Every time you create a product, service, or business, you need a brand identity for it. Without a doubt, the most important element of most brands is the name.
The law protects names through trademarks, not copyright.
It is not possible to claim copyright in a name, even if the name is one you made up.
Start ups often wonder whether they need to spend the money to register a trademark. Some wonder why it’s not enough to have registered a company or domain name.Yet others have heard of unregistered trademark rights being acquired through use, and wonder why they should not just use the name without bothering with any trademark registrations.
Company and Domain name registrations are insufficient
The short answer to whether company or domain registrations are enough is no. Domain and company names do not give you the necessary rights you need in a name. The fact that they are available to register does not mean you may use them for any purpose you like. You still need to establish whether anyone has trademark rights in the name you’re intending to use as your brand name.
Trademark registration is the way to protect a name, and get the necessary rights you need in that name. It is not a good idea to rely on unregistered trademark rights in the brand name in which you will be building your brand equity.
What is a good name?
A good name will help you to build brand value and to successfully secure trademark registration in the word. But to pick a name that works involves more than meets the eye at first.
As well as conveying the desired personality characteristics, sometimes across world markets and in multiple languages, it’s essential that the brand name be legally available and distinctive.
Often a name is the first issue you need to consider before beginning work on designs, websites, and marketing materials.
Should you register the name?
It all depends on how important the name is to you. If you’ve found a name you are excited about and want to use long term for your business, then you should immediately register it as a trade mark, before you do anything else. That’s the way to establish ownership rights to a name.
If you are not that bothered whether you can use the name long term or not, then don’t worry about trademarking. Once you’ve established that you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights, just go ahead and use the name.
So, when you’re starting a new business, pick any name based on whether your desired domain name is freely available to register. Don’t spend too much on getting an identity sorted for your business either. The focus should be on finding a suitable niche and positioning for your business and testing it.
You can have more than one niche, but best to move forward one niche at a time.
So, initially focus on getting the business off the ground. If your business is viable and works, you can rebrand (by which I mean getting a visual identity in line with your brand values) once you’ve found your feet.
At that time, you could even pick a new name, so you can save if you’re willing to choose a temporary brand name to use as well as temporary designs in the early days.
On the other hand, if you have coined a really inventive name, and like it, or don’t want to have the hassle of a rebranding exercise later, then, of course, you should invest in the name by properly protecting it with a trademark.
In a world where there is more and more noise, it can be difficult to be heard. Many of us feel that despite producing awesome content, we’re just not getting through to anyone.
To capture anyone’s attention requires more than good content.
This is a topic I’ve decided to research and study closely so in future posts I’ll be sharing my findings and ideas for distributing our content so as to reach more people. Watch this space.
You’re Not Alone If You Feel That Your Marketing Isn’t Working
You’re in good company if you find that your marketing isn’t working any more.
Mark Schaefer, in his new book, Marketing Rebellion, observes that his Chief Marketing Officer friends who represent some of the biggest names in the business, without exception all feel they are falling behind… on everything
They say things are just not working like they used to.
These are some of the biggest marketing stars at the most famous brands.
They’re experienced, deeply respected executives with some of the biggest companies in the world. They have limitless resources, access to the best people, and premier agency partner relationships. And yet they echoed the same desperate sentiment that many small businesses, and entrepreneurs with little or no budget feel.
Nothing seems to work anymore.
Identifying Your Niche
The book has interesting insights which has sparked off ideas for my marketing. I’ll be sharing some information about that in the future.
For what I’m about to communicate, the part that stood out for me was Schaefer’s suggestion that for your marketing to stand a chance of working, you need to make sure you accurately identify your “place” – what you want to be known for.
He suggests to then define your space – which should be an uncontested niche to tell your story.
Once you’ve done that Schaefer explains how important it is to create effective content to convey your message and build an actionable audience. I’ll be working on these elements over the coming months.
It’s about much more than just generating good content.
