Alterian Establishes Social Media Marketing Council to Champion Responsible Use of Social Data by Organizations

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Leading Industry Figures Join Independent Group to Help Regulate Use of Social Media for Marketing Purposes

Maintaining one's privacy, especially online, gets more challenging and important to individuals every day

Alterian ( (LSE: ALN) the leading international integrated marketing platform provider ( today announced the launch of the Social Media Marketing Council (SMMC) an independent committee designed to ensure the responsible use of social media and associated data by commercial organizations. This new council has attracted leading figures from the business and marketing worlds to ensure that data collected by companies through social channels is used ethically and responsibly. The announcement was made at annual marketing event DMA '09 ( in San Diego.

The SMMC will be an independently chaired organization with a mandate to:

  • Help regulate how businesses harvest and use data from social networks and other online channels
  • Provide guidance on what constitutes responsible use of social media data
  • Encourage organizations to use best practice when they interact with consumers

"Nobody joins a social network or uses online public communications tools to become a sales target, however it's inevitable that organizations will recognize the opportunity that emerges when a huge mass of people congregate," said Michael Fisher, ( Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Alterian. "While Alterian is committed to helping businesses market their products and solutions in an innovative fashion, it needs to ensure they do so in a responsible way. By establishing the SMMC, we are championing best practice in how businesses market using social channels, while relying on third party communications experts to lead the way for the best, most responsible use of consumer data generated via such social channels."

The council will be chaired by Bernice Grossman, ( principal consultant and founder of the DMRS Group and includes representatives from leading marketing services providers such as Merkle and Targetbase. As a leader in the integrated marketing space, Alterian is sponsoring the formation of this group to help foster a positive approach for businesses to the use of social media for marketing purposes.

"The explosion in social media has dangled a huge carrot in front of organizations that see it as nothing more than an opportunity to scrape email addresses and phone numbers for their direct marketing efforts," said Grossman. "This council is designed to bring together industry leaders to draw the line of what is acceptable for organizations to do when gathering information from, or marketing via, social channels. We're hopeful that businesses will pledge their support for the SMMC to demonstrate that they're interested in the rights of the consumer, not just in making a fast buck."

The SMMC will provide guidelines, documentation and best practice advice for organizations on exactly what kind of data it is acceptable to source through social media, and how they should be using it responsibly for lead generation and customer service. There will be an online portal to provide access to these resources, which will include a discussion forum and opportunities for companies to demonstrate that they are exhibiting best practices. The council will meet for the first time at the DMA in San Diego and thereafter on a quarterly basis to discuss the latest developments in this space, with the first objective to define what constitutes the unacceptable use of social media information.

"We all have responsibilities when it comes to using social media for marketing purposes," said Don Patrick, ( Chief Operating Officer, Merkle - a leading customer relationship management agency. "Customers will rapidly grow tired of aggressive social targeting and businesses are likely to do themselves more harm than good by trying to over-exploit social channels. As responsible marketers we need to be self governing to ensure we have the consumer's best interests at heart."

The council is currently made up of the following representatives and organizations

  •     Bernice Grossman, Founder & Principal Consultant, DMRS Group (Chair)
  •     Jennifer Barrett, Global Privacy and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom
  •     Don Patrick , Chief Operating Officer, Merkle
  •     Trae Clevinger, VP Strategy & Innovation, TargetBase
  •     Jim Schwab, VP Business Development Social Media, Alterian
  •     Janet Rubio, Chief Insights Officer, Engauge
  •     Mike Coakley, Vice President Marketing Technology, Epsilon
  •     George Terhanian, President Global Solutions, Harris Interactive.

"Maintaining one's privacy, especially online, gets more challenging and important to individuals every day," said Jennifer Barrett, Global Privacy and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom. "Businesses are equally challenged to identify the boundaries around responsible use of social media for marketing purposes. The formation of this council is an enormous step in setting the acceptable standards for organizations and ensuring they think about what they do with the information they can access."

About Alterian:
Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their audience that help build value and reinforce commitment to their brand, through the use of the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform. Alterian drives the transformation of marketing and communications, making it practical and cost-effective for companies to orchestrate multichannel engagement with the individual.

Alterian's unprecedented integration of analytics, content and execution through industry leading tools, such as the Dynamic Messenger email platform and the award winning Content Management solutions, enables companies to build integrated communication strategies which create a true picture of the individual.

Alterian works with marketing services partners, system integrators and agencies who recognize the need to plan and deliver coordinated customer engagement services in partnership with their clients. For more information about Alterian, products within the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform or Alterian's Partner Network, visit or the Alterian blog at


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