ADMA Code of Practice 2018 released

13 Feb 2018

The marketing and advertising landscape continues to evolve rapidly with the increasing use of data and technology. So too do customer expectations about the use of their data.  For this reason, it is important to regularly review and update the ADMA Code of Practice – to ensure that it reflects customer expectations, the changing regulatory landscape, and importantly sets best practice industry benchmarks for the use of data and technology in marketing and advertising.

During 2017, the Code Authority undertook a review of the ADMA Code of Practice.  The aim of the review was to ensure that the principles and rules continue to reflect customer expectations and regulatory obligations, and importantly, are easy for ADMA member companies and the industry to understand.

The ADMA Code of Practice is about conducting good business practice. In the era of data-driven marketing, the future expansion of the industry depends on consumer confidence in how marketers and advertisers conduct their business – especially around personal information and privacy.  As well, with more channels available, there is a greater onus on marketers to be seen as transparent, ethical and honest in their dealings with consumers.

The ADMA Code of Practice provides a principle-based, agile compliance framework that places consumers’ interests at its core and gives marketers the support and guidance they need to make responsible decisions about data, technology, creativity, content and customer experience. 

The ADMA Code of Practice binds all ADMA members and compliance with its principles is a mandatory condition of ADMA membership.

What is new in the ADMA Code of Practice?

For most part, the ADMA Code of Practice has been simplified to ensure that the Code principles and rules are easily understood by ADMA member companies and the industry. In addition to simplifying the rules, there are some notable changes to the ADMA Code of Practice:

  • New Rules for Principle 6 – Value Safety

    The rules under Principle 6 – Value Safety have been expanded to require companies to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and security of customers’ personal information, as well as to inform customer if the safety or security of their personal information has been compromised.   The new rules reflect changes in the regulatory landscape and customers’ expectations about their privacy and security of personal information.
  • Introduction of New Principle 7 – Be Accountable

    Ultimately, the ADMA Code of Practice strives to endure greater consumer trust and confidence in the integrity of ADMA Members.  The ADMA logo should be seen as a badge of trust.  Member companies want consumers to understand they take their regulatory and ethical compliance obligations seriously.  Membership to ADMA and the ADMA logo signifies and demonstrates to consumers companies’ commitment to compliance. 

    In order to ensure this outcome, ADMA Members must be accountable for their compliance with the ADMA Code of Practice and consumer should be able to seek redress through the Code Authority.  For this reason, we are introducing Principle 7 – Be Accountable, which makes it clear to consumers and companies, that ADMA Members are not only committed to but accountable for, their compliance with the ADMA Code. Principle 7 – Accountability, require Member companies to:

     Nominate and advise ADMA of the staff members in their organisation who has ultimate responsibility for data practices and compliance with the ADMA Code of Practice.  If you have not nominated or informed ADMA of the staff member in your organisation, make sure you get in contact with us.
     Have a clear and publicly available statement to demonstrate a commitment to, and compliance with, the ADMA Code of Practice.  This can be contained in your privacy policy.
     Ensure that in dealings with third parties, it continues to comply with the ADMA Code.
     Accept the enforcement of the Code by the Code Authority.
     Comply with the decision of the Code Authority.

For consumers, ultimately the Code represents peace of mind. They know when they are doing business with an ADMA member company their personal information will be protected and handled responsibly and their privacy respected. They will also be reminded if they have a problem regarding their dealings with an ADMA member, there is an independent process to deal with the complaint, namely the Code Authority, who will continue to investigate unresolved consumer complaints.

What is the Code Authority?

The Code Authority is an independent complaints handling and dispute resolution body.  Its job is to see that marketers and advertisers comply with the ADMA Code of Practice and investigate any unresolved consumer complaints.  In short, it offers consumers an impartial process to deal with complaints.  

The Code Authority comprises seven members: an independent Chair, three consumer representatives and three industry representative.
The Code Authority provides an efficient and quick avenue to addressing consumer complaints in a cost-effective forum. In addition, its determinations will help industry to navigate the increasingly complex regulatory and ethical landscape.

Learn more about the Code Authority.

If you have any questions about the ADMA Code of Practice, please contact the Legal & Regulatory Manager.

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