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DMA Offers Guidance on Responsible Use of Marketing Lists
Washington, DC, May 23, 2007 – Advances in data collection and transmission during the past 20 years have revolutionized the marketing community, making it possible for businesses and nonprofit organizations to use data in a way that helps them get relevant messages to the consumers most likely to be interested in what they have to offer.
The success of this “information economy” is built on consumer trust. And when consumer trust is shaken, the entire industry feels the impact. DMA today reminded its members to follow its guidance regarding the use of marketing data, underscoring that this is even more important when dealing with vulnerable groups or sensitive data.
The DMA has long championed the responsible use of marketing data for legitimate business purposes. Adherence to DMA guidelines is a requirement for membership in the organization.
“Whether sent by mail, phone, e-mail or any other channel, the marketer is responsible for the messages it sends out. However, there are supporting companies that take part in the creation of a promotion including list owners, brokers, managers and compilers,” said Patricia Kachura, DMA’s Senior Vice President for Ethics and Consumer Affairs. “Any time you partner with another company – whether it is to share lists or to create and disseminate an advertisement – the actions of your partner can reflect on you as well.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes the position that list providers do share some responsibility for how their data will be used. The Commission indicated list providers who know or “consciously avoid knowing” that the lists they provide will be used to perpetuate fraud could share some responsibility for any fraud that results from the use of their data.
In October 2004, DMA met with FTC officials to clarify the scope of the FTC’s position. The FTC indicated it would be prepared to hold those who rent lists responsible for:
· Knowingly collaborating in an illegal offer.
· Misrepresentations or violations that are easily recognized in a sample script or promotion.
· Not acting on information they become aware of about a particular offer or marketer.
· Consciously avoiding knowledge about a legal violation.
To help companies ensure that their information is being used responsibly by third parties, DMA recommends that anyone who sells or rents marketing lists should:
· Have a written agreement outlining the purpose and scope of the list’s use.
· Ask for and obtain a copy of the script, e-mail or print promotion and keep it on file.
· Monitor or decoy list usage to make sure that the list is used only for its appropriate purpose.
Further recommendations for members on appropriate list usage can be found at http://www.the-dma.org/cgi/disppressrelease?article=603. A complete copy of DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business practice is available at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/EthicsGuidelines.pdf.
DMA has information available to help caregivers of seniors who may be participating in sweepstakes or making other purchases that are not in their own best interest. This advice was developed after consultation with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and is available at www.the-dma.org/sweepstakescaregivers. Services such as the Federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov) and DMA’s Mail Preference Service (www.the-dma.org) can also help seniors and caregivers manage communications from legitimate marketers.
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The Direct Marketing Association () is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents more than 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 50 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $166.5 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated $1.93 trillion in incremental sales. Last year, direct marketing accounted for 10.3 percent of total US GDP. Also, there are today 1.7 million direct marketing employees in the US alone. Their collective sales efforts directly support 8.8 million other jobs. That accounts for 10.5 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.