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DMA Updates Its 'Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice'
May 25, 2011 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), through its Ethics Committees and its Board, today announced it has modified and updated its Guidelines for Ethical Business Practices. The Guidelines now include new provisions for social media marketers; changes reflecting the passage of new laws; and updated material addressing consumers’ recent concerns.
The Guidelines provide individuals and organizations involved in the full spectrum of direct marketing channels with generally accepted principles of conduct. “The DMA Guidelines and their enforcement are the linchpins of the DMA’s self-regulation,” said Senny Boone, DMA’s senior vice president of corporate & social responsibility. “The changes and updates more accurately reflect best practices for today’s marketing practitioner based on current law — and encompass progressive marketing — to ensure that consumer trust flourishes along with new social channel development.”
Highlights of the changes to the Guidelines include:
Guidelines include sections for social marketers to provide consumers with greater transparency, choice, and notice about the use of personally identifiable information. Social media platforms and forums are required to post privacy policies in a prominent location so that they are clear and conspicuous to users. They are required to advise users about privacy policies, data deletion policy, and steps users should follow to change their privacy settings, to delete or deactivate their accounts.
New sections have also been added regarding marketers who wish to engage with an individual user’s social network — to ensure that the marketer provides the individual and their network with appropriate notice, choice, and transparency.
The contact is where a consumer can go to modify their mailing preferences and learn more about the company’s privacy policies regarding the collection, use, and transfer of their information. This point of contact information should be a no-cost option — a website, 800 number, or address where a consumer may indicate their preferences, including stopping the receipt of solicitations. This is very important for those consumers who are seeking help from marketers for a specific concern. Such accessibility is key to best practices.
Due to concerns that some consumer information was being shared without permission in a small number of instances, the Ethics Policy Committee revised the sections to list the steps needed, regardless of channel, to ensure that the consumer is fully informed. The Article outlines requirements when the marketer makes the initial offer; which material terms and conditions should apply; providing the goods and services to the consumer; what should take place upon cancellation, and includes a section for Internet sales prohibiting the sharing of financial account numbers or billing information of the customer to a post-transaction third-party seller.
Third-party sellers must clearly and conspicuously disclose to the purchaser a description of the goods and services being offered and all material terms of the offer. The consumer must provide express informed consent (providing the complete account information to be charged, providing the consumer’s name and address and a means to contact the consumer and clicking a confirmation button or otherwise demonstrating consent to the charges.)
DMA members with questions may email email@example.com or call Senny Boone at 202.861.2498. No-cost webinars for members on the new Guidelines will be announced shortly.
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About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) 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 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 48 other nations, including nearly half of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2010, marketers – commercial and nonprofit – spent $153.3 billion on direct marketing, which accounted for 54.2% of all ad expenditures in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $1.798 trillion in incremental sales. In 2010, direct marketing accounted for 8.3% of total US gross domestic product. Also in 2010, there were 1.4 million direct marketing employees in the US. Their collective sales efforts directly supported 8.4 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.8 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.
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