DMA: “new marketers’ code will boost consumer trust in data sharing with businesses”

Businesses using consumers’ data to deliver personalised marketing are being urged to sign up to a new code of practice as part of an industry initiative to boost consumers’ trust in sharing information.

The voluntary code, which has been launched by trade body the DMA, covers all forms of digital and offline marketing that collect and use data. This includes email, SMS and social media, as well as advertising mail and telemarketing. In 2012, UK businesses spent £47 billion on one-to-one marketing activity.

The new DMA Code has been designed to shift businesses’ focus on only ensuring their marketing complies with the law to working to a higher set of principles based on consumers’ data privacy expectations.

Chris Combemale, executive director at the DMA, believes the new code is vital to the success of the digital economy:

“Treating the consumer with fairness and respect lies at the heart of our code and is key to fostering trust. Data fuels the digital economy, so earning consumer trust is a commercial imperative. Companies must make every effort to ensure that they always collect and use consumers’ data in ways that they expect and benefit from.

“We’ve taken a new approach to self-regulation that recognises the need to focus on principles that go above and beyond compliance with the law. It’s perfectly easy to follow all of the details of regulation and yet fail to meet the expectations of the consumer, such as how you use their data.”

Other responsibilities businesses have when marketing their goods and services are also covered by the code, such as respecting individuals’ contact preferences and scrupulous targeting practices.

More than 1,050 corporate members of the DMA, which includes the industry’s top agencies, adhere to the DMA Code as a condition of membership.

The DMA developed the code after an 18-month consultation process with industry stakeholders, including practitioners as well as government regulators Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Ministry of Justice and Department of Culture, Media and Sport also provided input.

The DMA Code comes into force on Monday 18 August and will be enforced by the industry’s independent watchdog, the DM Commission.

The Code is backed by a series of ‘guides’, which cover the specific laws covering all data-led marketing channels.

The DMA Code and guides are available via the DMA’s website: www.dma.org.uk

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