Data Security

Legislative Round-Up
October 1, 2006

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This statement seems especially true when it comes to federal privacy and data breach laws. Last year, proposals for a federal data breach law appeared dead, with a number of similar bills failing to receive support. Then, at the end of 2005, Microsoft reversed its position and declared it now supported federal legislation. After some controversy over a proposed House bill in March, however, things quieted down again, with the Microsoft-backed bill lost somewhere in the shuffle. Now, it seems we’re back where we were nine months ago—with proposals for national laws gaining traction. In

Privacy: What Do You Prefer?
October 1, 2006

When you go to Starbucks, you order a half-caf latte, skim milk, extra foam. The man behind you asks for a cappuccino with soy milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The woman behind him? Coffee, black. Starbucks can handle all these preferences—and even better, once you start becoming a regular customer, the baristas will know what you want before you reach the counter, and will be able to suggest that a new blueberry scone would go great with that latte. As such, Starbucks and other customer-minded companies have trained consumers to expect vendors’ offerings to be customized to their wants and needs. That’s where

Spam Filters Take a Back Seat to Complaints
September 20, 2006

If you’re concerned about how many of your e-mails end up in your customers’ inboxes, make sure you’re not focusing on the lesser of the delivery evils. Spam filters are not as big a deal for direct marketers as their spam complaint rates, says Reggie Brady, president of Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions, a direct and e-mail marketing consultancy in Norwalk, Conn. While filters definitely can pose a challenge to getting e-mails in front of customers, Brady advises companies to watch their complaint rate “like a hawk,” since a high rate can get your IP address blacklisted. To get a handle on your complaint rate, sign

The New Vanguard
September 9, 2006

Every industry has its luminaries—pioneers whose names become synonymous with the techniques or products they developed. Ed Burnett, Ralph Lane Polk II, Richard Benson, John Caples, Leon L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Jeff Bezos and, of course, Lester Wunderman come to mind. But not every trailblazer operates in the white-hot spotlight. Many conduct brilliant work day after day for their companies in relative anonymity. That is, until Target Marketing decided to nose around and find those professionals who are setting new standards for direct marketing performance. With the help of our Editorial Advisory Board and other key industry figures, we’ve selected eight exceptional direct marketers who

List Buying Guide: Be a Good Data Steward
August 1, 2006

A number of high-profile data security breaches in recent years have been a strong reminder that responsible handling of data goes beyond compliance with existing laws. Data stewardship, says Ben Isaacson, privacy and compliance leader at information solutions firm Experian, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., is more than just what you put on paper in your contracts and privacy policy. “It’s really how a company sets up a process by which it can manage data—and most of the time, what we’re talking about is personally identifiable information.” Data security and privacy issues can be broken into three main areas: data procurement, data usage and

Eye on Privacy: Third Parties and the Question of Agency
July 1, 2006

It’s becoming more common for marketers to contract with a number of third parties to send their marketing e-mails, display their online ads or make consumers aware of their products. Marketing channels can be vast and, for all but the largest companies, hard to navigate. In fact, it’s often much easier to contract out to affiliates—and trust they’ll get the job done right. Unfortunately, when the law gets into the mix, you don’t always have that privilege. In recent months, e-mailmarketers in both New York and California have been sued by regulators over their use of e-mail addresses. In both cases, the marketers hadn’t collected

Eye on Privacy: Would Paying for E-mail Decrease Spam?
May 1, 2006

We’re all pretty used to paying for postage, whether sending a postcard to an old friend or getting the new catalog out to our best customers. In the e-mail channel, though, things have been a bit different. E-mail is a zero-postage zone—for both a quick note to a colleague or an e-mail offer to your entire housefile. That is, until now. In January, AOL announced it was phasing out its reputation-based “enhanced” whitelist and moving toward using third-party certification provided by Goodmail, which would cost e-mail marketers a “fraction of a cent” for every e-mail sent to AOL subscribers. This announcement generated immediate controversy as

Privacy Mistakes to Avoid
October 1, 2004

From customer databases to e-mail, privacy rules keep changing. Direct marketers must stay on guard every step of the way. emember the good old days when privacy in marketing meant taking consumers off mailing lists? What a quaint memory from the not-so-distant past! Over the last decade, managing the privacy issue has become excruciatingly complex. Hundreds of discrete subject areas have commanded the attention of data managers and made advising on privacy both a lucrative career—and a major career hazard. Every day, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Department of Ethics and Consumer Affairs receives calls from marketers worried they are going to make

Editor’s Notes: The Doctors Are In
September 1, 2004

I had the privilege of attending the Fourth Annual Privacy Forum this past July, held by Donnelley Marketing and infoUSA in glorious Aspen, Colo. It doesn’t get much better than a meeting of the brightest direct marketing minds surrounded by incredible mountain vistas. The majority of attendees spent most of Friday day and Saturday morning inside at sessions, which speaks volumes about the caliber of ideas shared at this event. This gathering of industry leaders included the “marketing doctors”: Martha Rogers, Ph.D., of Rogers & Peppers Group; Paul Wang, Ph.D., of Northwestern University; and Tom Peters, Ph.D., coauthor of “In Search of Excellence.”

Spam in B-to-B
July 1, 2004

As the lines between business and consumer transactions continue to blur, B-to-B marketers need to start thinking about spam legislation. Going forward, "there will be little differentiation between how we market to consumers and businesses, here and abroad, and between channels," says Matt Leonard, customer information and EDGE policy and privacy, IBM. Leonard spells out how he sees the B-to-B e-mail and online marketing environment changing, and offers some practices companies should engage in now. When thinking about your customers, says Leonard, remember that: They may be more technically savvy than you. There will be hell to pay for boilerplate trickery on the