By Donna Loyle
Undoubtedly you've seen these ads: A credit card company prominently touts "no telemarketing" as one of the benefits of having its card, and an Internet service provider states it won't sell your name and contact information to other companies.
If you're considering following suit, here's what you need to know and do before using your privacy policies in your marketing campaigns:
1. Carefully review your current privacy policies. "The grand hope of many marketers is that their customers won't really read their privacy policies," says Arthur Winston, an attorney and partner with Winston & Winston, New York, and author of an upcoming book on privacy.
"But if you make them clear and conspicuous in your marketing campaigns," he continues, "you better make sure you have sound policies and that your employees adhere to them strictly."
Pat Faley, vice president of ethics and consumer affairs at The Direct Marketing Association, suggests that you first carefully develop policies about how your company will treat and share customer data. Numerous resources can help. Also, privacy consultants and lawyers who specialize in privacy-related issues can help you devise sound policies that fit your corporate mission and comply with the various state and federal privacy laws.
Jay Winston, an attorney and partner at Winston & Winston, notes, "Marketers need to understand that their privacy policies can be viewed as implied contracts. The U.S. Justice Department has stated that if a company's set policies are in conflict with their actual practices, the company could get in a lot of trouble."