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Companies still sending “opt out” emails could soon end up paying big time

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A proposed amendment to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, once passed, will effectively change the way companies communicate with their clients and prospective clients permanently. In this video Deloitte Risk Advisory Technology and Privacy legal specialist Daniella Kafouris, discusses the proposed amendments to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act with Polity’s Shannon de Ryhove.

While this amendment covers a number of forms of electronic communication, I want to talk specifically around email communication, how this will affect companies that use email as one of their marketing channels, and what they can do to prepare themselves for the future changes in legislation. Here are my 5 suggestions to ease the pain of legislative changes.

1.     Get your existing clients to opt in now

Once passed the Act states that you are permitted to send email communication to subscribers who have “opted-in” first. Currently, companies are permitted to send an email to a person until they “Unsubscribe” and then communication must cease. Even though you may have thousands of loyal subscribers who are receiving your emails right now, you will have to get them to “opt-in” anyhow. I advise companies to communicate this to their current subscribers and provide a link to an “opt-in” page.

2.     Start focussing on good content

This is most probably a good time to start developing a good content marketing strategy for your organisation. If your website is dated, spend some time updating it. If you do not have a blog, create one and start publishing good articles on a regular basis. Make sure you have subscriber links on your website and blog.

3.     Get your SEO right

For those not familiar with the acronym, I am talking about Search Engine Optimisation. If you are publishing original content regularly, you need to ensure that people find it when conducting online searches. Remember that this was what the Internet was developed for in the first place all those years ago ie a good source of original content for Internet users to use.

4.     Ramp up your social networking activities pronto!

I can see the social media rubbing their hands together in glee when they hear about these proposed amendments. For one, it is going to reduce the online noise and spamming significantly and it strengthens the case for a proper social media strategy to be put in place as soon as possible! If your company already has a prominent presence on the social web and you are connecting and interacting with your target market, and your online community are having discussions around your content and brand, you do not have anything to worry about.

5.     Do not give up on your email channel

I have been using email as one of my channels for many years now and it is very effective if used properly. I have many subscribers that are senior managers and executives in leading companies that will gladly receive an email from me, however the content must be value-adding, and communication must be short and get to the point quickly and not too frequent.

Do you have anything to add to this? I welcome you feedback

How will proposed amendments to Electronic Communications and Transactions Act affect you?

(CLICK on the image above to watch the video)

Deloitte Risk Advisory: Technology and Privacy legal specialist Daniella Kafouris, discusses the proposed amendments to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act with Polity’s Shannon de Ryhove.

The Protection of Personal Information Bill is a South African version of Data Privacy legislation that all organisations will need to comply with once promulgated. Understanding what this means for organisations and individuals alike is essential.

With a global view on data privacy becoming more stringent, it is necessary to create awareness of this legislation and for organisations to have a deeper understanding of the true cost of non-compliance with data privacy, which includes the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

You can contact Daniella Kafouris directly at dkafouris@deloitte.co.za to discuss the proposed amendments in more detail.

More information relating to risk management may be found on the Deloitte Risk Advisory website. Deloitte Risk Advisory offers clients an end-to-end solution for all their risk management needs. This includes the identification and prioritisation of enterprise-wide risks, assessment of an organisation’s risk capabilities, and the development of tools, processes and organisational structures needed to build a robust and sustainable risk management programme.

 

Direct marketers must comply with consumer protection legislation or face the consequences

by Candice Holland of Deloitte Legal

South Africa has seen the promulgation of numerous pieces of consumer protection legislation which imposes a number of compliance obligations on business, and there is more to come.  The Consumer Protection Act has been the most recent piece of such legislation, with the Protection of Personal Information Bill in the pipeline.

With the Consumer Protection Act, we have seen an aggressive regulator who has tackled business head on, wanting swift compliance and the issuing of consent orders where she deems necessary.  The result we have seen is businesses trying to find the balance with becoming compliant with the legislation to protect their brand and the reasonable cost of implementing such compliance measures.

With respect to the Protection of Information Bill, the measures applicable to the gathering processing, retention and destruction of information is set to be revolutionised. In addition, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act will be touched by the looming enactment of the Protection of Personal Information Bill.  The Protection of Personal Information Bill is raising interesting challenges for business on how it will impact the way in which business should be done, particularly with respect to direct marketing.

The debate as to whether or not the Protection of Personal Information Bill will, in its final form, require all persons to opt in for direct marketing or whether an opt out system will be sufficient still rages.  Interestingly enough, all three pieces of legislation, the Consumer Protection Act, the Protection of Personal Information Bill and the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act all touch on direct marketing, this will surely become one of the most hotly debated areas of business in the near future.

All three these pieces of legislation will be further unpacked at a workshop which Deloitte is hosting on 2 November 2011 at the Deloitte Auditorium, 20 The Woodlands Office Park, Woodmead, Sandton from 07h30 to 12h15. The workshop will focus on the key CPA pending questions with our views on the interpretations, covering:

  • Case studies and recommendations on resolution
  • Consent notices issued
  • The often controversial lessons and experiences to date, and an analysis of the cases before the Commissioner

Deloitte specialists will explore the probable impacts of PPI upon current ECT regulations, as well as the impact and business implementation of PPI both locally and globally, ensuring maximum benefits for an organisation.

Delegate Rates

1 to 2 Delegates – R1750 (excl VAT) per delegate
3 or more Delegates – R1500 (excl VAT) per delegate

Click here to register

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