Updated Code for direct marketing

18 Aug 2014
A new Direct Marketing Association (DMA) code of conduct came into effect on 18 August 2014, aimed at improving standards of direct marketing and addressing certain regulatory concerns regarding data protection. All DMA members are bound by the code, which applies to both online and offline direct marketing. The code applies in addition to all other legal requirements which DMA members may be subject to, such as the Data Protection Act 1998. The code is enforced by the Direct Marketing Commission.

Consumer trust is at the heart of the new code, requiring DMA members to position direct marketing as an 'exchange of value' between a business and its customers. The code sets out a so-called 'hero principle' to "put your customer first". Under this sits four facets:

  • respect privacy, including being upfront and clear about what data is being collected and how it is being used;
  • be honest, fair and transparent;
  • be diligent with data, including a requirement to treat it with care and respect;
  • take responsibility.

Although the code applies only to DMA members, it nevertheless reflects principles (e.g. privacy, honesty and diligence) that are embodied in other legislation, such as the Data Protection Act. Those principles should be reflected in good governance policies, such as email policies, for the guidance of staff and the protection of employers.

The new code can be found here.