Blueshift is committed to being ready for the GDPR well before the May 25th timeline. This is a continuation of our previous and current efforts to handle EU data in a way that complies with the current regulations

GDPR Compliance with Blueshift

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is slated to go into effect starting on May 25, 2018. This new regulation builds on previous EU efforts to strengthen the security and protection of the personal data of EU residents, and is billed as the “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”. If you are a EU based business, or even a global business with consumer footprint in the EU, you need to take steps to be compliant with the new regulation.

Blueshift is committed to being ready for the GDPR well before the May 25th timeline. This is a continuation of our previous and current efforts to handle EU data in a way that complies with the current regulations (including our participation in the Privacy Shield Framework).

Not only will Blueshift be ready for GDPR, we are also making tools available for you to comply with GDPR. Specifically, we will support our customers in two ways:

  • We will provide an updated Data Processing Agreement (DPA) that reflects the requirements of the GDPR and ensures compliant data transfer with storage outside the EU
  • We will offer new product capabilities to help you be compliant when your end-customers plan to exercise their rights around accessing the data and to be “forgotten”.

Understanding GDPR

Compared to previous regulations, GDPR imposes more stringent requirements on businesses. For instance, under GDPR, end-customers (“data subjects”) have the following rights:

  • Right to Access: Provide end-customers (“data subjects”) the right to review & correct their data.
  • Right to be forgotten: Enable customers the ability to request your business to erase all (or some) of their data.
  • Data Portability: Enable customers to take their own data elsewhere, by providing a copy in a commonly used and machine readable format.

A more detailed list of rights can be found here.

GDPR imposes a set of requirements on Data Controllers (i.e. entities that track or monitor EU residents and decide why and how data is collected and processed), as well as on Data Processors (entities that process data on behalf of Data Controllers).

Failure to meet the requirements can result in penalties of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). Further, the regulations apply to all companies processing the personal data of EU subjects, regardless of the company’s location.

How We Plan to be GDPR Compliant

As our customer, you are likely to be a Data Controller, and one of your requirements is to only work with compliant Data Processors.

We plan to be compliant with GDPR by taking the following measures:

  • Updated Data Processing Agreement (DPA): We plan to roll out an updated DPA for our customers, reflecting the additional requirements of GDPR
  • Secure data transfer and storage outside the EU: Transfers of personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are permitted if certain safeguards are in place. Our new DPA contains the EU Model Clauses, which are industry standard for data safety. This means that Blueshift agrees to protect any data originating from the EEA in line with European data protection standards. 
  • Technical and organizational security measuresBlueshift takes a holistic approach to security, including measures built into our product as well as organizational measures. Some of the measures we take include securing your data in transit and at rest, restricting and securing data access, providing continuous incident monitoring, performing regular vulnerability testing, and conducting regular security training.  We also participate in Truste’s Privacy Certification Program.
  • Processing the data in accordance with Data Controller instructions: As has always been the case, we only process personal data according to instructions from the controller (our customers). 
  • Prompt breach notificationsIn line with our current policies, Blueshift will promptly inform you of any incidents involving your users’ personal data. 

Helping you achieve compliance

In addition to ensuring that Blueshift is compliant with GDPR, we are also rolling out new capabilities that help you achieve compliance as a Data Controller. Some of the rights available to EU Residents as Data Subjects are hard for Data Controllers to manage, due to the limitations of certain systems. Specifically, it is hard for most businesses to implement processes that ensure the right to erasure (the right to be forgotten), the right to object, and the right to restrict processing.

Our customers use Blueshift to unify their customer data (along with deriving customer insights on the data, and finally activating the data and insights through cross-channel campaigns). Because of this, we are in a unique position to help you achieve compliance with GDPR.

We plan to roll out the following enhancement in our product before May 25 that are geared towards helping you a Data Controller:

  • Deletion and automatic suppression: We are adding a /delete endpoint to our existing user API. Issuing this call for a given userId ensures that all personal data related to the userId is deleted from the index of customer data that Blueshift maintains for you, and any future data related to the userId is also suppressed from the index. As a result, the data will not make its way to any marketing action in Blueshift.

Additionally, the following existing capabilities of Blueshift enable you to comply with accessdata portability, and rectification rights:

  • CSV Export of End-Customer Data: You can use the segment export functionality in Blueshift to download user data in CSV format. Under the GDPR, EU residents have a right to access their personal data and are entitled to obtain their personal data in a commonly used format, such as a CSV file.
  • Update (Rectify) End-Customer Data using API or CSV: The GDPR also empowers individuals to correct any personal data that is deemed inaccurate or incomplete. You can rectify user data in 2 ways:
    • Identify Event:  You can fire an “Identify” event to update the data
    • CSV upload: You can also rectify the data using the user upload functionality.

Closing Thoughts

Regulations like GDPR are an important step in making sure that businesses treat customers with respect. GDPR’s guidelines around consent will force every brand to start valuing first party customer data, where the customer has explicitly opted in not only to the collection of the data, but also to the use of the data in marketing. Respectful use of customer data will be critical to delivering delightful brand experiences, and building trust with consumers.  

