Following the law,
following the E-mail Advertising Guidelines, and using
professional business practices in all your marketing
efforts-being honest, straight-forward, and genuine-will
ensure you are performing appropriate marketing efforts rather
than sending junk mail and spam destined for the delete box.
Etiquette maven Judith
Martin has been noted to say, "Laws come into effect, when
etiquette fails." Her point was made by the recent passage of
laws governing the use of the Internet in marketing and
Business owners, companies, and consumers understand
the value and importance of marketing as an integral component
to gain visibility and sales for a company, product, or
service. In the last few years the rapid boom of the Internet,
easy access to broadcast e-mail, and other new technologies in
global telecommunications has become an all-too tempting
advertising medium. Low-cost use became abuse. Representative
Heather Wilson (R-NM) stated it well when she said,
"Today, it's a nightmare that threatens to overwhelm
people's legitimate use of the Internet . all the technologies
and filters have failed to keep our in-boxes free of
Most companies want to properly use the Internet,
telephone, and fax as legitimate methods for their sales and
marketing strategy. People have wondered, however, what is
proper and within etiquette? How do we weed out the good, bad,
and ugly in unwanted solicitations?
At a convention in Orlando, Florida, in October 2003,
the three leading advertising trade groups-the Direct
Marketing Association, The American Association of Advertising
Agencies, and The National Advertisers-agreed to the following
guidelines for use of e-mail.
line of an e-mail must be honest and not
should include a valid return e-mail address and
physical address. Firms should also use their company
or brand names in their domain address, and throughout
should identify the sender and the subject at the
commercial e-mail should provide customers with a
clear electronic option to opt out. And it must be
easy to use.
with multiple affiliates should offer notice and
opt-out for each separate brand, or those that the
consumer is likely to perceive.
should not acquire e-mail addresses surreptitiously
through robots, spiders, and other automated
mechanisms without the consumer's consent. Marketers
are also prohibited from using the dictionary attacks
or other mechanisms for fabrication e-mail addresses
without providing notice and choice.
requests must be honored in a reliable and prompt way.
"Remove means remove," the groups said.
lists should not be shared with third parties unless
consumers have been given notice and choice. That
restriction includes other brands and subsidiaries
within the same parent company.
commercial e-mail should contain the sender's privacy
policy-in the body of the message or via a
Guidelines Become Law
guidelines were then incorporated into Public Law No. 108-197,
the S.877 CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling
the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act),
as signed into law by President Bush in December 2003, and
effective on January 1, 2004. This Act and all its
associated bills are all part of the national effort to stop
the proliferation of unwanted e-mails. As reported in the
cover story of the January 27, 2004 issue of
DMNews-the Online Newspaper of Record for Director
Marketers-Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is on record
predicting, "Two years from now, spam will be
solved." Believe me, this is one prediction the world
hopes is right. For a Summary, Bill Text, and Current Status
of this Act, see http://www.spamlaws.com/federal/108s877.html.
Other national services are in place to help both
businesses and consumers comply with the guidelines for
telemarketing by telephone and fax too.
To eliminate unwanted telephone marketing
calls: With your active e-mail address, take a few
minutes to get yourself on the National Do Not Call Registry,
online at http://donotcall.gov. For consumers without
an e-mail address, you may call toll-free to 888-382-1222 (TTY
866-290-4236). Other information and questions may be found
through the Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau, at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/tcpa.html
or toll-free at 888-225-5322 (TTY 888-835-5322).
To view basic facts about
telemarketing: a State of California site at http://www.dca.ca.gov/r_r/telemarket.htm,
offers information on how to be a good telemarketer and to
know as a consumer how the law is on your side. The site
provides information on how to get off and stay off marketing
lists; how-to protect yourself from being spammed; and how to
know if you are being potentially ripped off by credit card,
international investment, and lottery scams.
With this knowledge in hand, you may want to take time
to adjust your marketing messages and clean-up your database
by doing the following:
items contained in the E-mail Advertising Guidelines
and in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 to verify you are in
full compliance with the information you tell and send
consumers. Make the necessary adjustments to your web
site, e-mail broadcasts, fax announcements, and
telephone scripts to properly identify your business
and to allow the receiver the choice to be removed
from your contact list.
- Consider contacting your clients and customers,
by sending an e-mail, fax, or postcard informing them
you are updating your database and want their
permission to continue receiving your
information. Then be sure to provide easy steps
on how they can opt-out, if desired.
- When placing cold calls and other telemarketing
calls, identify yourself at the onset of the call and
how you got their name and contact information.
For example: "I received your information
because of your membership in the San Francisco
Chamber of Commerce."
- Establish a system to keep track of individuals
and companies who specifically request to be placed on
a "Do Not Call" list-and do not call them
- Be professional in the manner in which you
address and speak to people. When you don't know
someone, business protocol states a proper greeting is
not to address the person by their first name.
Instead, use primarily "Mr. or Ms Smith" until you are
invited to call that person by their first name.
Mrs. should only be used when you are sure a woman is
married... often a tell-tale sign the caller is a
- Be prepared with additional marketing and sales
literature you can send potential buyers upon request,
via e-mail, fax, or postal mail. This is simply good
customer service. By denying this option, the
company and person gives the impression of being
sneaky and illusive in their approach and
unwillingness to send additional information. For me,
a reluctance to send written information is a definite
indication of an unprofessional, perhaps shady and
lazy, uninterested company.
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