DMA updates digital marketing code – how will it affect your business?

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has recently published a new and improved code of practice for the industry, and its 1,050 corporate members in particular.

The new DMA code outlines principles which address consumer concerns and encourage marketers to “go above and beyond compliance”. Although they aren’t necessarily all compulsory, if your business has a digital marketing team or any kind of strategy in place, it might be worth paying close attention to them regardless.

About the DMA digital marketing code

For those not in the know, the Direct Marketing Association is a UK trade body which aims to advance all forms of direct marketing. The DMA, which is based in the UK but has members all over the world, also aims to help its members to build and maintain consumer confidence, as well as advising companies on safeguards, best practice and how to honour the terms of the Data Protection Act. In general, it is the main contact point, reference and regulator for the digital and direct marketing industry.

The updated code of practice – what’s new?

The focus of the updated code of practice is best explained by DMA executive director Chris Combermale, who explained in an article in The Drum:

“We’ve taken a new approach to self-regulation that recognises the need to focus on principles that go above and beyond compliance with the law. It’s perfectly easy to follow all of the details of regulation and yet fail to meet the expectations of the customer, such as how you use their data.

“The hero principle of ‘putting your customer first’ demonstrates the evolution of our industry. Each marketer and organisation should see one-to-one marketing as an exchange of value between its business looking to prosper and its customer looking to benefit.”

The new DMA digital marketing code, which takes effect this August, has five key principles, which include:

  1. Put your customer first – this one should be obvious to any marketing team in any industry, as it encourages a deeper understanding of customer needs and offering products and services that are actually relevant to your customer
  2. Respect your customers’ privacy – this is often forgotten in a world of digital marketing and social media, but it is hugely important. You should act in accordance of your customers’ expectations and always give them the chance to ‘opt out’.
  3. Be honest, fair  and transparent – this is a good general business practice no matter what sector you work in, but it especially applies to the marketing industry
  4. Be diligent with data – if you collect and use customer data, you need to make sure to take the utmost precautions to keep it safe, and generally treat it with care and respect
  5. Take responsibility – accountability is something that is occasionally shirked within the private sector, but the DMA believes that it is hugely important for all digital and direct marketers to act responsibly at all times.

What do you think about the new DMA code – does it go far enough to make sure direct marketers act responsibly and put their customers first?