Direct marketing is when a business uses customer (or potential customer) details to make contact and promote their product or service. We’ve all been on the receiving end of direct marketing. In my case it’s the texts from the local DVD shop letting me know of the “great 2 for 1 offer!”… before I know it, I’ve taken a detour on the way home from work to pick up a couple of new releases. Effective marketing? Definitely.
And perhaps this is why at Taylor Solicitors Cork we see an increasing number of businesses exploring their options in terms of direct electronic marketing.
Taylor Solicitors Cork reviews the legalities of direct electronic marketing for businesses.
As I said, direct marketing is a perfectly legitimate way to promote your business – provided you respect an individual’s right to privacy and comply with relevant legislation. You need to be aware of the regulations involved and keep in mind that because marketing using electronic means such as texting is more intrusive than other forms of marketing, stricter rules apply.
As a general guide, at Taylor Solicitors Cork our advice is to get the consent of an individual to use their personal data for direct marketing purposes.
Having said that, at Taylor Solicitors Cork we see this basic rule being disregarded time and time again by businesses.
At a minimum, an individual must be given a right to refuse this type of use of their personal data both when the data is initially collected and, where direct marketing is by electronic means, at every subsequent marketing message. This is what is known as the “opt-out” option. And importantly, the right to “opt-out” must be available free of charge.
The primary legislation governing electronic marketing is Regulation 13 of the Electronic Privacy Regulations. Different rules apply to marketing by phone, fax, text message and email marketing. Not surprisingly the rules relating to the marketing to individuals who are not your customers are more restrictive than those in respect of current customers.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioners provide a useful table summarising the applicable rules. “Opt-in” means you can only market an individual where you have their express consent to do so. “Opt-
From a business perspective, whether you’re starting out in business or you find your business entering the world of direct marketing you need to be clear on what is allowed. Breach of the regulations can lead to significant penalties with the onus on the business to prove that they had the relevant consents prior to sending the direct marketing message.
Taylor Solicitors Cork