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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

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News

Information Commissioner warns political parties over data privacy 8th March, 2010

(Marketing Week 4 March 2010)

Political parties could face fines and lost votes if they do not follow data privacy rules when planning direct and digital marketing campaigns in the run up to the general election, according to the information commissioner.

Speaking at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual data protection conference today (4 March), information commissioner Christopher Graham (pictured) says political parties that breach the rules will not only damage their reputation but could be penalised financially.

Graham, a former director general of the Advertising Standards Authority, adds the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be issuing political parties and candidates guidance on the rules governing direct marketing channels such as direct mail, SMS text, emails, telemarketing and automated phone calls.

“I strongly urge the parties to adhere to the ICO guidance especially as their collective track record to date has been disappointing.

“We have taken enforcement action to uphold the law in the past and, with stronger powers available to me in just a matter of weeks, I intend to make sure that everybody stays in line,” he says.

Political parties are subject to the same data privacy rules and punitive sanctions as the marketing industry when using direct marketing to promote their parties to voters.

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Parties have and will be using direct marketing extensively, particularly in marginal constituencies, in the run up to the May poll.

Graham’s warnings follow a recent ICO ruling against the Labour Party for breaching rules on unsolicited telephone calls. Labour was ordered to stop making automated direct marketing calls without consent after almost half a million recorded messages from Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn were left encouraging people to vote.

The ICO has also taken action against the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP for invading people’s privacy in the past.

Responding to Graham’s comments, Robert Keitch, chief of membership and brand at the DMA, says political parties should learn from those companies that have received negative media coverage, lost customers and damaged their brands as a result of data privacy breaches.

“Political parties can expect the same treatment if they fail to respect data privacy rules when they promote themselves to voters through direct marketing,” he says.

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CC me? Think again.. 3rd March, 2010

The Direct Marketing Commission is always at the forefront of hearing what’s happening in the industry, good and bad.

One of the downsides of being ‘in the know’ is that whenever friends have a bad experience HP0-Y32 on the web, they tend to get in touch so when we leave the office … we don’t leave the office.

Direct marketing is growing at a huge rate because it can, and a lot of the output we see extols the power and potential of talking direct to consumers. But not all of those ‘potential customers’ either like or understand what they’re seeing and hearing.

One example. In the last few months we’ve seen small firms jumping on the email bandwagon who are making one terrible and consistent mistake.

Let me introduce you to the ‘open cc’ email.

This is the rather unexpected and unpleasant way to have your own email address publically shared with a few hundred strangers, all under the guise of a promotional mailing from a brand that, at least until a few moments ago, you probably trusted.

Sound familiar? I hope not, but it may be. And it’s becoming increasingly familiar as more and more small businesses unleash their managers onto the internet to practice what they think is digital marketing. Make no mistake: there’s nothing that turns customers against brands faster than abuses of personal data.

The managers of SMEs need to wake up to the importance of customer data, treating HP0-Y37 it with the respect and privacy it deserves. If permission is granted by consumers to use their data then it’s granted for a specific use. If permission has been given for something to be shared then that’s fine too.

But if ill -trained marketers are merrily spamming their customers in some misguided notion that this will boost sales, then they need to understand they’re putting their customers and careers in danger.

Having the tools to be a direct marketer doesn’t make you one.

Email is an intimate and precious channel. Use it wisely and respect the permissions of those who invited you to contact them.

Ask first.

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