Preparing for Tomorrow’s Regulatory Environment in Lead Gen and Performance Marketing

Amidst the incredible content at Leadscon 2021, we thought one particular panel was especially worth highlighting: “Preparing for Tomorrow’s Regulatory Environment.”  Their discussion looked at how the regulatory and compliance environment has evolved in recent years and offered businesses usable tips and strategies to navigate an increasingly complex future. Below we’ve recapped the highlights for a quick read. Or, watch the complete event to hear all of their expert insights and advice.
The LeadsCon panel left to right: Squire, Patton, Boggs attorney Eric J. Troutman, Czar of TCPAWorld.com ; Puja Amin, Corporate Counsel at loanDepot; Kevin Rockoff, General Counsel at SmartFinancial; and Convoso’s own Co-Founder and CEO Nima Hakimi.

A Look Back at Recent Marketing Regulations

To understand what the future might look like, the group discussed the recent past in call center regulations. The underlying theme of their analysis: there’s more and more regulation and enforcement, and it’s coming from more and more places.

Public Regulations

Fraudulent robocalls and privacy protection continue to be hot-button issues for consumers, business, and legislators. While regulators continue to respond to these issues, what’s changed is who is doing the regulating. According to Rockoff, it used to be that federal regulators were the main body leading the way on protection. However, that’s no longer been the case in recent years. Instead, state government bodies are leading the way, creating a more challenging environment for businesses to navigate. On the privacy front, individual states like California, Colorado, and Virginia have passed complex protection legislation of which businesses need to be cognizant. But it won’t end with those states. Rockoff says that as many as 25 states are looking to enact their own privacy protection regs, which are going to force businesses to do even more compliance gymnastics. Meanwhile, when it comes to outbound calling, states like Florida have passed laws restricting when and how businesses can make call consumers, creating extra hurdles for call centers to clear.

Private Enforcement

The increase in regulatory obstacles doesn’t stop with these state-by-state actions, though. Now, because of federal and state legislation’s implications, private groups and even individuals are getting in on the action of enforcement.  Telecommunications providers, for instance, have been given a great amount of power in enforcing call blocking and flagging of suspected robocalls—and legitimate businesses are getting caught up in their web. Empowered by the TRACED Act, the Industry Traceback Group, composed of an array of telco carriers, is responsible for assessing the legitimacy of robocalls and is levying stiff penalties for those businesses found in violation. Plus, because a number of regulations have granted a private right of action to individuals, businesses now have to contend with potentially costly consumer complaints and litigation. Rockoff said that this has created a special kind of mindfield for businesses. “It’s kind of like having 10,000 minor deputized attorneys general calling you up and calling you out for potential violations. And, unfortunately, in most cases, they’re not actually informed enough to know whether or not you actually are in violation.”  As the panel agreed, in the face of all this public regulation and private enforcement, the future of the regulatory environment can sometimes look pretty bleak.

How to Navigate Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) Regulatory Environment

Luckily, the panel did zero in on a number of actions businesses can take to weather these tough times. They focused on a few different areas: avoiding call blocking and flagging, supporting compliance, and taking collective action.

Avoiding Call Blocking and Flagging

As carriers use black-box algorithms to block and label calls, catching up legitimate businesses who have obtained consumer consent in the process, businesses need to take a range of actions to keep contact rates up. These strategies include:
  • Managing Call Volume: If your business is making a high volume of calls every day, it’s important that calls are spread across an array of caller IDs. Hakimi recommends sticking to 50 calls per number per day as a good rule of thumb.
  • Incorporate an Omnichannel Approach: In the face of rampant call blocking and flagging, Puja Amin says you need to be able to rely on other marketing efforts and channels to reach more customers. This is also critical to avoiding flagged and blocked caller IDs in the first place. Support your outbound dialing with SMS and email to reach customers on the best channel for them.

Double Down on Compliance

“As you move into the future, with things coming at you from different angles every day, the need for expertise is more prevalent than ever before,” said Troutman.  That means having the best tools in place to support compliance. The panel recommended implementing TrustedForm from ActiveProspect as a great way to support compliance and prove consent. Meanwhile, using dialer software like Convoso that puts compliance first and stays on top of constant changes in regulations is also highly important.  Enlisting expertise also means obtaining top legal counsel. Getting attorneys on your side who can not only advise on legal issues but aid in audits and risk assessments is essential for supporting compliance, now and in the future.

Take Collective Action

Lastly, the panel stressed the importance of collective action. Why? Well, in Troutman’s terms, the lead gen and outbound calling industry has become something of a “whipping boy” for regulators because it doesn’t have a seat at the table during conversations that determine legislation.  To remedy this, the panelists say businesses need to support groups like Consumer Consent and PACE who can press forward with lobbying efforts and ensure that the voices of legitimate businesses are heard—and that a brighter picture of the future comes into view.

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