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Marketing Tools & POPIA Compliance: POPIA Simplified #3

  • July 12, 2021

Marketing Tools & POPIA Compliance – the 2 necessary ingredients in every marketing strategy

#POPIASimplified – Episode 3


SmartenUp - POPIA Simplified 3 1

Let’s face it, the way in which we digitally market our companies and brand identities today has changed in a number of ways. We live in a modern day and age where connecting with our audience requires more finesse. (We felt fancy even typing that!) 

Now it’s not good enough to just send someone an email about your products. “Why?” You may ask. You want to do so on a larger scale, and with the ability to track email behaviour to drive your marketing efforts intelligently. Heck, without that it’s like you’re taking shots in the dark hoping to hit the bullseye. You may get lucky once but is it really worth wasting all your metaphorical bullets? We don’t know about you, but to us it’s much more satisfying hitting that bullseye once. Then again…And again… And again… You get the point.

To add to this, marketing communication has recently become even more regulated with the arrival of POPIA [1] –  adding to the list of “do’s” and “don’ts”. You need to start asking yourself, “how do we effectively apply email marketing strategies whilst still ensuring that we remain compliant with what is legally permitted?” 

Don’t worry – we got you. Let’s break it down and take a look with some practical examples.

The Marketing side:

Let’s take Thandi from Posh Wash (if you don’t know who Thandi is, have a look at our #BackToBasics blogs!)– she recently started an online laundry service and in order to gain exposure, she needs to get the name of her company out there. 

To her advantage, she has a list of 100 leads who provided their email addresses at a fundraiser event. From a marketing perspective, she knows the following:

  • To be productive about it, she knows that it’s too time consuming to email every person individually, even though 8 out of 10 prospects prefer to communicate over email [2].
  • She is aware that it could take up to 4 attempts to get prospects interested [3]. Therefore, she wants to email people more than once in a way that doesn’t feel invasive or like borderline-harassment, assuming they don’t unsubscribe or object, she wants to ensure that they get a variety of emails. 
    • Examples would include emails on weekly deals of course, but what we really want to focus on are emails that take her clients on a journey. We’re talking customer testimonials, and perhaps even educational content about why it’s a better idea to have your washing collected and cleaned from a booking made online, to debunk any myths about sending your washing to a stranger, and so much more; all forming part of her intelligent marketing strategy. 
  • Ah, yes. That beautiful, generic mass-marketing email really just gets us itching to buy from a brand, right?! Of course not! Anyone who has sent an email knows the more personal you make it, the more likely someone is to respond. Thandi, for example, would therefore like to add merge fields to personalise every email to include someone’s name and area they stay in, amongst other personalised features. 
  • To ensure maximum exposure, she wants her website to be accessed as much as possible. But to get more traffic coming her way, adding a button in her email, linking prospects to her website, is a great way to go. 
  • She has spent a lot of money and time on Posh Wash’s branding, logos and images. Good branding doesn’t come cheap these days and she wants this look-and-feel to be reflected on every email as part of her brand-building strategy.
  • Most importantly, Thandi wants to see who opens their emails, who reads their emails, and which email gets the most reaction. This is crucial, because having this whole strategy without measuring the results, would be pointless. Back to shooting a bullseye in the dark… *cringe*.

One cannot have an effective marketing strategy without the correct tool to implement it. But let’s assume that Thandi can tick all of the above boxes with the right email platform, it only gets her half way there, as she needs to comply with the regulations of marketing emails in general. 

So let’s look at the law. Whilst an “Opt-Out” mechanism in a marketing email is not a new player to this game, POPIA has taken it a step further. You, the company, are now required to obtain the consent in a prescribed form and manner of a lead. When we say obtain the consent of a “lead”, this means a prospect who isn’t already a customer, So before you can email them, you need to obtain that consent from them, more commonly referred to as the “Opt-In” mechanism [4]. 

In addition to that, you can only legally email a lead under the following circumstances :

  • A lead can only be approached for consent once, and only if consent was not refused before. 
  • By storing personal information of your lead (which also needs to meet the prescribed standards for data security and protection): like their name, surname and email address, you need to ensure that you comply with data processing conditions such as lawful and reasonable processing. This includes the right of a lead to be notified of what information you have on them, where you got it from, how long you intend to retain it, and what you are going to use their data for (if this sounds like a foreign language to you, don’t worry – we’ve already broken it down in bite-size pieces for you. Take a look at our other blog posts explaining this requirements in detail: https://smartenup.co.za/popia/)
  • A lead has the right to object to you storing their information, as well as to request the information that you have about them to be updated or even deleted [5]. 

