Series Posts: Beyond

How Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR

How Benchmark Has Adapted to the GDPR

Beyond Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. On April 11th, 2018, we held a webinar going through the key points in which the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects the email marketing strategy. Editor’s Note: Benchmark provides information during the webinar and in this article for informational purposes only. Such information cannot be understood as legal advice. To get advice on any issue or aspect related to the GDPR, you should contact your lawyer. In this article, we\'ll do a quick review of what GDPR is. We also want to do a recap of how has Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know. What is the goal of the new GDPR? The main goal of the new GDPR is to provide users with final control over their personal data. What benefits does the new GDPR provide? One continent, one law: a single, pan-European law for data protection, replacing the current inconsistent patchwork of national laws. Companies will deal with one law, not 28. One-stop-shop: a \'one-stop-shop\' for businesses. Companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority, not 28, making it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU. The same rules for all companies – regardless of where they are established: Today European companies have to adhere to stricter standards than companies established outside the EU but also doing business in our Single Market. With the reform, companies based outside of Europe will have to apply the same rules when they offer goods or services on the EU market. This creates a level playing field. Technological neutrality: the Regulation enables innovation to continue to thrive under the new rules. Roles and restrictions with the treatment of personal data The GDPR lays out the responsibility on the \"controller\" who assumes the responsibility of the application of the Regulation. The controller is who determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data. As a consequence the controller must also ensure that the way the personal data is treated is compliant with the GDPR. If the controller for example has decided to use Benchmark as an email marketing software, he or she has to ensure that tools provided by Benchmark are GDPR compliant, granting the right of rectification, access or erasure. As you probably know, Benchmark provides that option through the “Manage subscription” link, which however does not appear as mandatory in the footer of the email. Therefore it’s the controller’s duty to activate and add it. In this scenario, Benchmark is just a simple data processor software. Consent Until now, when a subscriber signed up through our signup forms it was not mandatory to inform him/her about the purpose of the data processing activities to be carried out. The GDPR mentions that the consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement and should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. In addition, where processing is based on the data subject\'s consent, the controller should be able to demonstrate that the data subject has given consent to the processing operation. Collection The GDPR advocates for simplicity in data collection. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than required (e.g. for sending out a simple weekly newsletter). This new Regulation encourages to collect the minimum data necessary for the current marketing strategy and not to ask for unnecessary data that may (or may not) be useful in the future. Access The controller should grant the easy execution of the data subject\'s rights, including mechanisms to request and, if applicable, obtain, free of charge, in particular, access to and rectification or erasure of personal data and the exercise of the right to object. Treatment of personal data The controller must inform the data subject of the existence of the processing operation and its purposes to grant a fair and transparent processing. How is Benchmark complying with the new GDPR? “Right to be forgotten” This right is one of the biggest change of this Regulation. For the very first time, this right is regulated and obligated the controller to completely remove the data if the data subject requested. To exercise the right to be forgotten, we have two different scenarios: Benchmark | Customer In the case any of the customers of Benchmark wants to be “forgotten”, he or she needs to request the deletion of the data writing to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of those. Benchmark | Customer | Subscriber Any of our client’s subscribers can request to be deleted from his lists and records. It’s the customer\'s responsibility to delete the subscriber from our (and other) systems, with one exception: if the subscriber has already unsubscribed, the client will not be able to remove the data from the “Unsubscribe” list. If this happens, the customer should forward the user’s email to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of the subscriber from the list. Accessibility / rectification / unsubscribe The controller must include the “Manage Subscription” option on the campaigns: Adding this option, the client gives the data subject the option to access, rectify and unsubscribe from his/her data. When the subscriber clicks on that link, he/she will find this screen: The subscriber can exercise his/her rights here. At Benchmark, we are currently preparing to allow the data subject to be able to rectify the rest of the fields and not just the email, name and surname. Consent We are also updating our signup forms to be compliant with the GDPR before the deadline in May. We are going to include the required check box linked to the controller’s privacy policy. International transfer of personal dataArticle 45 mentions that a transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organisation may take place where the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organisation in question ensures an adequate level of protection. Such a transfer shall not require any specific authorisation.This international transfer of personal data is guaranteed under the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement whose certification is held by Benchmark: Privacy policy We are adopting our privacy policy to be compliant with the GDPR. In the next weeks, we will send an email with the updates to all our clients. Servers location It was actually NEVER an obligation to have servers in Europe, but with the new GDPR it is even less necessary. One of the goals of the GDPR is to equate the data protection that the European companies are fulfilling with the one applied by companies from abroad, in a way that all companies are obliged to compete in equal conditions. Find the recording of our Webinar here: If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


