DMA Privacy Policy: Customers in Question

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Ken Magill's piece on the DMA membership compliance policy draft ("DMA Mails Privacy Draft to Members; Debate Begins," April 20) underlines the importance of protecting consumer privacy in today's information age. As a member of the DMA Board of Directors, I can attest to the importance this issue is assigned by almost all DMA members.

There is, however, an inaccuracy in the distinction between "customers" and "consumers" in the article that needs to be corrected. The DMA draft policy does stipulate that marketers not rent, share or exchange with other marketers the names and addresses of customers who have requested "opt-out" and they should honor that request for at least five years. Obviously, marketers can contact their own customers at any time, unless a customer specifically asks not to be contacted again.

The DMA draft policy stipulates that marketers must use the DMA Mail Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service name-removal files when marketing to prospects who are customers. There is absolutely no expectation by the DMA Board, and it would be counterproductive to both consumers and businesses if marketers were to use the files to suppress marketing offers to their own customers.

DMA president and CEO H. Robert Wientzen is correct when he says there is no reason why we should not be able to achieve 100-percent buy-in among existing DMA members. The board is confident that any new issues brought to the forefront by members can be addressed in a manner that minimizes cost and maximizes opportunity. After all, the objective of this draft policy is to ensure direct marketing freedom and growth in the next century.

Patricia G. Campbell


DMA Board of Directors

New York

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