List Roundtable What can list professionals do now to prevent
1. Assure all current laws, rules and regulations are followed. Read a current copy of the DMA's Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice and make sure your company scrupulously complies.
2. Anyone with knowledge of another marketer's misstep must report such infractions to authorities. Any marketer who violates the DMA's guidelines must be reported to the DMA. This internal housekeeping goes a long way toward increasing respect.
3. Respect the consumer. Consumers deserve to be informed about how and when information is collected about them, how it is used and whether or not it is shared, and provided an opportunity to opt-out. If you respect the consumer, you will not resort to surreptitious data collection, non-existent disclosures, or disclosures that are hard to find, read and execute. Make it easy for consumers to contact you.
4. Only collect consumer information that you need, and don't use the information for any other purpose without proper notice and permission. Keep what you must under tight security. If personal data are especially sensitive in nature, determine appropriate ways to tighten security even further if you must have these data to conduct business.
David Schwartz, president, 21st Century Marketing
There is absolutely nothing that list companies can do to prevent future legislation of the list industry. However, list companies can work together to mitigate the outcome of such legislation. The best way to do this is through the DMA, which has strong representation and visibility in Washington, D.C.. Individual list companies, data providers and data service organizations (with the exception of the few largest) lack the resources to successfully lobby legislators and other bureaucrats.
I'm not advocating that list companies should take a laissez-faire approach to the threat of new legislation—quite the opposite! List professionals need to get engaged. We need to start learning about the issues and contributing our input and our dollars to bolster the lobbying efforts. We may not be able to stop legislation, but we can play a role in shaping it. Legislators have a lot of misconceptions about what we do and how we do it. We need to educate them. In addition, the DMA needs us to clarify and focus its efforts to best protect our overall discipline. Direct marketing is an easy target … particularly when fueled by privacy issues, the Internet and the pervasive and sometimes invasive nature of telemarketing. We need to create more good "buzz" about what we do.