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Direct Marketers: Proceed with Caution

Posted by Brian Jones on May 24, 2023

Like you don't have enough to worry about...

On top of everything else keeping you up at night, here are the most pressing issues direct marketers need to be aware of over the next 12 to 36 months — and interestingly enough, they all seem to have something in common – an added measure of CAUTION.

From taking extra care to protect the bottom line to fending off competition to judiciously using the latest and greatest AI tools, marketers are approaching some new territory. To help you navigate, here are a couple areas where we should be extra careful: 

AI - Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is popular right now, to say the least. It’s used to create everything from realistic images to snappy songs to marketing copy to code.

The latest greatest AI tools (and new ones seem to be popping up every day) can generate quality content all from a few simple, well-written text prompts.iStock-1460653471 

It’s really pretty impressive.  

But using AI-generated content for clients presents some special challenges that you should be aware of.

For example:  

  1. Not all AI platforms let you use the content it generates commercially. So it’s important to check out all the terms of service and make sure you understand the scope of permissible use.

  2. Many AI platforms don’t ensure that the material it is generating does not infringe on the rights of others. And if you’re not sure either, you may be using the platform’s AI-generated content at your own risk.

  3. You might not be able to get sole and exclusive ownership of AI-generated content. Oh, no problem, right?? Wrong. NOT having ownership means you don’t have the right to transfer that ownership (which you didn’t have in the first place) to your clients.

  4. The U.S. Copyright Office states that AI-generated content does not qualify for copyright protection and cannot be registered. What does that mean for you? Well, you may not have any protection against third parties who use the AI-generated work without permission.

  5. Some AI-generated content may infringe on someone’s already established copyrights. Similar in concept to using a popular song as the soundtrack to your YouTube videos.

Also, while we're at it, one other area worth mentioning involves the use of social media influencers, endorsements, and customer reviews in your marketing material.


Influencers, Endorsements, and Reviews

The FTC recently updated its Endorsement Guides. These will most likely go into effect later this year. The result will be more oversight and action against deceptive marketing practices. This includes actions involving influencers. As influencers routinely collect big money for their posts, they’ll be held liable for any violations they make.

Plus, the FTC has said that agencies can be held liable for their client’s influencer campaigns if they are intentionally deceptive.

"The FTC is expected to go after companies that suppress negative reviews and ratings and review sites that allow companies to pay for higher rankings."

And in the next few months, the FTC is expected to more aggressively go after companies that suppress negative reviews and ratings and review sites that allow companies to pay for higher rankings.

So in addition to scheduling and budgets and supply chains and flexible workforces, you can add these items to your ever-growing checklist for a successful campaign.

At J&C, our expertise helps clients navigate the issues and challenges they face today, tomorrow, and down the road. We help make sure their direct marketing approach avoids the pitfalls they may hit if they go it alone, which helps keep their response rates up and, subsequently, their marketing ROIs high.

Contact J&C today if you need help getting your message to the right audience — and your ROI moving in the right direction. Sleep tight, CMOs.

SOURCE:  Davis+Gilbert LLP

Topics: Direct Marketing, Direct Mail, Creative

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