Monday, October 3rd, 2011 in General by Lechelle de Vries

We’ve all heard of it by now, the Consumer Protection Act or CPA for short, effective since the 1st of April 2011. Finally the “little guys” have the power, to a degree, when buying goods and services. The act covers various consumer rights relating to buying goods and services; the return, repair and refunds thereof; fixed agreement terminations and a few others. The areas of the act that we will focus on that impacts on marketing, though, are: Right 2: the right to privacy, and Right 3: the right to fair and responsible marketing.

Gone are the days of telesales agents calling you at every conceivable hour of the day to sell you that Cellphone contract that you do not want or need. Also, you have the right to demand being removed from mailing lists if you receive spam text SMS’s that do not give you the option to opt out. This also pertains to all other forms of spam emails and other correspondence. This is certainly great news for the consumers, but how does this affect the marketers of all these goods and services? Well now there are fewer avenues to reach potential customers, but there is one avenue that many marketers are starting to rely on to reach an ever-growing online market.

The online population has exploded in the last ten years, with companies like Facebook having more users than all but 3 countries’ populations on earth and marketing budgets all over the world are moving over from the old traditional forms to the new age of marketing, online marketing. The biggest player on the online information/ search engine market is undoubtedly Google. Whenever there is something you want to know, buy or sell, Google can provide you a portal to literally Billions of websites, information and potential customers.

So what does this have to do with the CPA, well it comes down to two words: Permission Marketing. Permission marketing, the opposite is called interruption marketing, is when consumers give you “permission” to advertise and sell to them by clicking on adverts and websites and by searching for information or products. Thus they are coming to you for this info and thus the CPA places no restrictions on this form of marketing. Many large companies are relying heavily on their websites to sell their products and services and some companies do not even have physical offices anymore.

To conclude, the CPA has contributed heavily to the changing face of marketing in South Africa and marketers everywhere have had to adapt their strategies to accommodate this. Companies are spending millions each month advertising using Google and Facebook ads as well as optimizing their websites to rank high on search engines (SEO). The only question that remains is “Can you afford not to adapt your marketing strategy as well”?

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