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CTPS: a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

There is no doubt that a growing number of players in the B2B arena are now waking up to the fact that the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) is a grand piece of ‘gold plating’. A classic sledgehammer hovering over a tiny nut. Take a look at the opinions we have revealed in recent surveys. These suggest that 70 per cent of small businesses are dependent upon the phone to market and promote their businesses. No surprise then that 66 per cent would like to be free to market themselves the way they see best, and only 11 per cent see the CTPS as in any way a useful tool which helps them grow.

And yet here we are in a classic legislative situation: in order to, quite legitimately, save very small businesses from unwanted phone calls, we end up with something which enables larger businesses to ring fence their activities and create an unfair advantage for themselves, while at the same time making it tougher for small UK firms to market their good and services.

The phone is a powerful marketing tool. There is no doubt about that. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be having this debate. But at the same time – and as a direct result of its power – it needs to be used responsibly and with great care. We can legitimately call for the powers that be to look again at the CTPS. There is a case to answer and we have the evidence to prove it. But at the same time we also need to follow the lead of the DMA in regard to consumer calls, and make certain that we use this vital tool in the very best way, supported by agreed guidelines and best practice. If we want the likes of the DTI to look again at the CTPS, we also need as an industry to show that we can also act responsibly in return for that greater freedom.