Now that GDPR has us firmly gripped, what better time to brush up on the legalities of Marketing and Advertising -- to avoid being handpicked by the long arm of the law…
Get It Right
The description of your product(s)/service(s)/message(s) must be accurate, i.e. legal, decent, truthful, honest, and socially responsible (not promoting unsafe or anti-social behaviour).
Do not be misleading. You must be able to prove what you say, which includes the actual cost, including any ongoing or associated costs -- taxes (VAT) and subscription fees, for example.
Certain product sectors -- food, alcohol, beauty products, environmentally friendly products, medicines and tobacco -- have specific requirements.
Beware Data Bandits
You must protect all personal data that you gather, store and use from customers/ potential customers, keeping it secure, accurate and up to date
This also applies to information on staff and account holders, e.g. recruiting staff, managing staff records, marketing your products and/or services, using CCTV -- to include keeping addresses on file, recording working hours and giving delivery information to a delivery company.
When collecting personal data you must reveal who you are and how their information will be used, including whether it will be shared with other organisations.
You must also make them aware of their right to see the information you hold about them -- to correct it if inaccurate; to delete it; to specify that it is not used for certain purposes.
It also helps if your website is SSL Certified -- Google-stamped approval that your website users’ confidential information is safe and secure.
Full details about GDPR here.
Advertising Codes of Practice
Two advertising codes of practice govern how your business should advertise. They cover a variety of promotional communications, depending where the advertisement or promotion will appear.
The CAP non-broadcast code covers non-broadcast activities (e.g. print, online), sales promotion and direct marketing (e.g. telesales and email). This code specifies standards for accuracy and honesty that your business must adhere to, including specific conditions, such as advertising to children, causing offence and political advertising.
When it comes to TV and radio, you must follow the CAP broadcast code to cover issues such as taste, decency and product placement. Besides setting standards about accuracy and honesty that you must follow, they also have rules about matters such as scheduling.
General Broadcasting Rules
You also must adhere to broadcast codes about taste, decency, product placement etc that apply to the whole of broadcasting.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the body that ensures the rules are enforced. If your advertisement breaks the rules it may be withdrawn. If the product does not match its description, or your advertisement breaks the law, you could be prosecuted.
Whether you advertise to consumers or businesses, what you can and cannot do is governed by The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, two advertising codes of practice, and The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.
Break the regulations and you could be reported to a local Trading Standards office. Penalties are severe -- you could be fined, prosecuted or imprisoned.
When it comes to direct marketing, you cannot target people by phone, email, fax, or snail mail.
You must check to see if customers want to be contacted in any way and give them the opportunity to object. You have to be able to prove this process, too.
You also have to get their permission if you want to send offers or promotions, or if you want to share their details with other organisations.
In light of this, you must make it easy for them to opt out -- by supplying an unsubscribe link or asking them to send a STOP text to a short number.
Telesales & Fax Marketing
You must introduce yourself when making telesales calls. You must also give your name and telephone number if asked, which has to be a freephone number.
Unless you have attained their permission, you are not allowed to send marketing faxes to people -- but you can send unsolicited faxes to companies.
You must also be able to prove that you are not contacting anyone who does not want to be contacted.
The Telephone Preference Service and Fax Preference Service will guide you through this. minefield.
It is illegal to phone/fax someone registered with these services if you do not have their permission. You can be fined up to £500K for each unsolicited call.
Once again, you must get permission before making automated calls with pre-recorded phone messages.
Your mailing lists must not include anyone who has asked not to receive direct mailing, Check first using the Email Preference Service.
Email Marketing & Text Messages
Only send marketing emails to people who have given you the thumbs up.
The communications must clearly indicate who you are, that you are selling something, and what the promotions are, and any conditions.
If you buy or rent a mailing list, ask the supplier if you have the right to use it for email marketing.
Every marketing email you send must give its recipients the option to opt out/unsubscribe.
You must tell customers if you add them to a list of people who do not want to be emailed.
Full information about cookies can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office and AboutCookies.
Remember: Customers can -- and will -- complain if you misuse their confidential data. You could end up £1000s lighter in fines and/or compensations.
For squeaky clean, bandit-proof marketing and advertising, contact bandv direct: 023 8043 3348 / firstname.lastname@example.org / or click the image below...