AI in the drivers seat

Getting AI into the Driver’s Seat of Marketing

While AI is receiving a lot of hype these days, applications of AI and machine learning have been around for a long time. What has changed however, is that AI finally has the potential to stop being a mildly helpful and sometimes annoying backseat driver, and finally operate in the driver’s seat.

This is happening, quite literally, in the world of automobiles, with the advent of self-driving cars. What does it take to make the same transformation happen in other domains?

I shared my thoughts on this subject with TheNextWeb in a feature titled “Why artificial intelligence is stuck in the backseat“. I talked about how “A.I. in marketing technology is the same as A.I. anywhere else. Self driving cars are finally becoming a reality because of a massive amount of map and street view data that helps the A.I. anticipate every possible scenario. Professionals in any industry must prioritize higher quality data input to get A.I. out of the backseat.”

At Blueshift, we focus on putting AI in the driver’s seat of marketing. Compared to Marketing Automation 1.0, which was simply pushing buttons, putting AI in the driver’s seat of marketing helps brands deliver 1:1 Customer Journeys at scale.

Read the full article at TheNextWeb: “Why artificial intelligence is stuck in the backseat

Chandra Pattabhiram joins Blueshift Board

Welcoming Chandar, former CMO of Marketo, to the Blueshift Board

I am thrilled to welcome Chandar Pattabhiram as the first independent board member at Blueshift. Chandar is currently the CMO at Coupa Software. Previously, as the CMO at Marketo, he helped shape the marketing automation industry. Chandar has recently been named by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 CMOs to follow for thought leadership in digital marketing.

At Blueshift, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are “built for marketers, by marketers”. As a widely recognized marketing leader, Chandar’s advice will be invaluable as we continue to help marketing organization across the world connect with a Segment-of-One at scale.

In the world of automobiles, AI is moving from “driver-assist” to “self-driving cars”. Similarly, in the world of marketing, AI is poised to help marketers orchestrate entire customer journeys. In Chandar’s own words, “The time is now for AI technologies in marketing to move from the backseat into the driver’s seat”.  Read more here.

Growth Marketing Vin Diagram

Growth Marketing Defined – What It Is and What It Isn’t

Ever since Facebook staffed a whole “growth team”, the idea of Growth Marketing has captured the imagination of marketers. However, it’s a topic on which there’s very little informative material for aspiring practitioners. That is why we are excited to announce the first ever comprehensive Growth Maketers’ Guide to Customer Engagement.

What is Growth Marketing?

But first, what is growth marketing? A consensus definition is hard to find, but we prefer the following definition:

“Growth marketing drives increased user engagement, by extending the boundaries of the product into marketing channels.”

There are 2 key elements of this definition:

What do growth marketers do? Growth marketers drive higher user engagement with the product that they are marketing.

How do they do it? They achieve this by taking the product into channels that are traditionally considered marketing channels, e.g., email marketing or mobile push notifications.

Others have defined growth marketing in similar terms:

  • Wealthfront’s VP of Growth Andy Johns said[1]: “Finance owns the flow of cash in and out of a company, growth owns the flow of customers in and out of a product.”
  • Growth marketing is removing the boundaries of marketing to enable every aspect of the customer experience to focus on attracting more engaged customers.” – Mike Volpe, former CMO of Hubspot


The intersection of Product and Marketing…

If you were to think of product & marketing as 2 different functions, growth marketing is the area where the two meet:

growth marketing defined


This might mean different things for different industries. For instance, in retail & e-commerce industries, the notion of “product” is closer to merchandising, and you might see growth marketing at the intersection of merchandising and marketing:

growth marketing for retail and ecommerce


Let’s look at some examples of some growth marketing delivered in the form of email notifications. In all these examples, we will see how email, traditionally a marketing channel, is being used to extend the boundaries of the core product by delivering recommendations from within the product

1. Twitter’s email notifications with recommendations on who to follow


2. Amazon’s abandoned browse emails that showcase relevant merchandise


3. Foursquare’s “tips” push notifications featuring info about restaurants and other places



What Growth Marketing Isn’t

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”

While we are on the subject of defining growth marketing, we should make it clear what it’s not. As you can see from the examples above, growth marketing is not simply digital marketing, or in other words all digital marketing is not growth marketing. Growth marketers certainly use digital marketing channels, what makes them different is that they do it in a way that features relevant content from the product.

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”, a practice of customer acquisition through unconventional means. The most commonly mentioned examples of growth hacks include Airbnb’s user acquisition using Craigslist postings or Dropbox’s viral user acquisition using incentives for sharing an account. Unlike these growth hacks that are truly one off and not replicable, growth marketing consists of systematic techniques and principles that you can apply across multiple situations and products. Also, unlike the customer acquisition focused techniques of growth hacking, growth marketing consists of driving customer engagement with the product.


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.


Verbs not Nouns

Market to Verbs, not Nouns

Marketers have always believed in targeted marketing. In the past, targeting has meant building a database of customers and their attributes, especially demographic attributes like first & last name, gender, location, and more. In this notion of database marketing, the databases describe nouns, like customers and products, and attributes of these nouns.

