Key to Success

The extra steps of capturing GDPR-compliant consent could affect the customer experience if not well designed. As a marketing leader, you have an obligation to assertively protect the customer experience. Lead or be actively involved in team decisions on GDPR implementation. This is not the sole responsibility of the IT department.

If your marketing performance metrics include prospect and lead counts, expect list shrinkage as contacts elect to disengage. The right to be forgotten will also curtail retargeting campaigns – email campaigns to unsubscribed customers saying “we want you back” will not be allowed.

Individual control over personal data may contribute to higher-quality data and greater overall satisfaction, as customers gain a sense of empowerment over their data and its use in communications. While lists may be smaller, you may be encouraged by the fact that targeted campaigns will be reaching truly interested customers who have given explicit permission to be contacted.

I have a confession to make. I’m a podcast junkie. And I’m not alone.

Podcasts represent the perfect virtual fireside chat, offering beautiful ecosystems of shared interests in a portable format. They also encourage engaged audiences – invested listeners who grow communities through online forums and in-person meetings. In fact, more than 120 million people – about one-third of the U.S. population – have heard a podcast. Sixty-seven million have listened to one in the past month. Companies are tapping into this bonanza, with podcast advertising expected to crest $256 million in 2018 (up from $167M in 2016).

Care to tap into that magic yourself? What if your company’s expert guested on a podcast? Your business could well benefit from that.

Find a target.

But wait (I can hear you say), I’m not a true crime expert or a politico. There isn’t a podcast out there that’s a good fit for my company or me.

Check again. Search podcasts on iTunes or Google by keywords. Check industry publications, many of which are supplementing coverage with podcasts. See if conferences in your field offer companion podcasts or feature podcasters as speakers. Ask colleagues what podcasts they prefer.

The number of relevant opportunities will surprise you.

 Research the podcast and its hosts.

Cover all bases by putting in a little podcast research. Break out the earbuds. You’ll need to listen to more than one or two podcasts to get a true feel for them.

When you’re listening, pay attention to:

  • What is the format/flow of the podcast? How long is it? What’s the tone? Are there ads? If so, from whom?
  • Does the production sound professional? Specifically, is there background noise? Are there solid introductions of the podcast, the host and its guests?
  • Who are the hosts? Do they sound knowledgeable? What types of questions do they ask? What makes them excited?
  • What guests have appeared on this podcast? What have been past topics? Are the conversations interesting?
  • Is the content appropriate?

Supplement this research by digging more into the podcasts’ hosts and reading their bios. Have they written blogs or books? Do they have engaged followers on social media? Do they often present at conferences?

Don’t forget to read reviews of the podcasts. You can find them on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and more.

Work with experts to pitch yourself as a speaker.

 Bring in the PR experts to position yourself as a speaker. A reputable PR/marketing agency will already have contacts and know how to effectively lobby on your behalf. They’ll also coach you to successful results.

Find fresh topics.

Brainstorm topics that will appeal to the podcast hosts and its audience. Mine current events to see if there’s a tie-in you can launch from. Explore challenges that podcast audiences may face every day. As an expert, you see solutions where others may not. That’s a strength.

Remember, you don’t always have to recreate the wheel. Consider current marketing or PR work to see if it yields complementary concepts that can cross into the podcast world. For example, your recent article on professional services and technology may open doors for new conversations.

Now that you’ve landed the gig . . . prep, prep, prep.

Ask for questions/ideas ahead of time.

 Prior to the interview, inquire if the podcast hosts have specific questions they’d like to ask or if they would welcome suggested questions from you. It’s helpful to have a structure to the conversation, plus you can ensure you’re prepared with thoughtful responses that add value to the listening experience.

 Map out the points you want to make.

You may have questions as a starting point. If not, muse over what you’d like the listeners to take away from the interview. Outline potential conversation points, including research, best practices and anecdotes that support them. Think of potential questions you might be asked and take notes on your responses. The purpose of this is not to make a script. Instead, you’ll create a valuable reference document for your interview.

Rehearse and record yourself.

OK, this might make some people cringe. Haven’t we all heard ourselves, screwed up our faces and thought, “Do I really sound like that?” But it’s a valuable exercise.

First, it’ll point out the basics. Are you talking too quickly? Perhaps your voice gets too low? Are you relying too much on “uh” and “er”? Do you mumble? You might not notice these things without hearing it yourself.

Second, it’ll show if you’re answering the questions. You get excited. You’re sharing thoughts about something. Then you finish talking but you haven’t really answered the question. This happens more than you expect.

Third, it’ll encourage sound bites. Any voice-driven medium benefits from concise and interesting comparisons, explanations or personal experiences. These are the quotes that really garner attention, because they add a human angle or boil complex concepts down into everyday situations.

 Fourth, it’ll remind you not to shut out your personality. Do you want to be professional? Yes. Do you want to be a bore? No. It’s OK to laugh or show excitement.

Finally, it’ll prevent you from freezing up. I’ve had clients convinced they can ace a recorded interview without rehearsing. Sure enough, the light goes on and the mouths slam shut. Going through the motions a few times ahead of the interview will prevent this.

Remember – rehearse but don’t over-rehearse. You’ll take the joy out of the interview. No matter what the business purpose of your interview is, at the end of the day a podcast is really about people connecting and exploring ideas that really energize them.

