With these new lists, there will be no less than six different marketing preference services operating in the UK.
Topic: Direct marketing
Who: The Direct Marketing Association
Where: The UK
When: February 2002
The Direct Marketing Association announced significant progress in two separate initiatives to create new preference lists for those who do not wish to receive certain types of marketing approach. The first is in the area of door-to-door distribution of un-addressed marketing materials such as directories, free product samples, flyers about local retail services and free newspapers. Since 1999 a self-regulatory "opt out" door to door scheme has been operated by the DMA, but distribution companies are only bound to honour the system if they are DMA members, and consumers who wish to register their desire not to receive door to door material have to contact each distribution company individually. Now, the plan is to introduce a more centralised and robust service called the "Door to Door Preference Service" or " DPS". This will still be self-regulatory but it will allow individuals who do not wish to receive this sort of material to register with a single, central list and non DMA members as well as DMA members will be able to make use of this system by checking their distribution lists against the central database and removing recipients who have said that do not wish to receive deliveries. It is hoped that the scheme will be up and running by the spring of 2002.
In a separate initiative, the DMA has been consulting widely to see if a "Baby MPS" would receive support and be workable. The idea is to produce a central suppression file of those who do not wish to receive " nursery mailings". These might be parents who have suffered tragedies such as a cot death or still-born child, but who have by that stage found their way on to many lists of those wishing to promote baby/nursery orientated products. Having been approached by a couple who had experienced anguish on receiving continuing mailings of this kind following the still-birth of their twins, the DMA has taken up the cause with gusto and hopes to launch the "Baby Preference" scheme in the spring of 2002.
Why this matters:
At present in the UK there are four preference service schemes for use by direct marketers. Two of these, the telephone preference service and the fax preference service are statutory, whilst the e-mail preference service and the mailing preference service are self-regulatory. For the moment the Door to Door and Baby Preference schemes will also be self regulatory, and clearly it is hoped that by launching these initiatives, the UK will avoid the US experience. American marketers which has seen the increasing introduction of statutory, federal preference service systems from sector to sector, including financial services, mailings regarding prize promotions and, most recently, a national statutory " do not call" list for telemarketers.
The trick for marketers is to keep track of these multifarious schemes and have systems in place to ensure they are used.