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Direct Marketing » Trends, Best Practice | 10.10.2014

Beyond compliance: new guidelines for direct marketing


The UK’s Direct Marketing Association has unveiled a new code of best practice, which will be “central to the industry’s efforts to address customer concerns”.


At the launch in August, DMA chief executive Chris Combemale said that the new code would help to change the industry’s mindset.

“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.”

The “hero principle” is “put your customers first”, while the other core building blocks it highlights as necessary for effective direct mail are: respect privacy; be honest and fair; be diligent with data; and take responsibility for your work.

The DMA developed the Code after an 18-month consultation process with industry stakeholders, including practitioners and government regulators.

Putting this in an international context, the DMA in the US also states: “Do not just what is legal, but what is right” – and has issued guidelines for ethical business practice.  

In Europe, the newly elected leaders at FEDMA (the Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing Associations), warned that consumer data protection and privacy were now firmly in the spotlight – both for the public and for legislators.  Co-chair Dr Sachiko Scheuing, European privacy officer at Axciom and long-standing vice-president of FEDMA’s legal affairs committee, spoke of the importance of “understanding how to build consumer trust so as to thrive in Europe’s booming data economy”.

The DMA Code and related guides are available via the DMA's website.