Home  › Email › Email Marketing

Like Weather in New England: New Rules of Digital Communications

  |  June 22, 2011   |  Comments

Focusing on permission, disclosure, and choice will get you close to a silver bullet to achieving full compliance. Part one in a two-part series.

There's no denying that 2011 has brought us some of the wildest weather on record for many regions in the U.S., and we're only half way through the year with hurricane season just getting started. But I'm from New England, where "weather prediction" is a laughable oxymoron, much to the chagrin of our meteorologists, so we're accustomed to just going with the flow. Mark Twain captured this sentiment best when he said, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes."

The same can be said for the rules and regulations of digital communications - like the weather in New England, change is the only constant, so how can marketers keep up, stay on the right side of the law, and make sure their marketing messages get delivered. Unfortunately, shrugging your shoulders in resignation and just going with the flow, like how many New Englanders handle the weather, won't cut it. You have to constantly stay abreast of the new rules and regulations of digital communications, not only for the U.S, but across the globe.

Permission, Disclosure, and Choice - Close to a Silver Bullet

The good news is that there's a fairly straightforward and common sense approach to managing the complexity of the digital communications legal landscape: put yourself in your customer's shoes. Like you, most consumers welcome timely, relevant marketing messages they've opted in to receiving from their favorite brands. Anything short of that is at best perceived as a nuisance and in many cases considered spam. Achieving a high degree of marketing relevance will put you well on the road to ensuring compliance with even the most stringent of digital marketing regulations from any region across the globe. Getting there means taking a close look at your marketing practices for permission, disclosure, and choice.

In the case of permission, make sure you take a clear and transparent opt-in approach for all of your marketing channels, including email, SMS, text, social marketing, and tracking. You must also ensure that any and all third-party marketing partners and affiliates follow these same across-the-board opt-in policies.

You also need transparent disclosure when gathering consumer data for your opt-in marketing programs. Make sure consumers clearly understand the following:

  • What information is being collected
  • How the information will be used
  • How and with whom the information will be shared

Finally, give consumers control by empowering them to make their own choices about the use and collection of their personal profile information. Marketers can also provide consumers with tools to access, view, and correct inaccurate profile data. You should always give them the option to delete some aspects of their profile or to opt out at any time by deleting their profile altogether.

Are these approaches the silver bullet to achieving full compliance? Unfortunately, the rules, regulations, and legislative initiatives are changing all of the time, not only in the U.S., but in every region and in many different countries, so there is no silver bullet. But, sticking to strict opt-in and transparency will put you on the white hat side of best practices digital marketing nearly 100 percent of the time. The rest of it is keeping up with the fine print. In my next column, I will take a closer look at each region and some of the specific regulations in progress, first starting with the U.S. and followed by Canada, the European Union (EU), and Asia Pacific (APAC).

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Buck

Rick Buck is vice president of privacy and ISP relations, CIPP at e-Dialog, a provider of advanced e-mail and multichannel marketing solutions. Rick works with clients, ISPs, and privacy organizations to promote best practices around responsible marketing. He is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association where he sits on the Ethics Operating committee and previously served as the Ethics Policy committee chair. Rick is also a board member of the E-mail Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC). Prior to his current role Rick served as vice president, business lists and data for Harte Hanks.

Rick is an accomplished speaker and author on such topics as e-mail deliverability, privacy, and CAN-SPAM compliance. Rick has over 20 years of experience in privacy, acquisition strategy, database management, and Internet marketing. He joined e-Dialog in 2000.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...
    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...