Creating More Than Brand Online Course
When I recently created my new online course to help businesses position or reposition their brands, I was able to reposition the Azrights business in the process.
At the time I hadn’t read Schaefer’s book.
My “place” – what I want Azrights and myself to be known for – is branding and trade marks, branding and copyright, branding and intellectual property, as opposed to just trademarks, or copyright or intellectual property legal protection.
Copyright, Trademarks, Intellectual Property
As an intellectual property law firm Azrights is currently positioned to deal with the legal side of branding – trademarking, copyright, and intellectual property. But it hasn’t previously provided branding services. Now, due to our repositioning, it does provide branding services.
So, we’ll be making various changes to the website so that in future it is quite clear to site visitors that Azrights also offers branding.
Drawing on my 15+ years of running a business I am well placed to support businesses with their branding. I have studied marketing mainly because it totally absorbs me as a subject. I read lots of marketing books, attend many marketing and social media related courses, and so, it’s a subject I feel comfortable helping clients with.
My next book will be on branding.
What Branding Isn’t
Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception that branding is all about a logo or visual identity work.
I’ve experienced branding of that type first hand on two occasions, both in my own businesses (twice), and when supporting branding projects helping agencies with name clearance or advising on other aspects of intellectual property.
The first experience I had personally with branding didn’t work out so well because I hadn’t thought through my brand for myself first before approaching designers. The second experience worked mainly because I’d done all the business thinking beforehand for myself.
Branding services combined with IP
The fact that I will be able to combine branding with intellectual property is what brings real value to the niche Azrights will henceforth occupy.
The disciplines of branding and intellectual property are so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Yet intellectual property is not well understood by the branding industry as a whole.
Problems When Branding And IP Are Not Aligned
I see many problems when branding is divorced from intellectual property. The person who loses out when branding and intellectual property are not aligned is the business owner, and often they’re quite unaware that their identity is the root cause of the problem.
When certain issues arise in their business, such as a competitor muscling in on their turf, they don’t realise that the name they’re using is the reason they are vulnerable and unable to fight back to stave off the unfair competition.
Separating the two disciplines doesn’t generally give the best results
Bedding in New Positioning for Azrights
Once this positioning is bedded into the Azrights business and our website, it means Azrights will occupy a unique place.
It will be the first law firm that offers branding services to its clients in addition to intellectual property protection. Azrights will deliver some of the branding services through its sister company Azrights International Ltd.
Reason for Repositioning
When I initially set up Azrights back in 2005, intellectual property law firms were few and far between. So, IP was a good niche positioning for my firm to adopt.
At the time, in 2005, solicitors tended to handle litigious matters, copyright, and IP strategy while patent and trade mark attorney firms dealt with the registration of trade marks, designs, and patents.
I was being different in offering the A to Z of IP services – a full registration and litigation service as well as drafting of legal agreements.
However, this positioning soon looked run of the mill as the division between the two professions began to break down. Patent and trade mark firms soon began offering litigation work, while law firms delved into trade mark registration work.
Dozens of Other IP Firms
So, one reason the IP niche needed to change was this. A few years after Azrights was founded, dozens of intellectual property law firms began sprouting up, virtually overnight. Most of them now handle registration work and while IP was still a specialist subject back in 2005, it’s increasingly ceased to be niche.
The subject is now quite mainstream as non-specialist law firms, such as company commercial lawyers offer intellectual property work, including trade mark registration.
So, I could see the writing on the wall. It was time to make a change to our niche positioning.
The decision to encompass branding within our niche made complete sense from many perspectives.
Why Include Branding Services?
While the traditional path for law firms is to offer the full range of legal services as they expand and grow, the most important consideration for me was my own interests.
I’ve always wanted to do more than just legal work. That’s why I became an in-house lawyer at Reuters. I wanted to be involved in the commercial side of life, to advise on more than just law.
The branding industry currently comprises a plethora of design related companies essentially offering visual design identity work.