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Mother's Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Beyond • May 11, 2018

I love my mom, but she’s crazy. Don’t worry. Saying it in this blog post won’t be news to her. I tell her all the time (both that I love her and that she’s crazy). While I may have done my fair share of complaining about it in my younger years, I came to appreciate the crazy too. Her fierce love for her family meant she would do anything to advocate for us. It helped in school if we got into trouble and in any other situation we needed someone on our side. What I saw as crazy at one point, I came to see as one of her greatest assets. Doing whatever you can for the ones you love is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my mom. That’s why I supported my younger brother for a few years when he followed me out to Los Angeles. It’s also why I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my found family in LA when I can’t make it back to Chicago for the holiday and why I enjoy making sure close friends have special plans to celebrate birthdays. I am who I am in no small part thanks to my mom. For that, I’ll always love her. I’ll be halfway across the country from my mom on Mother’s Day, and will have to resort to sending flowers and a phone call or Skype to tell her I love her. However, I’m always surrounded by great moms here at Benchmark. So, I figured this was as good of a time as any to pick their brains for some advice on being a mom, what they’ve learned as a mom and why moms are the best to work with. Here’s what they had to say: What\'s the best advice you\'ve been given on being a mom (and who gave it)? Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer: I think my mother told me: dress him, change his clothes two or three times a day. I like it because they grow up so fast and then they use their clothes like twice (not enough to justify the purchase). Irene Martinez - Training Manager: It is okay to take time off for yourself. Yes, kids are our priority, but you must take time to refocus. It does not have to be for days. A simple hour can do the trick. My mother-in-law told me this. [caption id=\"attachment_10111\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"769\"] Irene and her girls.[/caption] Lisa Fletcher - Customer Engagement Specialist: Don\'t sweat the small stuff. From a book cover lol. Debbie Running - Accounting & Human Resources Manager: Advice from my Mom: Take your children to church. Pray with them. Teach your children the Golden Rule (Do on to others as you would have them do unto you). Advice from Auntie Maude (Nanny): Always have your children wear onesies under their clothing for months that have an R in them. My children were rarely sick. Nydia Lopez - Integrations and International Content Management: My mom always told me to never say bad things (words) to my kids to correct them. Those words hurt them more than a punishment or even a spank. What\'s the biggest lesson you\'ve learned since becoming a mom? YF: In the beginning, I wanted the time run faster because I was so tired. Sometimes I still have the same feeling, but I learned I need to enjoy this. No matter how tired I am, I have to find the strength to play, to laugh, to be a mom. IM: Things can go from great to bad in an instant (especially with little ones). Be prepared for anything possible. If you are not, then learn