UK DMA Starts TPS Awareness Effort

The Direct Marketing Association (UK) Ltd's Telephone Preference Service division begins a national education and awareness campaign next week to coincide with the release of research into the small and midsize business market.

Though 71 percent of small businesses using consumer telemarketing knew of requirements to screen telephone numbers against the TPS register, a majority did not know how to use the TPS and were unaware of products and services to help them comply with the law.

TPS is a free registration service for consumers who do not want to receive marketing by telephone. The Direct Marketing Association UK administers it.

“Compliance with the TPS is generally very high, but we were concerned to see from our independent research that it is small businesses who seemed not to know how to make use of the TPS,” said Tessa Kelly, head of the Telephone Preference Service at the DMA UK. “There are now many screening services available to small companies, provided by the TPS directly or by the many TPS subscribers.”

The TPS division will place articles and information leaflets in targeted magazines and newspapers and through trading standards offices and business link offices across the United Kingdom. The information will give practical advice with details about effective telemarketing practices, the legal obligations businesses face and the penalties for breach of the regulations.

The DMA will promote three services tailored to small business: TPS Online Interrogation Service, which allows access to up to 500 telephone numbers via the TPS Web site for a minimum monthly fee of 50 pounds; TPS Callgard, a call-barring service; and TPS Telepath, which lets small businesses check numbers via an automated telephone service.

According to the research, 44 percent of small businesses use telephone marketing: Of those, 46 percent call other businesses, 34 percent call consumers and 20 percent reach both markets.

The research also found that the top three benefits identified with telephone marketing were the ability to get a more targeted, immediate response; better interactivity with customers; and closure of sales/deals. The disadvantages were its intrusiveness, inexperienced callers and the apparent use of scripts.

The research was conducted by Brainjuicer, a Cambridge-based research company.

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