The Law on Leads: Responsible Engagement with the Lead Generation Sector
Kate Wellington, Senior Lawyer, Which?
In today’s marketplace, businesses must continually look for innovative ways to attract new customers in order to thrive. Technological advances have presented new opportunities for reaching individual consumers, but the first hurdle is finding the right individuals to target. A discrete industry, specialising in lead generation, has grown up to help businesses meet this need. The regulation of marketing activity has arguably been slow to respond, but in the past year new guidance around the sale and purchase of marketing leads has been issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), along with the publication of an updated and heavily amended DMA Code. Enforcement activity in this area has also intensified, increasing the reputational and legal risks of using purchased marketing leads without proper oversight and management of the process. This paper considers the regulatory landscape around lead generation from the marketer’s perspective. It assesses the recent guidance in the context of the underlying legislation (particularly the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003). It seeks to identify factors that businesses should consider when using purchased marketing leads, to help minimise risk and ensure
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