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Mystified marketers given new guidelines for customer consent

26th May 2014
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Marketers looking to The Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) guidelines for help with the rules surrounding customer consent are finding themselves none the wiser. The 44-page document which outlines the regulations has been described as ‘confusing’, with some businesses raising concerns about the ambiguous wording.

The ICO is an independent organisation which upholds and enforces the UK’s Data Protection Act (DPA) and Privacy & Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), both of which have a substantial effect on one-to-one marketing practices. It therefore published its Guidance on Direct Marketing for organisations in September 2013, with the intention of ending any uncertainty in the marketing industry about how some parts of the DPA and PECR should be interpreted. Instead, however, the complex guide has thrown many marketers and left them concerned about whether already common-place practices are, in fact, even sanctioned.

In response to the subsequential sea of blank-faced marketing professionals, the DMA has carefully reviewed the current regulations and discussed them at length with the ICO in order to issue its newly clarified guidelines. The DMA has set out 10 key concerns for marketers regarding customer consent, and explains how organisations should interpret the ICO's rules surrounding consent time limits, third party consent and revalidating consent after making changes to the business.

The DMA’s director of external affairs, Mike Lordan, commented on the new guidelines. “Many companies have found the rules confusing, in spite of the ICO’s Guidance,” he notes. “Our guidelines are essential for any brand marketers to understand how the ICO interprets and enforces the laws governing how they collect and use consumer data for one-to-one marketing.

“Above all, it shows that being transparent and always putting the interests of the consumer first is the basis of building trust and encouraging them to share their information.”


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