Okay, it’s August and kids are going back to school, we are in the late-summer phase of ignoring the real work world. But this is the perfect time to get re-acquainted with DMA’s self-regulation, no? I think so—as soon as you come back to work and start learning of all the new intricate plans regulators are putting into place, you are going to miss self-regulation. Why? The only way we can succeed is to have you understand, from a practical business sense, that the more members we can convince to “do the right thing,” the less regulators will be bothering you like the last of the summer mosquitos and costing you time, money and effort.
Ok, you say, but why should I care? I am part of huge company with layers of lawyers—I can call on anyone and get them off my back, no? No. You can’t do this by yourself. Self-interest is not self-regulation. You may be one amazing company and doing all the right things. You may have every possible online privacy disclosure and process and an OBA icon baked in every possible OBA ad not to mention an incredible list hygiene process that puts others to shame. But if others in the marketing neighborhood are letting their lawns dry up, or have falling down houses—the entire neighborhood will be in decline and that means a large scale restriction on marketing—read—your business revenue lines—is much more likely. You may be the best of the best—but we need you to participate in our self-regulatory efforts and encourage others in the marketing supply chain to join the DMA. Only a large scale marketing organization can properly “do the right thing” based on current marketing best practices, and the more marketers do this, the better the marketing community we will operate in.
So, what should you do?
-Encourage membership in the DMA and display the DMA member logo. This means that you are agreeing to abide by the DMA’s code of ethics. The more members, the stronger we will be to fend off bad legislation. Ask those you are working with what they are doing to be in compliance with DMA’s requirements. Send them to Sarah Beerbower to get membership information!
-Periodically review and ensure you comply with the DMA member guidelines (code of ethics) which cover all marketing channels—not just mail, but online, mobile, social, etc. Guidelines/
-Use the www.DMAchoice files—this includes suppression files for deceased & caretakers. Proper use of the suppression files builds consumer trust and prevents harmful do-not-mail legislation. For online marketers, ensure you are participating in the DAA self-regulation, see www.aboutads.info
-If you are using data from the EU or Switzerland, sign up for the DMA’s International Safe Harbor to ensure you are in compliance http://www.dmaresponsibility.org/SafeHarbor/businesses.shtml
-Send us examples of bad marketing and your questions on best practices—email to Ethics@the-dma.org We are on stand-by to help you!

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