Data Security

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy
March 1, 2007

When the Democrats gained control of the House and the Senate, there was speculation about what they might do by way of privacy legislation. On Jan. 5, they introduced HR 1, the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.” Although not a privacy bill per se, HR 1 indicates the Democrats’ focus leans more toward restraining government intrusion in intelligence gathering than on marketers’ collection and use of information about their customers. Sprinkled throughout the bill, however, are references to the “private sector” and the recognition that private sector organizations “possess valuable information that when ‘fused’ with law enforcement data and properly analyzed

E-commerce Link: Sign Me Up!
January 1, 2007

An e-mail house list is the centerpiece of any e-mail communications plan. At first blush, the process of building this list may seem fairly straightforward; but, when it comes to constructing a responsive list, quality counts more than quantity. By incorporating permission-based practices into your e-mail collection process, you can build a list that generates sales. Establish strong permission practices and use opt-in. In today’s e-mail climate, good permission practices are an imperative. And, good permission equates to opt-in marketing. Like telemarketing, e-mail is a personal medium. With the advent of the Do-Not-Call Registry, a significant portion of the public clearly indicated it doesn’t want phone

Respect Privacy to Add Profitability
November 1, 2006

Corporate marketing and privacy departments often find themselves at odds, according to a new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and information management research firm based in Elk Rapids, Mich. This despite solid evidence that privacy-conscious marketing strategies engender brand trust and are highly favored by consumers. Mike Spinney, the Ponemon Institute’s communications director, says that marketers may not be aware of how strongly consumers associate brand perception with trust and privacy issues. “Everyone, I think, understands the importance of customer goodwill,” says Spinney, “but in marketing departments, the chief privacy officer, or CPO, is still referred to as the customer prevention officer. Everyone

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