DMA Politically Direct (Spring 2008): Self-Regulation Critical to Direct Marketing s Continued Success
May 16, 2008 — Fact: Earning and maintaining consumer trust is a business imperative in today’s data-driven, multichannel marketplace.
Fact: The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is diligently working on multiple fronts — as it has been doing for decades — to address consumers’ and policymakers’ concerns and to promote corporate responsibility within the global direct marketing community.
The cornerstone of DMA’s efforts to secure consumer trust in direct marketing — including its employment of personal data and respect for the environment — is our commitment to self-regulation. Our self-regulatory initiatives — which include ethical guidelines, education, practical advice, member briefings, and a rich array of online and offline resources (see bottom) — are overseen by our Corporate Responsibility team in Washington, DC.
What Is CCC?
While DMA does indeed offer a wide array of corporate responsibility programs and resources, the focus of this article is to shine the spotlight on one program in particular: DMA’s Commitment to Consumer Choice (CCC), an initiative of the DMA Board of Directors that was unveiled in October 2007.
CCC addresses consumers’—and policymakers’—preferences and concerns pertaining to the environment and data security. It does so by highlighting and advancing best practices throughout the marketing community that will give consumers greater control over how direct marketers communicate with them via the mail.
DMA believes the program is the best way for the association and its members to address the very real threat to direct mail today, which is basically three-pronged:
· State legislators are calling for the establishment of Do Not Mail registries
· Organizations that advocate the end of commercial mail
· Consumer concerns relating to the volume and relevance of the mail they receive, ID theft, and the environmental impact of unwanted mail
DMA’s CCC reflects our strong belief that the evolving needs of consumers must be met with due diligence in order to be successful in today’s market, and that effective, responsible self-regulatory action will address the concerns that are driving the calls for Do Not Mail legislation.
What Does CCC Require?
The CCC requires DMA members that market to consumers to:
· Provide customers, donors, and prospects with notice that they may eliminate or modify their future receipt of direct mail solicitations “in every marketing offer”
· Honor consumers’ opt-out requests within 30 days, and for a period of at least three years
· Disclose, upon the consumer’s request, the source from which the marketer obtained personally identifiable data about that consumer
· Establish internal policies and practices in support of the CCC
· Update mailing lists using DMA’s Mail Preference Service (MPS) each month
The specifics of these requirements are available at www.DMACCC.org.
The CCC’s effective date was October 2007, when it was unveiled by DMA President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. at DMA07 in Chicago. However, a minimum one-year transition period was established for the implementation of the consumer notice requirement. During this time, organizations will be able to test various notices and procedures for their practicality and effectiveness. (Examples of notice language are located in the CCC “Compliance Guide” at www.DMACCC.org).
DMA advises that suppliers and other businesses that provide services to nonprofits also be familiar with all CCC requirements so that they may implement them on their clients’ behalf.
Throughout DMA’s long history, we have learned that the needs of consumers, and those of the direct marketing community, are inextricably intertwined. Only by keeping the lines of communication open can we preserve the commercial channels so vital to us all. We are confident that our CCC is helping advance this important work.
DMA Corporate Responsibility Resources
· To access information on DMA’s CCC — including FAQs, a training video, and a “Compliance Guide” — visit www.DMACCC.org. You will need your DMA user name and password to enter. If you do not know yours, please call our Member Relations team at 212.790.1500.
· To access information about DMA’s Corporate Responsibility work — including our “Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice” —visit www.the-dma.org/guidelines
· To access “Information Security — Safeguarding Personal Data in Your Care,” which DMA developed in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, visit www.the-dma.org/privacy/InfoSecData.pdf
· To access DMA SecurCompass, a members-only online tool developed in partnership with Solutionary, Inc. to help you measure compliance against our Information Security ethics guidelines, visit www.the-dma.org/cgi/member/solutionary.shtml
· To contact DMA staff regarding the CCC or other Corporate Responsibility programs, please contact us at CCC@the-dma.org or 202.861.2412.
Watch the Video; Take the Test; Be a ‘Trusted Marketer’
Do you want to be a “Trusted Marketer?” It’s easy! Just watch a nine-minute video on the CCC website and then take a test that is just 20 multiple-choice questions.
Once you pass this test, you will be eligible to use DMA’s new Trusted Marketer Seal on all your materials — a sign to consumers that your organization has taken vital steps to safeguard their privacy and mailing preferences.
Simply log on to www.DMACCC.org, and enter your DMA username and password. If you don’t know yours, please contact our Member Relations team at 212.790.1500.
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