for the next time. Because trust me, there will be a next time. LF: As bad as any tantrum appears to be, it\'s really a cry to be heard or understood, and they always pass. DR: Never say never! Life is precious. Don\'t take it for granted. Children are a blessing. Smell and kiss them often. Hold their hands and guide them always. NL: Being a mom at a young age was a big challenge. I have always said that there is no manual to learn how to be a mom, you learn it over time. I can say that I grew up learning together with my children to fall and get up, but always with their heads held high. What advice would you give to a new mom? YF: All the help is welcome. Sleep when the baby is asleep too. Eat! Do not care about your weight. You will have time later to lose those pounds. Enjoy taking pictures of your baby and spending time watching them growing up. Time never comes back, and yes, you will forget how it was. IM: Take things day by day. The days where you want to rip your hair out are outnumbered by the days your heart is filled with joy. The long nights will be gone before you know it, and all that will be left are memories. LF: Learn to enjoy time with your kids. Never see it as a job you must do, but something you are gaining from. DR: I tell my daughter that as a new mom, life goes by so fast. Enjoy every day with them as if it were your last. As a Mom, I taught our children when you are at someones home, always be on your best behavior. I have passed that advice to my daughter. [caption id=\"attachment_10109\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1080\"] Debbie with her mother, sisters, daughter, nieces and daughter-in-law.[/caption] NL: Kids grow so fast, Enjoy them, protect them, experience them now. Because in a blink of an eye, they will become adults and you will wish to turn back time and do what you didn’t do before. Why do moms make great employees and coworkers? YF: The ability to be really good at multitasking. You have a 360º view, and that\'s incredible because for any reason all your senses are improved like a superhero. You can see things that could happen where anybody else can see it, so you become an expert detailing. You work faster because you can\'t spend all day on just one thing. And for the things that must be done only for one, and perfectly, you can not go back and repeat tasks. Kids make you become a perfectionist in all you do. So, I am better working since I become a mom. IM: A woman without kids is no more important than one with kids. However, moms bring something different to the table, and that is flexibility. We know things can go from good to bad in an instant, and we tend to prepare for the worst case possible. In a working environment, you must be flexible to take on new challenges. LF: Most moms bring a deep well for empathy and know how to gather the troop together for the betterment of all. DR: Moms are great employees because we have learned to juggle lots of responsibilities. Therefore, we can multitask. We care about how our co-workers feel. We have time management skills. Moms are dedicated and loyal employees. NL: Moms are very determined, and we are known as the masters of multi-tasking. If there is something that we do not know how to do, we always come up with something. And having moms as coworkers makes us feel like we have something in common and that we understand each other. Moms work very hard! :)


