All year long, DMA handles consumer and industry complaints as part of our public trust and commitment to responsible data-driven marketing.   We just released our 2013 Annual Compliance Report. The report shows how seriously DMA takes its role encouraging and enforcing responsible data-driven marketing practices — both for DMA members and the marketing community at large.

We know that the vast majority of marketers are responsible data stewards and follow best practices in all their dealings with consumers – and we are always working to spread the good word to policymakers, consumers, and the media.  Thank you for all you do in this regard.  But when companies are found to be out of compliance — whether they are DMA members or not — these bad actors are reported,  suspended from DMA membership, and referred to the appropriate authorities.

How do we do this?

First of all, we make it clear to DMA members that they must adhere to our Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice in order to stay in good standing.  We make sure that they know that DMA’s mission is to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing. In addition, throughout the year DMA’s Ethics Operating Committee reviews organizations and their marketing practices based on DMA’s Guidelines.

Fortunately, we have found that once informed and educated, many companies are willing to change their behavior – and the majority come into compliance after being contacted. From February 2012 through June 2013, the Committee reviewed 55 cases.  Fourteen companies failed to correct their behavior.  These non-compliant companies are listed at

DMA recognizes that self-regulation is the best way to address consumer issues, and to avoid overly restrictive federal legislation – and we know that earning and maintaining consumer confidence is essential to that aim.  So many data-driven marketers are doing a truly great  job upholding the highest ethical standards – and finding at the same time that it drives success for their businesses.

So, while we’re serious about enforcing ethical practices and reporting bad actors – let’s applaud all the great marketers and businesses out there who are doing it right!

Please let us know how YOU practice and celebrate responsible data-driven marketing in your business.