CEO Larry Kimmel on DMA's Response to FTC Privacy Concerns
His left knee resting against the table edge, left ankle atop the right knee and tie nowhere in sight, Direct Marketing Association CEO Larry Kimmel appeared relaxed Monday evening at the National Center for Database Marketing Conference & Exhibition (NCDM) 2010 in Miami. In contrast, his words spoke of heightened speed and activity—relating how DMA plans to spend nearly all of its effort during the coming month in providing information on behalf of its members to the Federal Trade Commission.
"Our top priority is related to privacy, at this point," Kimmel said. "So that's the concentration of our energies."
Jan. 31 is the FTC's deadline for input regarding its recommendations about protecting online privacy, which include a "Do Not Track" option for consumers.
Taking questions for 45 minutes during the event—which concentrates on how to explore customer data—Kimmel said fairness is all marketers are seeking. After all, he pointed out, nine of the 10 most trafficked websites are advertising supported. So marketing is helping give the world access to information.
"We're always trying to make sure consumer interests are well-served and there are no unfortunate unintended consequences of legislation," Kimmel said. "We think that, in the report, there's a lot we can work with. And there are some questions, as well."
On Dec. 10, Kimmel spoke with a number of DMA member companies via conference call and received their input regarding the FTC recommendations as part of DMA's effort to ensure all members read the proposal and have an opportunity to comment on it. Some opinions were already reaching his ears.
What concerns DMA the most?
"The devil's in the details," Kimmel said. "The question of alerting consumers about options at the moment of decision—what does that mean, exactly? … How you execute that and how that information's provided to consumers is important to understand, and that's not all worked out. ... We want to make sure we do what is right for consumers and, at the same time, maintain what we call the free economy."