In every industry, there’s rules to follow, and SMS marketing is no different with their own set of best practices and SMS marketing laws that have to be followed. Who sets and enforces these SMS marketing laws? We’re glad you asked, as this is what this entire blog post is about.
First off, when talking about SMS marketing laws, you have to know the players. There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation in SMS marketing about laws, compliance and best practices. In our experience, the majority of the confusion comes from businesses not knowing the difference between the CTIA, the FCC and the MMA and the role each of them plays in SMS marketing. So to help you better understand SMS marketing laws, it’s best to tell you about each organization, and how they impact the laws of SMS marketing.
The CTIA is an organization that was created by the wireless carriers to enforce proper SMS marketing practices to make sure they’re in the best interests of the consumer. The CTIA guidelines are very specific about text message marketing. They tell you exactly what must be included in an advertisement for an SMS program (message and data rates, help and stop commands, message frequency, links to terms and conditions, privacy policies, etc.) as well as what must not be included. Since the CTIA guidelines aren’t SMS marketing law, you can’t be sued for violating them, but you do run the risk of having your SMS program shut down.
While the CTIA guidelines aren’t SMS marketing law, the TCPA (developed by the FCC) is federal law. No business has ever been sued for not following CTIA guidelines, but countless brands have been sued under the TCPA, including large brands such as Jiffy Lube and Papa John’s. Unlike the CTIA, which is very specific, nothing in the TCPA specifically targets text message marketing. In fact, the TCPA doesn’t mention text messaging at all. Text messaging was only recently mentioned by the FCC in a clarification it issued regarding whether or not the TCPA applies to it (it does). There’s no mention in the TCPA of message and data rates or what must be included in a text message when a consumer texts the word “HELP” to your short code.
The TCPA SMS marketing laws are all about businesses receiving permission from the consumer to text message them, the specifics of how this permission can be obtained, and what is allowed after permission has been granted.
MMA (Mobile Marketing Association)
Lastly, there’s the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which releases its own SMS marketing best practices document that is very similar to the Mobile Commerce Compliance Handbook the CTIA puts out. The MMA best practices for SMS marketing aren’t SMS marketing We use law, like the TCPA is, and they aren’t enforced by anyone, like the CTIA does with its rules, so these best practices add more confusion to the industry than clarification.
So now that you’ve got a good understanding of the different organizations that create SMS marketing laws, and enforce those SMS marketing laws, it’s time to help you understand how to stay in compliance with those laws. While we have SMS marketing guides on TCPA compliance and CTIA compliance, we actually came up with a better, easier to understand way to make sure you’re following SMS marketing laws. How so? We’ve combined the SMS marketing laws from the CTIA and TCPA into one set of easy to understand and implement templates. How do you get your hands on these SMS marketing laws templates?
You can download for free the set of templates (6 total) here, or by clicking below. Did we say they’re free yet? Yep you heard us right, all 6 templates are completely free to download!