DMA jumps into bed with US software giant OneTrust

Onetrust1The DMA has signed a major commercial contract with OneTrust, the US privacy software giant valued at $1.3bn (£1.1bn), which the trade body insists will help its membership to run “responsible marketing programmes” that comply with both GDPR and the new California Consumer Privacy Act.

The deal, which has raised more than a few eyebrows, sees OneTrust become the DMA’s “responsible marketing partner”. According to the blurb, the two parties “will work together to provide software tools, training, resources and thought leadership for marketing departments to responsibly manage, protect and administer customer data now and in the future”.

Founded in 2106, it is claimed that OneTrust is the fastest growing privacy management company in the world. It has two HQs, in Atlanta and in London, with offices in Bangalore, San Francisco, Melbourne, New York, Munich and Hong Kong; it employs over 1,000 staff worldwide.

The firm is backed by Manhattan Associates and American multi-millionaire Alan Dabbiere. In July, it secured $200m (£165m) in Series A funding from Insight Partners, valuing the business at $1.3bn (£1.1bn).

There are three key areas to the deal, the terms of which have not be revealed.

– OneTrust and the DMA will produce joint surveys and webinars focused on the topics most relevant to marketers, including how to comply with the GDPR and CCPA.

– OneTrust and the DMA will partner at select PrivacyConnect and MarketingConnect workshops, free, local events that equip privacy and marketing professionals to connect, share experiences, and learn the latest regulatory requirements and implementation best practices.

– OneTrust will also headline the DMA’s Data Protection Summit, taking place in February next year.

DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “As the industry association representing the data and marketing industry, acting responsibly while also creating engaging experiences that put customers first is a core tenet of our code. In OneTrust we have found a partner that shares these key values and the belief in a customer-centric approach to data and privacy.

“The partnership will also offer added benefit to our members, offering them access to a range of additional tools, training and resources to not just comply with privacy laws, but truly put the customer at the heart of their business. Giving them a competitive advantage by developing trust through their approach to data and privacy.”

However, not everyone in the industry is quite so chuffed with the deal. One insider said: “I’m not sure about this relationship as OneTrust has a load of cash and can influence the DMA greatly to the extent it could take over much of what the DMA does. It’s a partnership I’m unhappy with.”

Another added: “This deal is controversial to say the least. While it might be jointly beneficial for both OneTrust and the DMA, giving the former access to 1,000 DMA members and the later a bucket-load of cash, is it in the best interests of members? We’ll have to wait and see but I am far from convinced.”

It is not the first time the DMA’s commercial dealings have been called into question. Earlier this week, Decision Marketing revealed that TPS Ltd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the trade body, trousers more than £100,000 a year in profits from running the Telephone Preference Service, despite previous denials that it made any money from the scheme.

And, in August 2017, the trade body joined forces with First Orion to launch the TPS Protect mobile call blocking app. The scheme, which effectively charged consumers to block unwanted calls, was axed after 18 months following “low consumer uptake”.

UPDATE: In response to the concerns raised in this article, DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “The suggestion that the DMA’s independence is in any way affected by the partnerships we have is wrong. Our policies are set by the members that make up our Board, committees and councils. Our focus will always be our customers – the people and businesses that make up the data and marketing industry. We will continue to offer advice, best practice, events, guidance, insight, training and value to our members.”

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