How to manage opt-outs and unsubscribes across your entire tech stack

Today’s martech stacks are bigger and more inflated than they were the year before. While each new tool opens doors for growth and engagement, from an operations perspective, they also introduce a new set of complexity and questions. One challenge in particular involves managing unsubscribes and opt-out requests across multiple tools.

It’s not uncommon for your prospects and customers to engage with and receive messages from your company through several different systems: your marketing automation platform, website chat, and sales engagement tool, among others. But if and when they decide to opt out of communications in one system, it’s critical that you ensure their request is honored and reflected in other systems as well.

As a data integrator, we at Hull often get this question a lot: “What’s the best way to manage and reconcile unsubscribes from multiple systems?” Our philosophy on dealing with these requests is simple: log the request from the originating system, then populate that request out to all your other communications tools.

We get it — it’s definitely easier said than done! Keep reading for our recommendations.

Step #1: Connect all your tools to a separate, central platform (like a CDP)

The first thing we recommend to anyone managing data across multiple tools is to connect your systems together in a central location. Customer data platforms like Hull are specifically designed for this very endeavor. When managing data in general, bringing everything together into one place makes visualizing and understanding where you might have gaps or duplicates, as well as which data sources are surfacing which information much easier.

For managing unsubscribes, the same concept applies. You’ll be able to see which tool originated the request, and then work to ensure the other tools have reflected that request as well.

Step #2: Map your ‘opted out’ fields to your central data platform

Once you’ve connected your tools to your central platform (in our example, we’ll assume it’s a CDP), you’ll want to map the fields from your different tools to this platform to let the data start flowing in. In Hull, the way we present data coming in across tools is in their own distinct “grouping”. For example, if you’ve connected Marketo to Hull, you would have a separate Marketo group on the User and Account record in Hull. Similarly, if you’ve connected Salesforce to Hull, Salesorce would have its own group with its own fields as well.

This way, you can clearly visualize which data sources are presenting which values.

Step #3: Create a ‘unified data’ or ‘global data’ group

This step lets you build a separate, “holding” area for your data that will ultimately be your source of truth. The purpose of this ‘unified data’ group is to help surface your most trusted sources so you can then use this data in your other tools going forward. For managing unsubscribes, this will be the place from which you propagate the opt out request to your other tools.

Whiteboard Data Grouping

Step #4: Use the Hull Processor to write opt out rules

Did I lose you at “Hull Processor”? If so, let me explain. The Hull Processor is a real-time data editing and transforming environment, and one of the most powerful features of the Hull customer data platform. With simple Javascript, you write rules to modify existing data or generate new data on the fly.

In this particular use case for managing opt outs, the Hull Processor comes into play in two ways:

  1. In your unified data group, the Hull Processor will let you set a global opt out value as ‘TRUE’
  2. The Hull Processor will propagate the opt out request to reflect in your other tools

Related: Hull Code Hacks: Using the Processor to Create Unified Email Exclusion Lists

Your Processor code would essentially be looking for that global opt out value to be ‘TRUE’, and at that point, would trigger a programmatic opt out action in the rest of your applications.

And there you have it — a clean, automated, and streamlined way to manage opt outs and unsubscribe requests across multiple tools!

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Angela Sun

Angela brings over a decade of B2B technology marketing experience to her role as the Director of Marketing at Hull. Prior to Hull, she spent 5 years at utility data aggregator, Urjanet, where she held various roles in demand generation, marketing operations, and product marketing.