Some of them delve into the business side, but essentially the problem they have is that they are running too tight timescales and therefore their clients don’t have all the time they may need in order to properly think through the business issues that arise from the branding exercise.
So, there is a high risk of simply ending up with pretty designs, as I found to my cost after my first branding exercise.
Need for More Education
So, I believe that what is needed is more branding educational providers to help businesses to properly think through their branding before turning to designers for their visual identity work.
The current branding landscape is dominated by designers. And there are many law firms who offer intellectual property services to support branding agencies.
However, none of them is helping businesses with branding support. So, nobody currently occupies the position of offering branding along with trademarks, or branding along with copyright, or branding as well as intellectual property advice and protection – until now.
That is the position Azrights will occupy
As mentioned the two disciplines are intricately intertwined in a way that perhaps branding professionals who do not work with intellectual property law are sufficiently aware.
Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so common to see brand identities based around descriptive names that are incapable of being uniquely owned. Nor would it be so common to see brands that are unprotected because the branding agency didn’t discuss legal protection when quoting for the work.
Why descriptive names are a problem
Any name may be registered with a logo, and many are. However, that doesn’t give the client any protection over the name if the name is too descriptive to function as a trade mark.
When a name can’t be uniquely owned, the client can experience a number of problems.
Every business must use a name that can function as a trade mark (that is a word mark) because having unique rights to a name is what enables the business to protect its revenues.
It always saddens me when a client comes to us because a “me too” competitor has muscled in on their turf. If the client has a descriptive name then there is little they can do to prevent the competitor stealing their market share.
A passing off action against a competitor who is using the same generic name as you would be throwing good money after bad, although I have seen many law firms take on such cases.
If you can’t uniquely own your brand name then you’re extremely vulnerable.
Branding and Intellectual Property Are Connected
Branding and intellectual property thinking need to go hand in hand. It’s no good creating the brand and then leaving the client to seek out lawyers to help them protect it.
By offering both branding and intellectual property insights, I can help clients in a unique way. Firstly, to identify a suitable niche, then to get their brand strategy and name sorted and once all that is clear, that’s when design services would be appropriate – an area that Azrights has no intention currently to occupy.
I am looking into using designers, developers and social media marketers that belong to reputable bodies who have codes of conduct to protect consumers. Or we may create our own code of conduct as well.
Mistakes people make
I see many mistakes around branding that I myself made when I first set up in business, such as paying far too much for “branding” which ultimately just consisted of some pretty designs.
I didn’t know enough about business at the time, and effectively abdicated responsibility for branding my business to a graphic design agency simply because I didn’t realise that branding was about much more than visual design work.
Much of the thinking about branding needs to come from the business owner, and these things take time. So, new businesses should avoid spending large sums of money on the logo and other designs until they’re clear about their business brand strategy. Conclusion
It’s essential to have access to a deep understanding of both intellectual property and business when you’re creating or fine-tuning your brand.
Protecting your ideas and IP as you develop your positioning, name, tagline line and business plan is what branding involves. Therefore, these are best dealt with together before seeking help with visual identity work.
This is the new Azrights niche. You’ll find plenty of Intellectual Property law firms and plenty of branding agencies, but nothing that combines branding with trademarks, branding with copyright, or branding with IP. Yet these belong together.
I feel strongly about this subject because it’s important to me to impact, inspire clients and teach clients what is involved to brand themselves so they can make their positive contribution to the world.
I have just launched a new online course called More Than Brand. It will help you get clarity on how to position your business in the market and protect your distinctiveness.
I have been hosting focused intellectual property workshops for creative agencies for a few months now. Attendees are incredibly engaged, and invariably find aspects of the workshop a real eye opener.
Intellectual property is intrinsically bound up with the work creative agencies do. Therefore, a good knowledge of Intellectual property law helps in running a creative business, as well as reducing the risk of legal complications.
