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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Marketers Need To Know About Consent Management

Savvy marketers are keenly aware of the need to effectively manage opt-out requests.

Now, there is a new challenge to consider — consent management. This type of permission-based marketing goes beyond merely opt-in, especially as it is used in certain industries such as healthcare.

“Consent management” in healthcare generally refers to allowing patients to determine what healthcare information they are willing to let their various healthcare providers, including doctors and hospitals, access. Consent management lets consumers affirm their willingness to participate in electronic health initiatives.

In addition to indicating who has access to a patient’s protected health information (PHI), consent management may also be used to determine for what purposes or under what conditions the PHI may be accessed. PHI is generally defined as any information that links a person with their health condition and includes such identifiers as name, phone number, email address, Social Security number, and more.

Organizations may now need to write their privacy policies so that the issue of consent management is clearly defined.

However, any industry that needs to manage a consumer’s choice to share information such as with its affiliates is involved in consent management to some degree. In fact, marketing consent management will be critical with the recent Federal Communications Commission amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act regarding prior express written consent. This new regulation requires that a company obtain prior express written consent from a consumer before using an automated dialing system to deliver any type of advertisement or telemarketing call — including prerecorded messages and text messages — to a mobile device.

Even companies who have previously marketed to their customers’ mobile devices using implied consent (such as responding to an inquiry submitted from a web site form) must now obtain prior express written consent. Any solicitation prerecorded messages to be delivered to any residential phone line will also require prior express written consent.

These new prior express written consent standards could severely impact your ability to reach consumers who have given up their landlines and rely solely on mobile devices.

So, how do you solve these very complex marketing challenges? Where do consent management, opt-in marketing and preference management come together?

You should begin by understanding the concept of preference management and how it can be used to collect and manage opt-ins. By implementing a preference management solution, you can begin to tackle many of the consent management and privacy issues associated with honoring a consumer’s preferences. Of course, you need a persistent preference center so that consumers can easily update or change their preferences such as the preferred communication method or “opt-down” instead of opting out.

More importantly, as you implement a preference management solution, you need to utilize technology that was built with consumer regulatory compliance and privacy management in mind.

This article just begins to touch on the many issues that make consent management and preference management a challenge for marketers. Look for more information in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, share your thoughts on this topic!

About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

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