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DMA in DC Day One Roundup - Policy Issues Affecting Data-Driven Marketers More Crucial than Ever
New York, NY, March 13, 2013 — The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) DMA in DC 2013 conference kicked off yesterday with a full lineup of stellar presentations and keynotes from experts on policy affecting data-driven marketers and fundraisers.
The morning began with opening remarks by DMA President and CEO Linda A Woolley. “Responsible marketing practices benefit both consumers and the economy, as our lives become increasingly data-driven,” Woolley said. “Never before in my time in government affairs have I seen so much attention on the issues that affect data-driven marketers.”
Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill expressed a note of unity in her keynote, saying that the FTC and industry shared the same aim. In a nod to the fact that the keynote address fell on her birthday, Brill said, “The gift I would like from all of you tonight is to accept that we share a common goal — a vibrant and innovative online and mobile marketplace fueled by the responsible use of consumer data. And, that we are all committed to working as hard as it takes to get there.”
Brill further acknowledged that the FTC and industry share the common goal of putting an end to irresponsible and deceptive practices: "While I believe that many of you collecting and using this data are doing so responsibly, we all know that consumers are starting to worry. That’s because they now have a better understanding that their every click, purchase, movement, and interest is being recorded and passed on by their mobile devices." [...] "We are going after the players that treat sensitive data sloppily; that collect information from children without their parent’s consent; or that engage in deceptive or unfair practices regarding the extent to which they are tracking consumers. These sorts of companies are engaging in violations of privacy that we can all agree are bad for consumers and bad for business."
Brill went on to outline the FTC’s new Dot Com Disclosure Guidance, which was announced earlier in the day. "The main principles of the revised dot com disclosures guidance issued today will not surprise anyone, because they are no different than the principles that underlie our efforts to protect consumer privacy — and market integrity and viability — in the mobile space. Consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in traditional media apply equally online, including in the mobile environment. That means that when information is needed to prevent a claim from being deceptive or unfair, the advertiser should, when practical, incorporate relevant limitations and qualifying information into the underlying claim, rather than having a separate disclosure."
· Washington and Beyond: Perspectives from DMA’s Government Affairs Team. DMA’s Government Affairs team discussed the regulatory threats facing marketers and fundraisers today — and outlined the many privacy, data access, and reform issues that DMA tracks, monitors, and builds coalitions around. Key among these was the FTC’s expansive definition of the term “data broker.” “More and more, government is considering every data-driven marketer and fundraiser to be a ‘data broker’ — the definition of which includes anyone who collects, uses, aggregates, takes in, or shares data with any third party,” said Rachel Nyswander Thomas, DMA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “If you do any of those things, you may be a ‘data broker’ in the eyes of legislators and regulators.”
· The Costs of Fundraising: Building Donor Trust. Erika Fry Kloehn, Associate Vice President, Fundraising Support, Save the Children Federation, noted that the media is feeding into a distrust of charities by giving too much power to the watchdogs, and allowing them to set the tone and dialogue. “Chart your impact," she advised. “Illustrate how your dollars make a difference.” Tom Harrison, CEO, Russ Reid, pointed out that nonprofits must be willing to engage in public relations. “You may be a great fundraiser, but it doesn't mean you know how to speak to the media. You must learn.”
· Marketing in the Spotlight: Where Are Regulation and Enforcement Headed?” Suzanne Garwood, Partner, Venable LLP; Charles Harwood, Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC; and Stephen Sharfman, General Counsel, Postal Regulatory Commission, provided an overview of their respective agencies, focusing on the issues specifically concerning marketers. Harwood noted that the BCP has often emphasized that privacy needs to be considered from the beginning and not as an afterthought. Sharfman pointed out that the PRC's role is to provide transparency and supervision of the USPS.
· The Data-Driven Way of Life: Threats and Solutions. Led by Tony Hadley, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Experian, this panel addressed the various perspectives on how marketing data, used for marketing purposes, has an impact to our data driven way of life.
“Privacy and data security are very important — free markets work. Please don’t underestimate the importance of information gathering to the Congressional process,” said Josh Lynch, Technology Legislative Assistant, Office of Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “Government rushing in to set regulation can have a negative impact if we don’t work with industry to learn about issues and the practical uses of technology and innovation. We take a humble approach. We’ve learned that people are hiring in this industry, we don’t want to stop that.”
“In some ways, we’ve been victims of our own success — consumers and donors have loved what our industry provides and haven’t asked us to explain how it all works on the back end,” said Rachel Nyswander Thomas, Vice President of Government Affairs, DMA. “Congress is now paying attention to us. This is an opportunity to educate about how our industry works, the great things it provides to consumers and the economy, and the important work you all do to ensure that you are acting as responsible stewards of consumer data. Transparency is what we do at DMA. The Data Driven Marketing Institute is all about creating this transparency. The time has passed to NOT communicate our responsible practices.
· Does ‘Do Not Track’ Still Matter? A spirited panel — led by Saira Nayak, Director of Policy for TRUSTe — tackled the “Do Not Track” issue, which is heating up in Washington and around the globe. In some ways, the term “Do Not Track” has been appropriated to represent many issues beyond the original consumer choice intent.
“Do Not Track still matters, and it is crucial that we come up with an agreed way to make it very clear the conditions under which we would all honor a Do Not Track signal when consumers choose to be anonymous,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technology, Center for Democracy and Technology.
Stu Ingis, Esq., Counsel, Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) and Partner, Venable, LL,P noted that DMA and industry has had a “Do Not Track” standard for years in its guidelines. “In addition,” he said, “more than a year ago, we launched the Digital Adverting Alliance (DAA) to give consumers notice and choice about how their data is used in advertising. I think we’ve solved the problem, and the current legislative push is just a solution in search of a problem. The DAA icon may be the most prominent real estate on the Internet.”
· Federal Threats to Nonprofit Fundraising: From Postal to Tax ‘Reform.’ Nonprofit fundraisers find themselves challenged on multiple fronts — including the federal fiscal crisis, USPS fiscal crisis, and challenges to the charitable deduction. The effects of sequestration will begin to rear its head in mid-April. Cuts will not discriminate and will range from the TSA to the parks. The American public will feel these cuts immediately. As the “fiscal cliff" approaches, minimizing or eliminating deductions could very well appear as part of a last minute deal. For that reason, Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food for the Poor, noted that the relative calm between the parties could be worse for us than partisan rancor and open hostilities. It allows for costly compromises.
Aloma cited that the reduction of the charitable deduction from 35 percent to 28 percent would result in a 5.6 billion deficit for the nonprofit sector. He urged attendees to "separate theatre from reality." “It is your missions that will suffer if the deduction is reduced or eliminated. It's a matter of life and death."
· Take DMAAction: How to Be Your Own Best Advocate. Panelists JoAnne Dunn, President and CEO of Alliant and DMA Board Member; and Gretchen Littlefield, President of Infogroup Nonprofit and DMA Nonprofit Federation Government Affairs Chair, gave the corporate and nonprofit views of lobbying and engagement in public policy. Dunn explained that her involvement with DMA began when she was taken by surprise by an unexpected regulatory change — and decided she never wanted it to happen again. She noted that the more companies partner with DMA, the farther we can move the issues in a positive direction. Littlefield pointed out that government officials on the Hill might not intuitively understand the issues facing marketers and fundraisers. Therefore, she said, we need to do a better job educating staff about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
[To view the full roster of presenters for each session, click here.]
About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing. Founded in 1917, DMA represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques.
In 2012, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales. In 2012, direct marketing accounted for 8.7 percent of total US gross domestic product and produces1.3 million direct marketing employees in the US. Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million US jobs.
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