How to Comply with the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule - Page 2

Creating a preference and opt-in program

Seize this opportunity and create a formal "consumer communication preference and opt-in program." The requirement to gain permission by September 1, 2009 creates an urgency to do so, while the value of understanding consumer preferences should create a strategic drive to do so as well.

Here are eight questions organizations should be asking themselves in order to comply with the amended TSR:

1. Do we have contact information for our customers and prospects?

2. Is this contact information complete and updated, for mobile phones, e-mails and land lines?

3. How do we keep contact information updated?

4. Do we understand our customers' communications preferences? Do they prefer text messages, e-mail, voice messages, direct mail and/or live agents?

5. Do our customers' communications preferences vary by the situation? Service reminder versus special sale offering versus loyalty program update versus fraud notification?

6. How do we track and update our customers' evolving communications preferences?

7. Can our entire organization access our customers' communications preferences?

8. What's our organization's plan to handle the September 1, 2009 TSR changes?

Those organizations who act swiftly and with purpose in creating a formal customer communication preference and opt-in program will have a head start in building a targeted, qualified list of customers who will welcome their communications. After all, it's all about customer choice, so be sure to deliver your communications to those who want to receive them-in the manner they want to receive them.

Mark Friedman is the Chief Marketing and Business Development officer for SoundBite Communications. Mark has more than 20 years of experience in a range of marketing, sales and business development positions, with leading companies such as IBM, Lotus Development, Epoch Systems/EMC and Dragon Systems. During the six-year tenure as vice president for worldwide marketing for Kenan Systems (acquired by Lucent in 1999), Friedman played a major role in boosting the company's sales from $20 million to $1.1 billion.

Most recently, Mark served as CEO of Peppercoin, a provider of card-based merchant loyalty programs that was acquired by Chockstone, Inc. in April 2007. Mark holds a degree in Systems Science Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.S. degree in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He can be reached at