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Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Beyond • May 11, 2018

It was a pleasure to bring Rand Fishkin back to the Heart of Business, as he begins to ignite SparkToro, his latest endeavor. Hear our first conversation with Rand Fishkin, where we talk all things SEO. The invite to return to the podcast went out the day he announced he was leaving Moz and starting SparkToro. We just had to hear what the former Wonderful Wizard of Moz was getting into next. I think the bias toward, ‘you know...hey...there’s only one way to be successful’ is kind of [BS]. So this time around I am intentionally avoiding that. It turns out he’s got some pretty awesome stuff brewing with SparkToro. He told us all about it, and we can’t wait to see what it will become. He also shared details about his newly released book, Lost and Founder. As a Content Manager, my favorite part of his chat with Rand was our conversation about content. We talked about how to create great content and the importance of transparency. 1:28 - What is SparkToro? 4:11 - On life after Moz 7:43 - There’s not just one way to succeed 11:39 - Understanding your audience 20:06 - How transparency can make you the king of content 30:58 - His new book: Lost and Founder


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I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

Beyond • May 10, 2018

My business began as a weekly email. It was Valentine’s Day 2016. I had been working as a marketing consultant for a few years -- ever since I had gotten pregnant with my second daughter and decided to leave my agency job to test out solopreneur life. I loved the freedom it afforded me; the ability to do great work, but do it around my young daughters’ schedules. I felt like I had discovered the magic mix of work and play that so many mothers were seeking -- and I wanted to share the wealth. So I started my second business, MotherHustle.com, to help the other creative working mothers that I knew from the agency world make the leap from stressed-out and unappreciated employee to empowered creative mompreneur. Every Sunday night, I began sending out my MotherHustle emails, filled with tips and stories about starting and growing a family-focused business. And as I shared, my list began to grow. I saw the magic of email marketing happening right in front of me: when you share great content, people want you to show up in their inbox. After a year of being a strictly email-only business, I expanded MotherHustle into an online community and publication and brought in more mom bosses to share their stories and ideas. But I kept up with my weekly email, and it has helped my little idea continue to grow with strength and resilience. My email list grew me a business. It also grew me fantastic connections, a community of other creative mompreneurs to lean on, and a private outlet for content that doesn’t necessarily belong on the public MotherHustle channels. Joe Pulizzi, author of Content, Inc., got it right when he said: “When all your focus is on an audience you know deeply, instead of a product, good things usually happen. When we listen intently to our audience, we are automatically led to new product opportunities.” Email marketing allows you to focus on getting to know your audience deeply. By testing which content resonates most with your list, and by actually getting subscribers to open your emails and interact with your content on a consistent basis, you’re able to create a deep connection with your audience before you even have a product to sell. That’s how I built MotherHustle -- and that’s how many of the other mom bosses, or mompreneurs, I know were able to build their successful businesses. As email marketing continues to grow and change, it’s important to keep up with how audiences are receiving those emails. So I decided to ask some of the mom bosses I know to share their best email marketing tips with me. As moms, what do they appreciate about the good emails they receive? What makes an email cut through the clutter? And as business owners, what email marketing tactics have been effective in their practices? Here’s what they had to say: “Personalization. I believe great emails come from great segmentation and really understanding your audience. [Pregnancy and parenting website] WhatToExpect is awesome at this. Their emails and the content they send are always hyper-relevant to the stage I’m in with my kiddo.” -- Latoya James Torrance, founder of EndearContent.com “I really don’t like hidden sponsorships. I don’t mind sponsored emails, but I really don’t like feeling tricked when I reach the end of an interesting email and find it’s only leading me to a purchase. I will likely unsubscribe. If it’s upfront, I don’t mind!” -- Maggie Murdy, founder of NativeCM “I like emails that give me free value, honestly. Anyone who is going to teach me something that makes my life easier. I read a lot of Holly Homer’s emails from Kids Activities Blog -- they are sales-y, but they also have a ton of good info before she tries to sell you anything.  I also like an email that tries to teach me one thing. Just one.” -- Maggie Frank-Hsu, founder of Blogs To Riches consulting program “[For the emails I receive:] get to the point. Skip formalities, and keep things bullet-point style. [For my business,] split-testing my headlines and resending to unopens a day or two later has increased my opens by about 8 percent.” -- Shawna May, sales and marketing consultant, owner of HeyHeyShawnaMay.com \"Your audience is busy. And no one wants junk cluttering up their inboxes. Focus on building a relationship with your audience and providing them the value that they want and need. In your welcome sequence, ask them what they want from you. Then, as you\'re creating your regular nurturing emails, include that value. Emails are so much more personal than social media, blog posts, and videos because they happen in real time and require a buy-in from your subscribers. Give them something special!\" -- Abby Herman, content marketing strategist If email marketing is on your business’ to-do list this Mother’s Day, take it from these mompreneurs: get right to it, give us value and gain our trust with honesty. If you do, email marketing can help you grow your business (just like it did for this mompreneur!).


