Helping Market Research Firms Adapt to New FCC Rules

September 22, 2015

Market research professionals pour their days into identifying the best way to engage and connect with consumers. With ever-changing behavior patterns and technology constantly evolving their preferences, understanding what consumers want is certainly no easy task. Adding to an already challenging job is now another element for market research firms to consider: Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requirements.

While most are well aware of the TCPA’s limit on automatic dialing systems and restrictions on telephone solicitations, in June, the FCC ruled that it would further strengthen consumer protections and enforcement against unwanted robocalls and texts to mobile phones. For market research companies that rely on consumer outreach and communication, this creates significant hurdles. Even those doing business the right way can find themselves in violation with these new, stringent guidelines. Many industry participants feel that with the ruling, the focus has actually turned away from telemarketing fraud, leaving the burden on those engaging in legitimate outreach efforts.

Market research companies that subscribe to databases or other services to access consumer mobile number information might think they are in the clear, but these services still leave them at risk. The reason? Mobile number turnover is rapid; the rate at which phone numbers are recycled has become too fast for these databases to keep up. So, when a consumer who gives consent for a phone call switches to a different phone number, organizations that continue to auto-dial his or her outdated number quickly reach a non-consenting individual and, therefore, are violating TCPA and subject to hefty fines.

Estimates from the CDC indicate that 41 percent of American adults have only wireless telephones, exacerbating the challenge for market research and polling companies. In addition to fines, organizations can expect the cost of conducting telephone surveys to rise significantly as they accommodate new rules associated with autodialing mobile numbers.

Part of this cost incurred is already being attributed to databases and services meant to assist; however, many options in use simply compare caller ID or port records – proving insufficient, especially with these tighter guidelines. In fact, the only true way to access 100 percent accurate, up-to-date mobile number data is by connecting directly to the source: the mobile network operators (MNOs). Early Warning is making that connection possible; its Mobile Number Verification Service provides real-time connectivity to the nation’s leading MNOs, and numbers are updated constantly. Additionally, Early Warning’s Mobile Number Verification Service is capable of tracking changes within mobile accounts throughout a consumer’s entire telecom lifecycle.

Early Warning’s established MNO relationships enable Mobile Number Verification Service to provide 94 percent wireless coverage – which equates to a reach of more than 297 million consumers. With this solution, market research firms do not have to continually worry about whether the numbers they dial are accurate; instead, they can know with certainty whether the mobile number they have on file either still matches or no longer matches the number provided by the consumer.

The FCC’s ruling has created quite a stir among market research companies, but it is also impacting any organization with consumer outreach efforts. However, fines associated with TCPA violations do not have to be a cost of doing business. Early Warning’s Mobile Number Verification Service delivers, direct from MNOs, the insight that businesses need to stay compliant, without missing a beat or placing a strain on other resources. In fact, it enables market research companies to truly optimize their communication efforts, allowing them to focus on their goals and even strengthening their ability to understand and engage target markets.

To learn more about Mobile Number Verification Service visit

About the Author:

Ravi Loganathan is chief market development officer for Early Warning’s Regulatory Solutions Practice. He has over 20 years of experience in Compliance, Operational Risk and Marketing Analytics in the Financial Services and Retail sectors.

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