Data Security

4 Opt-In Data Pointers
March 19, 2008

“Companies with solid brands and value propositions have nothing to fear from opt-in strategies.” This statement—almost a challenge, even—comes from the recently released 14 Step Checklist for Implementing Breakthrough Multichannel and Opt-In Marketing, a whitepaper from Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, a CRM and direct marketing consultancy in Douglas Manor, N.Y. In the report, the consultancy makes the case for implementing an opt-in approach to multichannel communication with prospects and customers to improve response. The result of such meaningful dialogue is a database populated with self-profile data that the marketer can use to develop more accurate messages and offers, delivered via the most welcome channel.

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
March 1, 2008

Have you noticed that consumer notices are suddenly sexy? It may well be a reasonably inescapable conclusion given the amount of guidance marketers received at the end of 2007 and will continue to receive in 2008. The fact is the Direct Marketing Association issued its Commitment to Consumer Choice program, with a new notice provision for each solicitation. Further, the Internet Advertising Bureau is working on its own best practices document for disclosures. Even the Federal Trade Commission held a town hall meeting on behavioral advertising, focusing much of the discussion on notice to consumers. That’s an awful lot of attention for something that

How's Your Data Doing?
January 1, 2008

In November, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its first research on identity theft since 2003. It reported that 8.3 million adult Americans, or 3.7 percent of the population, were victims of this crime in 2005. Four years ago, the agency reported that 10 million Americans, or 4.6 percent, fell prey in 2001. At first blush, the numbers represent a drop in identity thefts in the U.S., but the FTC says the difference is not statistically significant. It also notes that usually this crime was perpetrated by people the victims knew personally. Still, 5 percent (1.5 million) said the theft was the result of

Editor’s Notes: Game On
December 1, 2007

Tongues were wagging at DMA07 in October, following Direct Marketing Association (DMA) President and CEO John A. Greco, Jr.’s announcement of the organization’s new Commitment to Consumer Choice (CCC) program. The program also could be referred to as “Consumers Compel Competition.” After all, steps that restrict a company’s ability to communicate marketing offers directly to consumers pretty much require that company to up its game on other levels to avoid a falloff in revenues. But as the DMA knows, marketers don’t have much of an alternative. Fifteen states proposed state do-not-mail registries or other limitations on direct mail in 2007, a 375 percent increase over

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
October 1, 2007

Right now, 38 states have consumer notification laws for data breaches. In addition, a handful of bills are making their way through Capitol Hill on the same topic. Taken together, these laws and proposals have myriad combinations and permutations of what is considered a security incident, when to notify, how to notify and where to send notification. Generally, notifications can be made using a combination of online and offline methods, which may include e-mail, postal mail, Web site notice, call center and media. For national marketers, the answer may be to encrypt data as a way to prevent exposure to the varying state and forthcoming national

Editor’s Notes: All Data is not Equal
September 1, 2007

Like all mediums, direct mail is evolving to better fit the consumer’s expectations. The evolution to more customized mailings has been a long time in the making, but online media have hastened the process by providing marketers with additional insights into their customers’ behaviors and possibly by showing up their offline counterparts. Whatever the reason—and advancements in technology, for sure, have played a big role—it’s welcomed progress. Unless, however, marketers get so bogged down with the logistics that they forget to properly plan their data strategy. As many direct marketing experts have admonished—including the former editor of this magazine—just because you have data on a

Keep Your Data Secure — For You AND Your Customers
August 21, 2007

Eric Holmen, president of SmartReply, is troubled by the amount of data for voice and mobile technology being managed in non-secure facilities, or even overseas, where data security requirements are compromised and not under the oversight of U.S. federal laws. According to Holmen, “Any time a company gives even the smallest amount of customer data to a third party, they need to cover the basics.” 1. Keep it close to home. Make sure your customer data never leaves U.S. soil and never touches a server outside of the country; no foreign transit of data or removal of data out of U.S. federal jurisdiction. Data can

Editor’s Notes: We’ve Got Engagement
July 1, 2007

This past weekend, I spent 15 minutes on the phone with my bank waiting to tell the first available representative that I lost my ATM card. My lengthy delay was kicked off by the announcement that Wachovia had been ranked No. 1 in overall satisfaction compared to other top financial institutions. Needless to say, my hopes were raised for a speedy fix to my problem, but instead I paced agitatedly from one side of the living room to the other. In truth, however, I have to admit that I was losing my patience after just five minutes of wait time, even though I called during

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
July 1, 2007

The April release of the president’s Identity Theft Task Force’s report, “Combating Identity Theft: A Strategic Plan,” offers a convenient reason to revisit the subject of protecting customer data. The report contains a comprehensive overview of existing laws that relate to the protection of customer data, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) and its attendant Safeguards Rule, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The report also discusses the data breach notification laws that currently have been enacted by 38 states. Instead of this patchwork of state laws, the task force’s report recommends the passage of pre-emptive federal

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
May 1, 2007

A spate of do-not-mail bills has been introduced in state legislatures in the past few months. While these are attempts to capitalize on the extremely popular Do-Not-Call Registry, nationally maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the sponsors of these new bills also claim the prevention of identity theft and environmental concerns as motivations. At the time of this writing, two bills already had been pulled or withdrawn by their sponsors (Colorado HB 1303 and Montana HB 718) in the wake of concerted opposition from groups such as the U.S. Postal Service, Letter Carriers’ associations and the Direct Marketing Association. In withdrawing their bills, the