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Why You Should Hire A Mom

Why You Should Hire A Mom

Beyond • May 9, 2018

I’m a mom, a single one at that. I own multiple businesses but before that, I worked at a large company where one might say I “cut my teeth.”  Corporate culture wasn’t for me, so I moved to entrepreneurship. Through all of those years of office training and now becoming a mom myself, I have learned an incredible amount of lessons with one residing at the top: moms make the best employees. My businesses have fortunately grown. I started out solo, and through the years, I’ve had to expand when needed to truly be able to grow the way I intended to. Hiring can be challenging, but I have built out my team comprised of several moms, purposely.  Not only because I am one, and I get how they tick, but it goes so much deeper than that. Is Your Mother\'s Day Email Marketing Ready? Check Out These Tips & Infographic. In the past, I used to constantly hear criticisms of moms in the workplace. People would say they’re not as focused, not as dedicated; they have too many commitments to worry about outside of the office that could prevent them from keeping their eye on the prize while in the office and I would cringe at every word.  In fact, it can be entirely the opposite if just given a proper chance and a mom on your team could wind up being the most highly beneficial business decision you could ever make. The Octopus Theory Did you ever see a mother that could not multi-task? I look back at some moments in my life, such as a typical start of a business trip when my daughter was younger. On my own, wheeling a suitcase, while pushing a stroller with a messenger bag strapped across me, feeding her and digging for a bottle in my bag in an airport all while on a conference call on my headset en route to board a plane. It sounds manic, but to me it was just natural and to many, many other moms that are home cooking dinner in the evening, while helping their child with their homework, handling household tasks, getting in the car to do activity pickups, preparing clothes for the next day, paying bills online and responding to emails and texts both personal and work-related without breaking a sweat. It just happens, and most mothers never, ever complain about it. They just DO. They’re given a situation, a tough one that has a lot of moving parts, and in most cases, they just figure it out.  If this incredible skill isn’t what you need on your team, you’re probably not growing the best way possible. In a study for Microsoft, it was shown that 62% of women make better team players and nearly 2/3 of moms surveyed agreed their multitasking skills improved after having a child, along with their time management skills whereas those of working dads didn’t necessarily improve. Balance A day in the life of a busy mom is a day you cannot possibly imagine unless you’re in those shoes. There are very early mornings that begin with thinking of someone else, handling something for someone else, ensuring someone else’s day is going well, that someone else is thriving and ensuring that someone else has everything they need to be their best. Activities to sign up for, school to prepare for, homework to complete, socialization to enjoy, food to eat, stable home to reside in and the list goes on. A mom can handle all of these spinning plates in the air easily and not drop any because it just comes naturally. It’s balance. When a mom really enjoys their work, fitting this into the mix to maintain balance also comes naturally too because they’ve had the best training. Work is something so crucial to a mom’s life to keep them grounded and feeling like they perhaps once did before all of the beautiful chaos and at least in my case, as is the case with countless others, work is so much more appreciated at this stage of life, commitments get stronger and in the end, work makes a mom a better version of herself in all ways. They also make incredible role models for children. A recent study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries saw daughters of working mothers completing more education and landing in ten leadership roles. Patience Placing beads on a string or making a complicated version of colored slime. Waiting at a soccer game that’s gone into triple overtime. Getting up at 5 am for hockey practice.  Listening to a story from a child that is adorable but goes on, and on, and on, and on. Patience is an art best developed by caring for a child and realizing that one’s schedule is no longer their own. Life operates on a completely different cycle once one enters motherhood and nothing else tests one\'s patience quite like this. This is a quality that can be highly attractive in the workplace and contributes to people getting along, to dedication to perfection on projects completed, and also when it comes to both learning on the job and perhaps even training someone on the job. The Art of Negotiation Consider how many times a day a mother has to channel her inner Monty Hall and play out a whole Let’s Make A Deal scenario.  10? 20? Easily. “If you get dressed in 5 minutes I’ll let you play a game on your phone.” “If you eat 10 brussels sprouts you only have to eat four pieces of steak.” “If you finish your homework in time you can watch a little TV.” The script goes on and on from sun up to sun down when you’re a mom. It is a constant battle, an endless trade, a continual offer being made and with negotiation being such a critical cornerstone in business, this is likely one of the best assets you will find in a mom. Why? Because they are forever on the training ground. It doesn’t stop when work stops, it begins far before and ends far later. And remember, in most situations, moms usually win. Emotion Where It’s Needed Most say there is no room for emotion in business, but passion is what fuels people to be their best. When commitment is strong, and the desire runs deep, there is no stopping anyone from achieving their goals. Moms enter the most extreme commitment one can ever make, the most binding, the most dedicated, the most bonding and the most amazing and they deliver, every minute of every day. There’s a touch that a mom has when explaining something when handling a delicate issue, when keeping things going when everything else seems dire that is so crucial to helping maintain a happy, healthy work environment. So, I urge you, whether you’re on your own and growing slowly or you’re running a large company, to ignore concerns you may have had before about the performance a working mom can deliver and consider these reasons why I firmly believe a mom should be a top candidate.


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