Consider Your Customers' Preferences

Direct marketing and privacy issues

To communicate effectively with your customers and prospects, it's important to have a good understanding of their preferences. This includes understanding their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants, and how they'd like you to communicate with them.

It's also important to understand the privacy issues related to communicating with your customers. This will ensure that you are collecting and using your customers' personal information appropriately in your direct marketing campaigns.

What you need to know about privacy

Before you start collecting personal information from your customers, you need to understand the laws that apply to the collection, use, and disclosure of this information.

Under Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), personal information can be collected only when it is:

  • Collected with the full knowledge and consent of the consumer.
  • Collected for a reasonable purpose.
  • Used exclusively for the reasons for which it was gathered.
  • Kept accurate and up-to-date.
  • Accessible by request of the consumer.
  • Stored securely.
  • Kept only for as long as it is needed.

PIPEDA contains additional obligations, including a requirement that your information collection practices are transparent and that you have an up-to-date and accessible privacy policy.

For more information about Canada's privacy laws, you can read:

Privacy Guide for Small Businesses

Privacy Guide for Businesses and Organizations

Consumers' Choice Program

First introduced in 1997, this program allows residents and businesses to opt out of receiving unaddressed mail items delivered by Canada Post. By making sure that unaddressed mail goes only to the people who want it, our Direct Mail service operates as efficiently as possible.

Consumers participate simply by placing a note on their mailbox that indicates they don't want to receive certain material. Exemptions to this program include:

  • House of Commons mailings
  • Elections Canada mailings
  • Provincial Electoral Officer mailings
  • Municipal electoral mailings
  • Community newspapers

The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) also offers a Do Not Contact service that allows individuals to have their name and address removed from the marketing/mailing lists held by CMA members. More information can be found on the CMA website

National Do Not Call List

Effective September of 2008, the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) allows customers to register their phone numbers to reduce the number of telemarketing calls they receive. As a growing number of your customers and prospects embrace this service, it is the ideal time to shift your telemarketing budget towards a smarter, more effective alternative for finding new Direct Mail.

For more information about the national Do Not Call List, please visit the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.