Alan Rosenspan's "Improve Your Response"
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Privacy. Its the 600-pound gorilla of direct marketing. And its beginning to rumble
According to Robert Weintzen, President of the Direct Marketing Association, there are over 1500 Privacy initiatives that will be considered by federal and state governments in January.
Many have already been passed on a state or local level.
Because of this, the New England Direct Marketing Association recently held a Town Meeting on the Privacy issue. We considered the subject to be so important the meeting was free and open to all.
Attorney David Bertoni gave a presentation called "Privacy. Navigating Treacherous Waters." Mr. Bertonis firm handles several large direct marketing companies and he is a legal advisor to the DMA.
Most of his presentation was focused on the Internet, but the principles apply to virtually every kind of customer communication.
How are companies getting into trouble?
According to Mr. Bertoni, there are three areas that are causing the most concern for direct marketers.
1. Privacy Policies.
2. The use of "surveillance" techniques such as web bugs and cookies.
3. Unsolicited commercial e-mails or "spam."
Privacy Policies are the one that I would like to focus on.
What kind of information is considered confidential?
Medical records, social security numbers, credit card information, e-mail addresses. These are all the traditional ones, but today I believe people consider everything to be confidential.
By the way, we recommend to all our clients that they shift from a BRC (Business Reply Card) to a BRE (Business Reply Envelope.) This usually increases response.
But there are two things you need to consider.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking at these things very, very carefully these days. Theyve doubled the number of people working on privacy matters in the past 12 months. And the avalanche of lawsuits has already started.
Its worse for direct marketers outside the States. Canada just passed their National Privacy Law, which is being phased in over time. And the European Economic Union has some amazingly tough privacy laws and guidelines.
What can you do?
Stay on top of this issue or its going to smack you in the head.
Ive listed a few websites below that you might want to visit on a regular basis.
The FTC website: www.ftc.gov
General Privacy Resources:
Canadian Privacy Laws
Contact the Direct Marketing Association or visit their website www.the-dma.org to get a copy of these two booklets.
1.Do The Right Thing. A Guide from the DMA Ethics & Consumer Affairs Department.
2.Privacy Promise. Member Compliance Guide.
If you cant get them from the DMA let me know, and Ill try to help.
Finally, Mr. Bertoni recommends you hire an outside firm to conduct an official "Privacy Audit" that examines what you do, where you do it (different states have different laws) and how to protect your company.
You can contact him or receive more information by visiting www.directmarketinglaw.com
So, Im at a meeting of the New England Direct Marketing Association, and a guy I dont know hands me his business card.
I smile, ready to exchange it for one of mine, and wait a minute his card was laminated!
The card belonged to Michael J. Reilly, a freelance copywriter who laminates his business cards. It only costs about 4 cents a card (or less) but it makes a lasting impression.
With his permission I immediately stole the idea, and have been using it every since.
Business cards are the most popular form of advertising and direct marketing in the world -- but also the most under-utilized.
Everyone has one, but almost every one looks exactly alike.
What does yours say about you? And how can you make it stand out? I have an article about business cards that provides a number of creative and practical ideas. Id be happy to send you it to you if you e-mail me at Arosenspan@aol.com.
Remember our popular Creativity Contest in issue # 9?
How about the valuable lessons of "DM in a Downturn" and the fascinating story of the Poor King in issue #7? Or the Worlds Most Delicious Offer in Issue #5?
Just a reminder: You can access all our back-issues on our website at www.alanrosenspan.com
Id like to share something with you. You may not know this about me, but I was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma 25 years ago this Fall.
Since that time, Ive married and become the father of two (almost grown) children. Ive traveled to 36 countries on business and vacation. I earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate at one of the toughest dojos in the world. Ive worked as a volunteer at Sloan Kettering hospital in New York.
I have so very much to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for? Id love to hear from you the best answer wins a free copy of "Confessions of a Control Freak."
Forward and Backward, and a Few Additional Words about Privacy
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© Alan Rosenspan & Associates