Being responsible, involves everyone in marketing…

When I was approached by the DMA to become a member of the newly formed responsible marketing committee, I thought about it for all of about 5 seconds and said ‘Yes’.  To be part of a committee dedicated to creating a sustainable future for the industry by promoting responsible marketing was music to my ears. As an experienced B2B marketing professional with many years’ international experience, responsible marketing has always been one of my guiding principles.

In a time of such rapid change for the marketing industry and given that I work closely with educating marketing students both via the DMA and IDM, I feel that we have a duty to ensure that all professional marketers both experienced and newly qualified act responsibility in every aspect of their roles in marketing. We can drive this initiative via continued awareness and education.

The Responsible Marketing Committee is tasked with identifying both the risks and opportunities, in an ever-changing sector landscape and to providing thought leadership and direction to marketers. Marketing, like any industry, has many different skillsets and specialties but it is up to the DMA and this committee to ensure that we spread the word, reinforce and educate all marketing professionals about the importance of being responsible. As with any industry, it is the actions of the minority that can tarnish and affect the majority which is never desirable or fair.

One of the key responsibilities of our new committee is to provide guidance to DMA and IDM members on how to act responsibly and to act within and also promote The DMA Code. This sets out the four key principles of responsible marketing: respect privacy, be honest and fair, be diligent with data, and take responsibility.

So what do these point actually mean and how can we practise them in our everyday working lives?

  • Respect privacy – One of the strongest elements of the Data Protection Act is the requirement for every business to actively communicate a privacy notice, stating that they will collect information fairly and transparently. This can be achieved by publishing a clear and easy to access privacy policy.
  • Be honest and fair – Reputation is earnt over a long period of time but a reputation can be tarnished quickly when a business or individual in that business does not conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  • Be diligent with data – It’s pretty easy to ask the right questions about the age and source of data you are provided with, the age and ensure that if asked by anyone inside or outside the organisation that you can clarify the source and the date that the data was collected and updated. This is probably the most important subject within the code that marketers need to keep in the top of their mind and ensure that your business complies. The scrutiny and questions about data will only continue to intensify and if you or your business cannot answer those questions then the penalties are going to be harsh and justified.
  • Take responsibility – I believe that this is the simplest point to adhere to as it should just be part of your everyday role as a marketing professional. We should all be responsible in our roles to ensure our personal and professional reputation is exemplary.

As the marketing communications landscape continues to change the importance of responsible marketing cannot be over emphasised. Be smart, be honest and be responsible.

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