July 3rd, 2014 | by

Canadians are known for being incredibly friendly and polite – and their new anti-spam law is going to require you to play by their rules.

Relations between the US and Canada are typically so tight we might forget sometimes that they are a separate country. However, conducting business across borders always requires a certain level of awareness of differences – in laws, customs and traditions – and this week paying attention to the differences became more critical than ever.

Canada is the last of the G20 countries to enact their own anti-spam law and it’s clear they’ve been taking notes. Their anti-SPAM law, CASL (pronounced “castle”) came into effect July 1 and it is stricter and harsher than many of the existing laws, including the American CAN-SPAM version. Reviewing the regulation, it would appear that focusing on good data and good marketing practices will be keys to successfully marketing in Canada. Read below for some important steps you need to take to be in compliance.

CASL differs from American law in a few critical ways. First, the Canadian law doesn’t care where you send the message from – it applies to all “electronic messages,” including text, emails and social media. Second, it requires explicit opt-in rather than America’s easier opt-out. Third, it applies to any message accessed within Canada, which covers messages sent from anywhere in the world. Compliance is critical, as high penalties have been set including up to $1 million personal liability for company officers and $10 million for organizations.

As modern revenue marketers we know the importance of good data – but this new law puts a financial incentive on getting it right. Good contact data translates directly to a reliable revenue stream that depends on maintaining an accurate and segmented data base. In this case, your clean data will enable you to reach out to contacts directly and get their consent to continue marketing to them.

DiscoverOrg specializes maintaining clean data with current email addresses and direct dial phone numbers for more than 350,000 contacts in the 17,500+ companies we profile, but in order to be in compliance with CASL, a few extra steps are going to be required:

  1. Pull up all Canadian contacts in your database and send them a message saying, ‘We value our relationship with you; please click here/reply to confirm that you want to continue receiving our emails.’
  2. Review your opt-ins statements. CASL requires that marketers receive explicit permission to send emails to Canadian addresses, as well as including opt-out options. Check how your marketing emails are addressed and how they appear to the receiver. The CASL law requires that you make plain who sent the email. Make sure that you include a physical mailing address in your emails.
  3. Remember to review all points of contact with customers including any external lists like call centers and trade shows.
  4. Most importantly, you must assess the health of your existing database.  Ensure that all records in your existing database are appended with the correct address and country information. Sending emails to outdated contacts will cause a red flag (adorned with a pretty maple leaf).

If you already work with DiscoverOrg, you can be assured that data records are up-to-date as each contact across DiscoverOrg’s datasets is personally verified by one of our 100 researchers minimally every 90 days.  Integrated directly into SalesForce.com or and other CRM platforms, we make sure that when our data refreshes, so does yours.

Use this law change as an opportunity to reach out to your Canadian prospects and clients –remind them what you do and of the value you can deliver, but remember to ask for their permission to reach out again. Get busy registering your Canadian opt-ins, and sell away!

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Henry Schuck
About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, an 8-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.