18 million potential marketing complaints

For those of us in the data industry, the latest ICO Annual Report made for an interesting read.

Headline stats revealed that the ICO received 14,268 data protection concerns over the last year and 180,188 complaints about nuisance marketing. Outweighing data protection by almost 13 to 1, poor marketing practices clearly continue to be the scourge of the industry.

Complaints about marketers were up by 11 per cent on last year and considering (according to Which?) only one per cent of consumers are aware of ICO and its remit, this could merely be the tip of the iceberg. The ICO is probably very relieved that such a small number of people know about it given that complaints could have risen to significant proportions (18 million) if it had 100 per cent awareness; that’s a rate of around 30 complaints a minute.

Fines totalling just over £0.6 million were dished out to unscrupulous telemarketers but the jury’s out as to whether these provide enough of a deterrent to prevent it from happening.

Nuisance marketing; in whatever form -  calls, texts, poorly targeted direct mail and cookies –  reflects very badly on legitimate marketing. The frustrating thing is that a few ruin it for the rest. Sadly there is no recognition for getting it right; no awards for the cleanest data, the most inoffensive SMS campaign or not mailing someone that has passed away. But the rewards should hopefully be found in the campaign’s ROI.