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Consent is (Sexy) Mandatory

Presented by: Ruth Carter, Owner and Attorney, Carter Law Firm

Consent in Marketing: It’s not just about respect; it’s the law in Canada, the E.U., and soon the U.S. There’s a difference between creating content that’s so good that people want to hear more and forcing people onto your list. (In case you didn’t know, the size of your list doesn’t matter if no one opens your emails.) The idea applies to following your audience online. When you get permission to use cookies, it’s called tracking. When you don’t, it’s a type of marketing stalking. 

Ruth Carter, introducing themself as an Evil Genius (their LinkedIn title), is a clear law and privacy extraordinaire. Though, regardless of all their expertise, they make their content and information seem human, and speak with care and passion. They bring a natural humor to an often serious topic yet had a firm stance on how we are all accountable for the way we serve content and collect consumer data. 

Session Notes

Chivalry Didn’t Make It to the Internet 

  • We went from “may I have this dance?” to unsolicited dick pics.
  • If you’re sending the marketing equivalent of a dick pic—you’ll be blackballed.
  • The law always lags behind technology.
  • It’s disrespectful of a person’s time and energy to go into my inbox and press delete.
  • Time and money are our scarcest commodities. 


  • There are many privacy/anti-spam laws. 
  • These include: 
    • CASL (Canada) - Explicit or implicit consent required
    • GDPR (The whole EU) - Explicit consent required with proof
    • CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act)- Notice required when collecting personal information

Wheaton’s Law

  • Until we have global laws, the best thing we can live by when it comes to using data is Wheaton’s Law—“DON’T BE A DICK.” 
  • If you follow this law, you’re probably close enough to following the real law. 
  • Remember that having an audience is a privilege, not a right. 


  • With cookies, you have to tell people that you have them on your site.
  • Cookies with consent = tracking
  • Cookies without consent = marketing stalking 


  • We don’t just have people’s information, we are entrusted with it.
  • Who would you trust to have the spare key to your house? Who would you trust to have your cell phone number? 
  • Treat people’s information the same way you want companies to treat yours, and if you don’t care about yours—how you would want mum’s information to be treated?

What’s the Point of Privacy? 

  • How much value are you really bringing to your company if no one opens the emails you send? 
  • Don’t even add someone to your list, make them add themselves. 
  • If your audience opts in, they want to hear from you. 


  • Joe Polizzi started a brand new list from scratch and now has close to a 1000 people online, by simply asking if they want to join. 
  • Jason and Caroline Zuke kick people off their list based on who is and isn’t opening and engaging with their emails. 

The Value of a Data Custodian

Your Data Custodian will: 

  • Question why the company holds onto data
  • Oversee data security; redact and encrypt as needed
  • Delete unnecessary data 
  • i. e. The Marriott scandal: Private information from past hotel guests was leaked because they were simply recording data and leaving it in their system—UNENCRYPTED. 

Key Takeaways

  • Consent is sexy, but the law says it’s mandatory. 
  • If your audience doesn’t like you, they’re not going to buy from you.
  • Your consumers are real people, and they want to trust you.