I wrote an article today in CMS Wire on how marketers should market to verbs, not nouns. Today’s leading edge marketers are finding that targeting based on nouns is outdated in the world of “Perpetually Connected Customers”, who are accessing information every second on web & mobile. The Perpetually Connected Customer’s actions & behavior are an indicator of their needs and wants desires, and marketers are confirming something that we have always suspected: that customers are multi-dimensional, and behave differently at different times.


Why are verbs more important than nouns in targeted & personalized marketing? And why is their importance increasing over time? The two primary drivers are related to how customers have changed over the recent years, and how media has changed:

  • Perpetuals are not the same consumer from moment to moment: Perpetuals’ willingness to consume, changes depending on what they are doing. When describing people or customers, you could choose to describe them using static attributes like location or gender, that don’t change over time. However, people are multi-dimensional, and their interests and desires shift over time. Understanding the customer’s stream of actions is the only way to react to the changing desires of the perpetually connected customer.
  • The death of mass-media and the drive towards 1:1 personalization: Customer attention spans are shifting away from mass-targeted media (like broadcast TV) towards truly personal mediums where people consume content on their own terms. Correspondingly, marketers and advertisers need to shift their framework away from describing people in ways that are hangovers from the mass-media world –using attributes like gender, location, education etc. Instead, marketers need to concentrate on understanding the set of actions that truly set every individual apart, as no two customers rarely ever follow the same sequence of interactions with the same items.

To read more, head over to CMS Wire.





Programmatic Relationship Marketing

Innovations in programmatic advertising have transformed online media buying, making the process more automated, targeted and measurable. Now programmatic is poised to revolutionize customer relationship marketing.

I wrote an article on this subject today at Adexchanger, titled “When Will The Programmatic Revolution Reach Customer Relationship Marketing?

In my mind, programmatic relationship marketing consists of the following elements:

  • Dynamic Audiences — No more lists. Audiences would be updated in real time, and inclusion won’t necessarily be all-or-nothing. Instead recipients can form an “engagement cloud” where some consumers receive more frequent communications than others based on their interests and previous interactions with a brand.
  • Real-time Triggers – Receiving an email “blast” feels exactly like it sounds. No one likes to be caught in a blast radius. With real-time decision systems, you can now trigger the right message to the right customer at a time that’s based on the customer’s engagement.
  • Dynamic Creative — Personalized template-based communication will help prevent consumers from feeling like they’re being talked at rather than to. This goes beyond acknowledging global variables like time of day, weather and location, and populating creative templates with truly 1:1 elements based on a customer’s interactions with your brand.
  • User-centric, not channel-centric — Channel-centric communication is out. Messaging consumers via their preferred channels — and intelligently across channels — is in.
  • Automatic Measurement and Optimization — Like human beings, marketing campaigns should sense whether or not they’re connecting with their audience. Campaigns that can self-optimize, reacting to what works and what doesn’t, what will deliver more relevant messages and what will do so when recipients are most likely to engage with them.

To read more about about the topic, head over to Adexchanger, or contact us at

Announcing the launch of Personalization Studio

Announcing The Launch of Personalization Studio

In today’s perpetually connected world, consumers are leaving behind richer and richer cues about their wants and needs, and are increasingly expecting marketing to be highly personalized. Marketers have always realized the importance of personalization, but find it highly challenging to deliver a hyper-personalized experience across every digital touchpoint. In fact, a study by eConsultancy found that only 5% of marketers are personalizing extensively.

Previous attempts at solving this challenge have been extremely limited: these solutions don’t adapt to the unique nature of each business, don’t customize easily to different audiences, and are hard to integrate with cross-channel campaign execution.

We are changing that today with the launch of Blueshift’s Personalization Studio. Built using  patent-pending technology, Personalization Studio now enables marketers to directly configure and deliver various forms of Hyper-Personalized Predictive Content, based on real-time streams of user interaction events. Read the full announcement here.

If you are ready to start on your hyper-personalization journey, give us a shout at!



Customer Journey

Why Marketer-Defined Customer Journeys are No Longer Adequate

I shared my thoughts on PerformanceIN last week on why marketer-defined customer journeys are no longer adequate in the new world of perpetually connected customers.

“..with the rise of the perpetually connected customer, consumer brands are quickly finding that marketer-defined customer journeys are no longer adequate to describe the different ways that customers interact with content or search for products. In this increasingly complex environment, marketers must change the way they conceptualize a consumer’s path to purchase, and adopt a new paradigm — real-time context is king.”

Read more at PerformanceIN’s website.

Announcing the launch of Personalization Studio

Welcoming Pete Cowing to Blueshift

I am delighted to announce that Pete Cowing has joined Blueshift as our VP of Sales. Pete brings a wealth of experience from the marketing technology domain, with previous sales leadership positions at Marketo & IBM. With his deep knowledge of the space, Pete has become a trusted advisor to marketers looking for next generation solutions that drive delightful customer experiences and strong RoI.

So why did Pete join Blueshift? In his own words, “Blueshift has set itself apart by focusing deeply on the needs of B2C marketers, and the personalized experience that today’s consumer demands. I’m excited to be joining a company that is setting the standard for personalization and automation in marketing.”

Read more here.