Four of the five “priority areas” for the FTC this year will focus on data-driven marketers.  According to an Advertising Age article, the FTC  priorities include the transparency of marketing information service providers (the FTC calls them “data brokers”), data security, mobile app tracking by retailers and data sharing across country borders.

DMA is working intently to educate the FTC commissioners and staff about the value of data-driven marketing to our economy, the need to protect innovation and our $156 billion industry and the success of nearly five decades of self-regulation based on marketer commitment to the DMA Ethical Business Guidelines which set the standard for our industry and form the public trust with consumers.  We are also working with policy makers in Washington D.C. and Brussels on maintaining the effective Safe Harbor program for sharing consumer data between America and Europe.

What those priority areas don’t include are things that consumers are actually concerned about.   Identity theft is the number one consumer complaint according to the FTC— and there is nothing on the FTC list demonstrating consumer concern about interest-based advertising or the consumer choices provided by marketers and DMA.    Real consumer concerns track with the complaints that DMA handles as part of our Ethical Guidelines enforcement (our annual report is located here.)

Here’s what you can do to help DMA protect our society’s beloved data-driven lifestyle and make our industry stronger:

  1. Review the DMA Ethical Guidelines and make sure that your implementation to these standards is above any question – be transparent and clear in all communications with consumers, and respect their preferences for content and channels.  Tell DMA what you are doing and we can feature your best practices with other marketers.
  2. Share the Consumer Help Services from DMA with your consumer audiences.    Let them know to exercise their choice when it comes to marketing offers.  Most consumers, once educated, choose relevant advertising over generic advertising.
  3. Take data stewardship seriously, and train your team in data governance and privacy.
  4. Understand the DMA advocacy agenda, based on the Five Fundamentals for the Future.  Get active in DMA legislative coalitions and help us set the record straight about the value of our industry to consumers and the economy.



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