June 20, 2014

Not all spam is created equal! How Canada’s new anti-spam law affects marketers.

In less than two weeks, businesses across the country will be forced to change how they connect with their clients and consumers as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation comes into effect on July 1, 2014.

The tricky thing about spam is that it’s not all the same. Somewhere along the line ‘spam’ came to mean chain letters and unsolicited ads that plagued our inboxes. But in reality, many reputable companies, like banks, grocers and retailers, use email lists to send newsletters, surveys and promotional offers to valuable and loyal customers.

What are the new laws?

Under the new laws, consumers will now have to manually give consent before companies are legally allowed to send them any digital message via email, text or social media.

Before now, including an ‘Unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of an email was enough. If consumers didn’t click it, they were giving implied consent.

After July 1, consumers will have to actively give consent by clicking ‘subscribe’.

Change is a good thing!

Now marketers will need to think even more about what they’re sending out – is it right for their customers?

When businesses take the time to make sure they’re sending out useful information and valuable offers their consumers want, it promotes a healthy relationship between businesses and consumers where both parties are receiving value!

Even better, consumers that opt-in to receive communications from businesses are the right kind of customers to be reaching out to!

How does this relate to kfm?

First off, you can still receive our newsletters!

We want to make sure you can continue receiving our emails without interruption.

Just for that we have included a ‘subscribe’ button at the bottom of this post.

We want you to know that we are committed to only sending you useful information that is of high quality and real value to you.

We know that our readers will continue to subscribe to our communications because it is relevant and engaging information that actually benefits them!

What do the new laws mean for consumers?

Consumers will now have a greater degree of control over the kind of electronic messages they receive and how often they receive it.

Businesses will be working hard to tailor the content they send out so that it meets the specific desire of their readers and customers. They will also likely provide ‘preference settings’ so consumers can choose what type of information they receive and how often.

What does this mean for social media?

Most people think of email when they hear ‘spam’, but texts and social media are part of the new anti-spam laws too.

The legislation forbids businesses from sending any commercial communications via text messaging or messaging via social media – even if consumers are already following them!

Here’s where it gets a little tricky…

For example, it’s okay for a business to send a message to one of their Twitter followers that says, “Thanks for following us!” because it is not commercial.

But, say a restaurant chain receives a complaint via Twitter from a customer that received poor service. The restaurant responds by apologizing and offering a 10% discount to the customer on their next visit. This would violate the new laws because it is seen as a commercial electronic message.

What is implied consent?

The new laws see consent in two ways: ‘active’ and ‘implied’.

‘Active’ means consumers clicked ‘subscribe’ somewhere along the way.

‘Implied’ means there is an existing business relationship with the consumer from a previous transaction. This ‘implied’ consent is good for up to two years from the transaction date. An inquiry made by a consumer gives up to 6 months of ‘implied’ consent.

What happens if marketers break these laws?

Marketers will be subject to examination by the following three federal agencies:

1. Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

2. Competition Bureau

3. Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Monetary penalties of up to $10 million may ensue.

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