By Keith Trivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Some big mobile marketing changes are about to go into effect. Starting Oct. 16, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin enforcing a stricter set of rules surrounding marketing calls and texts to consumers’ mobile phones. Marketers will be required to obtain written consent from consumers before signing them up for any mobile marketing campaigns.
Retailers and brands that do not collect written approval risk being named in class-action lawsuits arguing they aren’t in compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA.
The TCPA law went into effect in 1992 in order to monitor telemarketing practices. The law was amended in 2009 to broaden restrictions governing mobile marketing, including text messages. This infographic from Effective Student Marketing helps break down the law’s multiple provisions.
With the recent revision, the FCC now specifically outlines that prior, signed written agreement is required from the consumer to receive telemarketing calls and texts. Consent may be obtained in person via customer signature or electronically. Options like clicking a box or a customer signature count as consent.
As mobile continues to grow, it’s important stay on top of changing trends and regulations to best market to mobile users. Internet Retailer magazine outlines the proper ways for marketers to adjust to the stricter rules:
- Don’t call or text consumers for initial written consent. Consumers must send the first text or make the first call to indicate their consent. Sending a text or calling a consumer outright (even if they electronically sign to consent) is viewed as unsolicited communication and would violate the new rules. Advertising a number for consumers to text to receive promotions/sales updates is compliant because the customer would be initiating the communication.
- Before Oct. 16, send a consent request to consumers that have already opted in to your text message services. Require they respond to consent. Moving forward, these consumers will clearly have consented to your campaigns and will continue to receive your text messages.
- Always include an opt-out option. Every single text message you send should clearly advise consumers how they can opt-out of the text message service at any time.
- Make sure the consumer is the one providing consent. No one besides the consumer you are looking to market to can consent for them. It must be their doing, their signature, etc.
These rules could benefit marketers by providing more clarity for consumer consent, which makes it easier for businesses to confirm they are legally compliant vs. the past definition of consumer consent. Even if you are not currently engaged in text message marketing, recognize that mobile is here to stay and further regulations and restrictions are likely forthcoming.
Don’t get caught up in the hype. Make sure your mobile campaigns are within the law and abide by various government regulations.