Marketers mustn’t risk alienating consumers by misuse of mail and telemarketing practices, warns DMA

By Jessica Davies | News Editor

February 17, 2014 | 2 min read

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has warned businesses not to risk alienating consumers by misusing marketing mail and telemarketing practices.

The trade body has cited “losing consumer trust” as the biggest business risk of using data unscreened against ‘do not contact’ lists such as the Mailing (MPS) and Telephone Preference Services (TPS).

Its warning follows the Advertising Standard Authority’s (ASA) ruling last month, against adult products retailer Life ‘n’ Love for breaching its CAP Code by sending marketing mail to people registered with the MPS, alongside the recent publishing of the DM Commission’s annual report which revealed the majority of its investigations in 2013 were regarding consumer complaints about companies making nuisance calls.

DMA’s executive director Chris Combemale said that the potential loss of customers should focus businesses’ attention on ensuring they do not contact people on opt-out registers.

“Consumer trust is essential to effective one-to-one communication, but this is all too easily jeopardised by not making the simple check to see if someone wants to be contacted or not.

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“Watchdogs like the ASA and DMC have a vital role in holding businesses to account for wrongdoing, and over the past year we’ve seen the ICO starting to issue fines to companies for nuisance calls and spam texts.

“But the biggest risk businesses face is from losing consumer trust, which means losing potential customers and potential revenue. This should be incentive enough for businesses to check their consumer data against the MPS and TPS.”

More than 5.5 million names and addresses are registered with the MPS, and nearly 20 million private landline and mobile numbers on the TPS, according to the DMA. It is a legal requirement for telemarketers to screen their contact data against the TPS. Companies can access the MPS and TPS registers by applying for a licence.

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