Trouble is on the horizon for companies that rely on Direct Marketing practices, as a result of new regulations that are set to hit European countries in 2014. These new laws will affect direct marketing activities in which companies carry out on a daily basis and could result in many companies to fold.
New Direct Marketing Legislation
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office stated that changes to the way that direct marketing is carried out (B2C), must start immediately in order to be ready for when the regulations come into play. These new regulations include:
- when consent is provided by the customer to receive direct marketing messages then further and separate opt-in will also be required in order to send any direct messages on any available marketing channel meaning consent for sending message directly to a person’s phone for example, will become much harder.
- Companies and marketers will be required by law to obtain and keep a very detailed record of exactly when and how a customer’s consent was received. This is for the tight data collection measures coming into force.
- Records of all consent gathered must further be available for on-the-spot inspections that can be carried out by the appropriate authorities at any given time. Regulators are not taking into account the cost surely to be endured for businesses to comply with these changes.
- Marketers and/or marketing companies will not be allowed to use any type of incentive in order to get customers to opt-in for receiving information on services and products. Additionally, marketers will not be able to make statements such as, “by signing up you agree to…” and any opt-in option will be accompanied by a prominent opt-out box.
- Also, any opt-in consent by consumers will only enable third parties to keep records for a maximum six-month period, which will inevitably result in any investment for compiling commercial data assets, very uneconomical.
- If a brand owns or is part of a group of companies, each sub-company must obtain information separately; every company owned by one brand must receive the consent of customers to send direct marketing messages on an individual basis.
- All list brokers and owners must by law, comply and deal with a much higher level of evidence that consent was received in correspondence with the regulations from each and every person on the list they have in their possession
These new rules and regulations for direct marketing could pretty much be too much for some companies involved with direct marketing.
Possible Data Protection Legislation
If these new rules and regulations weren’t bad enough for companies to adhere to, further restrictive rules and regulations are threatening to come into force, including:
- If and when 5,000 or more consent records a year are processed and/or the records obtained are part of a more ‘sensitive’ nature, then the appointing of a Data Protection Officer will perhaps be required.
- Risk analysis and Privacy Impact Assessments will more than likely to become mandatory
- Companies will furthermore, be required to publish in much greater detail what the exact security measures have been enforced in order to protect customer data.
- Satisfactory levels of insurance cover will also be needed to be taken out by companies, in order to protect Data Processors due to being likely to become jointly liable if and when a breach in data protection occurs.
- Consumers will more than likely to have the right to erase their personal data from a company’s records whether third party or not, which will make copying consumer lists much harder for companies and marketers.
The EU legislators have been lobbied against by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in regards to the new legislation laws threatening companies involved in direct marketing practices. The DMA have demonstrated their concerns over the possible new, further legislation who claim that the EU legislators and the Information Commissioner’s Office are completely ignorant of the steep costs that these changes will incur in order to comply. Jobs and businesses will very much be at risk due to these potential changes.