Lead generation survey to highlight best and worst customer acquisition practices

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is to launch a three-month research project into lead generation to provide the marketing industry's first ever benchmark of customer acquisition practices ahead of the introduction of more stringent data protection legislation.

The DMA is partnering with lead generation firm McDowall to produce the Customer Acquisition Barometer (CAB) to help raise industry standards for collecting consumers’ data ahead of the introduction of the draft EU Data Protection Regulation, aimed at strengthening online privacy.

The CAB will canvas senior marketers at brand owning companies, as well as survey a panel of more than 1,000 UK adult consumers, to assess current trends and critical issues facing the customer acquisition process.

The report will cover how key vertical sectors such as utilities, automotive, finance and travel are acquiring customers through online and offline consumer contact. It will identify trends in acquisition channels, budget allocation, cost-per-acquisition and consumer privacy concerns that are shaping the future of gaining new customers.

In the past year, data-driven marketing has been under intense political and media scrutiny for practices including online data collection that is not clearly explained to consumers.

Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, said the survey would highlight issues around acquiring new customers as the draft EU Data Protection Regulation "could well usher in a more stringent data protection environment".

He added: "The proliferation of media channels has increased the number of cost effective and legal practices for attracting new customers and with so much choice on how to attract new customers, there are no excuses for approaches that go against best practice, or even break the law."

The findings of the research will be unveiled at a launch event for senior marketers on 27 March in central London next year.

The announcement of the CAB survey launch follows the debut in October of TPS Assured, a certification scheme for telemarketers to recognise companies that comply with privacy regulations and the principles of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, communications and creative industries, attended the launch, saying he hoped the initiative would "help drive up standards" in telemarketing.

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