Digital direct: Offering a guide to best practice in the digital world

Why do I need a data-hygiene policy? What information should I provide when capturing an email address and how do I know which email lists are OK to rent?

These are just a few issues addressed by the DMA's recent Best Practice Guidelines, developed in collaboration with many of the UK's leading proponents of the email-marketing industry, including the Information Commission, LINX and DMA members.

The Guidelines aim to help marketers use this highly effective medium to achieve best practice by: stimulating the positive development of email as an effective marketing medium; reinforcing the key legislative issues of which clients should be aware; sharing examples and practical advice on how clients can maximise results and providing practical advice on complying with working practices and standards in the internet industry. The Guidelines can be downloaded from the DMA's web site (www.dma.org.uk).

We hope to help raise standards in the industry and combat spam. The Guidelines began in 2001 in the form of the Email Marketing Association (eMMA) Charter. The charter was used successfully to lobby the EU during the formulation of the recently adopted Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The following year, eMMA merged with the DMA and the work was continued by the Email Marketing Council (EMC) within an active working hub.

In future, it is hard to believe electronic communication will not form a critical role between firms and their stakeholders. It's my hope that these Guidelines will provide a framework to help the UK industry grow in the most responsible way.

Justin Anderson is a director of the DMA and chairman of the EMC Best Practice Hub. He is also MD of Frontwire.

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