Again, let’s assume you’re able to tick the above boxes – how do you implement it on a large scale, and more importantly – how do you manage these requirements and prove that your company is compliant? 

Considering everything we have set out so far and factors to consider, SmartenUp developed a tool (on the Salesforce Platform of course!), better known as MailUp, which, is the way to go in our opinion, as it will tick the boxes on both the marketing strategy as well as the regulatory side:

  • The Marketing Strategy:
        • Professional brand design allows you to build and design an email with your company branding, like your company’s logo and images. This is so that you can market yourself on a large scale while keeping your brand image intact. 
        • Rich and Flexible functionalities are there so you can easily add links, buttons, and merge fields. This ensures that you add a personal touch to every email with ease, while increasing exposure to your brand.
        • One of our favourites: design unique email journeys. You now have the ability, with the right tools, to design unique email journeys and content while being able to select the intervals at which they should be sent. Simply add a lead to the journey and they will receive an email at the frequency and time that you have selected. We should probably point out that this is in our opinion the most useful feature of this tool, as you no longer need to keep track of who needs to be contacted and when you need to do so. It may seem miniscule now, but when your database grows into the thousands, you’ll be dependent on a feature like this to keep consistency for your brand intact.
        • Campaign management. This refers to easily grouping your leads into campaigns, to monitor the traction of your marketing efforts and performance. Bullseye!
        • Email tracking lets you see who opens and reads your emails, as well as how many times they do so. This allows you to easily track which email gains the most exposure, so that you can finetune your approach. But it doesn’t stop there; it also allows you to see on which day of the week and what time your emails have the most success. You can start spending time on creating a recipe that works, and fueling that more and more with the intelligence you gain from the data.
        • CRM integration means that MailUp is integrated with the Salesforce CRM platform.”Why is that so significant?” You may ask. Great question! It means that with all this momentum, you don’t have to stop at emails; you can manage and interact with your leads, convert them into opportunities, and close deals all on one platform. Score!
        • Now for the bread and butter of it all: Analytics & Reporting.The intention and power of this feature is so that you can see all of the above functionalities and details in user-friendly reports and dashboards, designed to give you a 360° visual representation of key data to ensure that your marketing strategy is on the right track.

  • The Regulatory Side – a.k.a. The Law:
    • Prescribed Regulations comes down to the ability to easily set out what you need to in your email footer: such details of your lead’s personal information that needs to be stated as set out above, to ensure lawful processing. Having a tool with advanced email functionality that allows you to do that with ease and minimal admin is imperative and extremely beneficial.
    • Consent or “Opt – In” Clauses like we talked about earlier is at the top of the “Important” list too. MailUp allows your leads to consent, change their email preferences and object to email communication. What’s great is that it automatically saves any objection, or opt-out preferences, to stop any automatic emails from being sent from an email journey that you have activated. This ensures compliance without you having to keep track of it. Music to our ears.
    • Representation of information ensures that all of the information of your leads are stored in an easy-to-use and practical manner. This, in turn, allows you to quickly and easily identify and deal with information requests, or requests made from the lead to delete their personal information.
    • Encrypted information means that all of the information that you may store on your leads are encrypted and secured, ensuring that you comply with the required security standards [6]. 

Get in touch today, to find out more about MailUp, and how this would take your marketing strategies to the next level, whilst remaining compliant and saving you time while increasing your returns! Double-whammy.

Stay tuned as we continue to dissect the POPIA reality we live in and the solutions available; and if you haven’t please feel free to have a look at our in-depth and easy-to-read blogs about the different facets of this complicated and technical cyber-reality.

The SmartenUp Team



[1] Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.

[2] https://www.nutshell.com/blog/how-many-sales-emails-should-you-send/

[3] https://www.nutshell.com/blog/how-many-sales-emails-should-you-send/

[4] https://www.popipack.co.za/popia-and-the-regulation-of-direct-marketing/ 

[5] Act 4 of 2013, Chapter 3.

[6] https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000325217&type=1&mode=1



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