Jonathan Bass, managing director of mobile agency Incentivated has advised companies to check that their mobile marketing promotions stay on the right side of the law, after he responded to a newspaper ad offering consumers the chance to win a years free membership of a national gym chain, which, he says, broke the rules in a number of ways.
There were three main problems with it says Bass. Firstly, on the print ad promoting the competition, there was no mention of the terms and conditions, and nothing to explain that by texting in, your details would be entered on to the companys database so that they could contact you. Secondly, there was no mention of how to opt out. Finally, there no mention of the cost, which apart from anything else, has been proven to reduce response rates.
According to Bass, the mistakes could well have been made through lack of awareness of the rules, rather than an overt desire to break them, but this, he points out, would make little difference, if the company involved were taken to task over the campaign.
If you take the Information Commissioner's maximum 3,000 fine and multiply that by, say, 1,000 people complaining, you would be looking at a serious amount of money says Bass. I suspect the promotion was probably handled in-house. Theres nothing wrong with companies doing it themselves, but they need to be sure they are doing it properly.
In the light of this and other campaigns he has seen that break the rules, Bass is also calling on companies to publish their mobile marketing optout rates.
If youre doing things right, our experience shows that the number of people opting out of your mobile campaigns will be far less than 10% per annum, and this is a perfectly acceptable figure says Bass. If a company cant quote its mobile optout rate, its either because it is not providing an optout, which is against the law, or because its afraid to do so, because it is over 10%, which suggests it is spamming the people it is targeting.