DMA promotes commitment to consumer choice
In an effort to reassure the American public that Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) member companies will honour consumer choices about the receipt of direct mail solicitations, the DMA has published what it calls 'Commitment to Consumer Choice' (CCC) guidelines that apply to all members using direct mail to advertise.
According to Steven K. Berry, the DMA's executive vice president of government affairs and corporate responsibility, the CCC reflects the DMA's belief that the direct marketing community must meet the needs of consumers by giving them choices over privacy, volume of mail, and environmental issues.
New direct mail guidelines The CCC guidelines, which have been put into immediate effect, require that DMA members that use mail to communicate with consumers should comply with the following:
- Honour consumer requests to modify or eliminate mail The CCC programme requires DMA members to provide existing and prospective customers and donors - in every commercial solicitation - an opportunity to modify the receipt of future mail solicitations. The notice may offer various options and should contain or refer directly to an option to eliminate future commercial mailings.
- Disclose the source of the consumer's name Upon request by a consumer, direct marketers must disclose the source from which they obtained any personally identifiable data about the consumer.
- Use the Mail Preference Service (MPS) Consumer marketers are required to use the DMA's Mail Preference Service name removal file every month (instead of quarterly, which has been the requirement until now). To that end, a consumer's request for in-house suppression should be honoured within 30 days - and for a period of at least three years from the date of receipt of the request.
DMA will be watching The DMA says it will implement a monitoring process for all CCC guidelines and make every effort to assist its members with compliance. The goal of DMA monitoring will be to educate and encourage compliance with the new guidelines.
"Our ultimate goal is to make mail relevant to consumers, and to give consumers more of what they want and less of what they don't want," explained Pat Kachura, DMA senior vice president for corporate responsibility. "The CCC programme strengthens our guidelines to address the various consumer, environmental, and privacy concerns that our members are hearing from their customers."
All current and future DMA members will be required to demonstrate CCC understanding and compliance by completing an orientation and training programme on its guidelines and policies.