Responsible marketing

The gauntlet has well and truly been laid down for the direct marketing industry. Consumers, the media and the government have made it very clear that if marketers want to continue to promote their wares via direct channels then they have to do it responsibly - or not at all. 

This week in a double blow to the direct industry it was revealed that TPS now has 22 million registrants - an average of 3,000 sign ups a day or 1.2 million per year. At this rate by 2018 every landline will be registered, effectively putting an end to outbound telemarketing. 

And a new survey suggests that the proposed FPS could garner as many as 30 million names as a result of the damage done by the over targeting of donors and the vulnerable, meaning a universe of just 34 per cent of the population will be left made up primarily of people that traditionally don't donate. 

As an industry we have talked a good game about responsible marketing but due to the high response rates and favourable ROI a blind eye has often been turned to the amount of mistargeted mail sent or calls made. Direct channels remain some of the most efficient and cost effective ways to target customers and prospects but for this to continue it is crucial that the blind eye is opened. 

But it's not all doom and gloom - as our latest research shows consumers are actually more positive about direct mail than they have been in the previous few years and this is because of better targeting, more engaging creative and more relevant offers and pertinent content. 

It is an exciting time to work in direct marketing since we have more information about customers and prospects than ever before and can forge strong relationships with them as a result. But get this wrong and they won't stand for it. Responsible marketing is crucial not just for the continued success of the industry but for the continuation of it full stop.