This was my first ever Relativity Fest and I almost cried like a baby! The important thing to remember here is that I don’t think I was the only one that felt these deep emotions. No, it wasn’t the sight of the nearly 2,000 people at the opening night reception networking and having a blast that brought tears to my eyes…No, it wasn’t the amazing sessions and co-panelists and emphasis on Women in eDiscovery that brought tears to my eyes…it was the Tuesday Keynote presentation headlined by Chip and Dan Heath, brothers and co-authors of “The Power of Moments” best-seller book. Toward the end of Chip’s keynote segment, he talked about how some Texan schools created Senior Signing Day ( and that brought me to think about my son, Jacob aka Jake or JJ. He’s a senior who is preparing to fly the nest a little less than a year from now. Typically Senior Signing Day is reserved for aspiring athletes that sign with colleges, but these Texas schools created a Senior Signing Day where all students could reveal where they plan to attend college. It started small, now many schools participate and the message is powerful. Although, the thought of cutting that proverbial umbilical cord makes most parents want to cry, it was rather the intense emotions that were present on the students, parents and children’s faces of the short video Chip played during the keynote: get tissues, then click on the web link above.

My takeaway ~ Certain experiences have extraordinary impact…that’s the power of moments.

I am anxious to read the book, but meanwhile, I would like to share some of their main points as I think it is important as a member of the legal community we think about our actions and plans and find ways to continue to make positive impressions and progress.

Elevation: Build peaks, find ways to create experiences, whether it is physical or mental experiences that are memorable.

Insight: Think about and open your mind to particular moments where you come to realizations or transformations. Perhaps it is a pivot point or a time where you were jolted or experienced an epiphany of some sort.

Pride: This is where you find opportunities to do something outstanding and thus the result is being recognized, or overcoming challenges, or even perhaps demonstrating courage. These are defining moments.

Connection: Find ways to build deeper connections and relationships with others. Share more, create moments and find more ways to laugh together.

I believe that Relativity Fest created a lot of powerful moments. I enjoyed laughing with old friends and making new. I learned a lot from attending sessions, talking to different e-discovery vendors and logged another public speaking endeavor for the year. Most importantly, I am excited to help our clients and community create these powerful moments as we all continue to stretch and grow.

Did you know that – according to the Content Marketing Institute – 89 percent of B2B companies are using content marketing today? We’re willing to bet that most law firms and the companies who supply software and services to them fall into that other 11 percent not making content marketing part of their strategy. We all know that law firms – and the companies that support them – are notoriously slow adopters. We understand. After all, the rest of the world’s industries have been able to advertise for 150 years longer than U.S. law firms.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Attracting website traffic. If you’re blogging and posting new downloadable content, you can continually add fresh new material that includes your keywords and search terms. This helps optimize your site for search engines and increases your domain authority.
  • Building thought leadership. The more times people see your authoritative content, the more they’ll remember your company and the better your reputation with those individuals will be.
  • Converting visitors to contacts. Individuals are willing to give their name and contact information for well-written, helpful content. That information can be used for future and ongoing email marketing campaigns.
  • Moving contacts through the sales funnel. Content that is delivered in a well-timed manner will help move contacts through the sales funnel to become true sales leads.

But if there’s anything that will convince legal-related businesses to adopt a new marketing strategy, it is seeing the real results and success a similar business has achieved.

Edge Legal Marketing client Innovative Computing Systems is a partner to law firms, municipalities and professional services organizations looking to define or improve a comprehensive IT strategy; implement, integrate and support best-in-class legal and horizontal technologies; enhance security; and leverage the power of cloud computing. A little more than two years ago, it made the strategic move to content marketing and invested in HubSpot as its chosen platform to manage and automate its content marketing workflow.

The results of its content marketing efforts since March of 2015, when its content machine was up and running at full steam, are enviable. Innovative now has:

  • 6,019 contacts in its database, up from 1,928 at the start
  • 452 blog reads
  • A 14.06 percent email open rate and a 4.93 percent click-through rate
  • 889 Twitter followers, up from 597 at the start
  • 178 Facebook followers, up from 132 at the start
  • 777 LinkedIn followers, up from 692 one year ago (which is as far back as LinkedIn reports)
  • 55 content items, which have resulted in 804 downloads

Innovative’s content marketing strategy has not been without occasional pain points. While the company’s top managers support the strategy, developing new content often falls low on the priority list given their client focus and becomes the last item on the to-do list of Innovative’s experts. The marketing team has learned to accommodate this by turning every new content item into as many additional content items as possible. As an example, live webinars are recorded and loaded onto the website for future promotion and downloads. The content of the webinar becomes an article or a top 10 tip sheet that sits behind a “gated” form. The article or tip sheet becomes a series of blog posts with a call to action to download the webinar on the topic. The blog posts become articles in the next month’s newsletter. The blog posts – and all the new content – are promoted through social media and email. The cycle continues until a new piece of content gives the team a fresh start.

Did you know? Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders.

Neil Patel, “38 Content marketing stats that every marketer needs to know.”

Today’s prospects have an appetite for information and a resistance to the old-fashioned hard sell. Prospects want good content that helps them make solid decisions. Great content marketing starts with a plan, an understanding of the target audience and a process to accomplish goals. Ready to make the case for content marketing at your company?