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GDPR compliance in Marketo: Recording and storing opt-in data


With the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), all businesses must ensure that they handle personal data in a compliant manner. In this blog post, we will explore best practices for GDPR compliance in Marketo, specifically focusing on recording marketing permissions and related metadata. We will discuss how to capture consent through forms and store opt-in data imported from external sources, ensuring that your marketing activities align with legal requirements while maintaining effective communication with your audience.

To comply with GDPR, it's essential to obtain explicit and freely given consent from individuals before processing their personal data or including them in marketing campaigns. Marketo provides several mechanisms to capture consent effectively:

Consent checkbox on forms: Include a clear and conspicuous consent checkbox on your forms, specifically asking users for their permission to receive marketing communications. Ensure that the checkbox is unchecked by default and clearly explains the purpose and nature of the communication. It is recommended that the opt-in statement displayed has been prepared by your legal department to make sure it accurately reflects the consent given.

Granular subscription options: You can also offer granular consent options on your forms, allowing individuals to choose specific types of communication they wish to receive. This approach demonstrates transparency and gives individuals control over their preferences. Additionally, you can prepare a separate page where contacts can manage their subscriptions.

Double opt-in: Send opt-in confirmation emails to individuals who have provided their consent through forms or other channels. Include a verification link that individuals must click to confirm their subscription. This double opt-in process ensures explicit consent and provides a record of consent.

Documenting consent in Marketo

To maintain GDPR compliance, it's crucial to record and document marketing permissions and opt-in statements accurately. Here are best practices for recording consent:

Opt-in data custom fields: Create custom fields to store consent-related information. Use these fields to capture the consent status, opt-in date, the exact opt-in statement and other details about the consent given. For extra clarity, also record the URL of the page where consent was obtained, if available.

Audit trail and history: Maintain an audit trail and history of consent records in Marketo. Document each instance of consent received, including the source, timestamp, and any associated information. This historical record serves as evidence of compliance and helps in case of any future inquiries or audits. Keep it clean by appending data to a single history field for each data point.

Tokenised consent statements: Tokenise your consent statements to ensure the current, correct statement is displayed on all of your forms across your instance.

Integration with External Sources

In addition to you local forms, you may collect consent and marketing permissions from external sources, such as offline events, external systems or third-party syndication. Here's some tips on how this can be handled in a GDPR-compliant manner:

Data Import and Mapping: When importing data from external sources into Marketo, ensure that you accurately map consent-related fields and capture the appropriate consent status and opt-in statement. Document the source and date of consent for each record to maintain compliance.

Consent management system integration: If you use a Consent Management System to manage and track consent across various channels, integrate it with Marketo. This integration ensures seamless synchronization of consent records between external sources and Marketo.

Regular Data Synchronization: Establish a regular data synchronization process between Marketo and external systems to keep consent records up to date. This ensures that any changes or withdrawals of consent are reflected promptly in Marketo.

GDPR compliance is essential in today's digital landscape, and Marketo provides the tools and functionalities to support your efforts. By implementing best practices for recording marketing permissions and opt-in details, you can ensure compliance while maintaining effective marketing communication with your audience. Need help getting this done? We’re here to help.