Former DLG and EHS Brann chief Jeremy Whitaker has thrown down the gauntlet to every UK company using marketing data, challenging them to prove that the information they hold is compliant with existing, as well as forthcoming, legislation.
Whitaker, who has worked in the sector for over 20 years, was appointed chairman of Verso Group – formed by the merger of Verve Media and Simply Outbound Fusion BPO Canada – 12 months ago.
The venture was “soft-launched” earlier this year and, since then, the company has struck deals with a number of overseas contact centres.
But, unlike most telemarketing firms, it actually owns the businesses, and, according to Whitaker, this gives his company far greater control over its operations.
Speaking exclusively to DecisionMarketing, Whitaker said: “If you don’t own these businesses you have no power over what they do. The beauty of our operation is that we get to hear every phone call, and see every transcript, so we know they are being compliant. If our agents aren’t following the letter of the law, they’re out. It’s as simple as that. There is no room for complacency.
“For far too long, data gathering has been a mess, but it has been swept under the carpet for three reasons. Firstly, the authorities simply do not have the manpower to deal with the issue, secondly, the sanctions were not tough enough. Thirdly, consumers are in the dark over where to complain to.
“Now the laws are being tightened, suddenly companies are starting to sit up and take notice. It is no coincidence that the threat of a company’s marketing operation being shut down for months – which will be ushered in by the new EU legislation – has set off plenty of alarm bells.”
Verso Group’s services include offline and online lead generation, SMS and email marketing, display advertising, contextual advertising, lead procurement, data bureau, database management, analytics and profiling.
It claims to be the largest independent consumer information company in the UK. In telephone lead generation alone it completes nearly 100,000 fresh surveys a month, which is twice the number of Verso’s closest competitor. It also claims to uniquely supply 100% TPS-free data, insisting Verso does not exploit regulatory grey areas like many of its rivals.
It is understood that Whitaker and his team are currently in high-level talks with a number of industry bodies, regulators and government departments about a joint initiative to bring all parties on board and raise standards for the entire telemarketing marketing industry.
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