For example, better to avoid an infringement claim by doing proper due diligence checks before creating a logo than waiting to find out there is a problem once the logo is already created.
Liability for IP issues
While many agencies aim to limit their liability for IP related issues by putting the onus on the client to obtain legal advice themselves, it is difficult to see how agencies could successfully absolve themselves of liability in situations where they create a new logo, or even a new name.
One of the most memorable cases involved a dispute over the Dr Martens Airware logo . Due to a lack of IP knowledge the agency was embroiled in litigation along with the client, and suffered significant time, effort and expense in the ensuing court battle. This could have been so easily avoided with the right documentation in place.
IP law essential
The role of IP law is therefore crucial in avoiding pitfalls, and positioning clients of agencies for maximum success. IP fits hand-in-glove with the creative process.
The workshops highlights the pitfalls. Then by simply offering IP services, or referring matters to an IP specialist at the appropriate time in the creative cycle, agencies are able to give their clients real help while absolving themselves of responsibility.
Contrary to popular belief the right time to refer clients is not after the creative exercise is concluded. The appropriate due diligence checks should be carried out at an early stage, because if what you intend to create or use infringes on a third party’s rights, the client has nothing worth protecting. All the effort taken in creating the identity is wasted.
The workshops help agencies to find alternatives to simply asking their client to consult their own lawyers. Many clients will not have lawyers or may never consult any lawyers because they do not appreciate the significance of doing so. The upshot is that they are at risk of using an identity that may cause problems for them down the line. That will impact their revenues, and could expose them to litigation. And it’s doubtful that a clause excluding liability in the agency’s terms would be legally effective anyway.
The next workshop is on 14 July from 3-5pm. It’s a small session for a maximum of 8 people to attend.
This session costs £40+VAT per person (or £25+VAT for early birds) and includes refreshments, as well as a copy of my book Intellectual Property Revolution.
In this post I’m going to offer some information that I think might be quite useful to you when you’re establishing a new business or product.
You’re likely to be thinking about a name, commissioning a website and logo to launch it, and considering how you will market it and so on.
Relatively few people think about the legal aspects until they’ve already chosen a name, created a website and maybe even finalised their branding. When they do turn to a lawyer it’s typically to register a trade mark, or perhaps because they wonder whether there’s anything they can do to protect their business concept.
I often ask myself why do people assume lawyers should be approached at the END of a branding or website project? It’s so strikingly different to what happens in other areas of business life. If you were about to build a house, you’d first contact a lawyer to check that you could buy the plot of land. You wouldn’t simply commission builders and take your chances that you might later secure rights to the land. The risk that someone might pop up to claim better title to the land and throw you off their turf wouldn’t be one most people would willingly entertain. Also, you’d want to know whether other people have lodged planning permission to construct buildings or roads, and whether you have all the rights of access that you need and so on. You’d know to first sort out all these ownership issues.
Maybe because intangibles are invisible people don’t really understand that there are laws – called intellectual property or IP – which govern their branding projects. The name you choose is the branding equivalent of your plot land, while other branding elements such as website projects are like the buildings you construct on the land. Intangibles are every bit as important, if not more important than physical assets of your business.
While the likes of Coca Cola have access to large branding or advertising agencies and highly specialist legal teams when making their branding decisions, small and medium size businesses don’t often have the benefit of timely proactive advice to help them to make good branding choices.
I suggest you take the time to understand the basics of IP law relating to brands so you find a suitably qualified lawyer to help you to achieve a strong brand. The requirements for powerful intellectual property rights and powerful brands are typically the same.
A specialist IP brand solicitor can advise whether the name is a good one from a legal perspective because they’ll have day to day experience of trade mark registration work, copyright issues and website projects. To get value for money from an IP brand lawyer consult them BEFORE you pick your brand name, logo and tagline or commission your website. Nothing protects a brand better than a well-chosen name or tagline. This is unfortunately not well understood that it’s the choice that determines how easy or difficult you will find it to protect your brand, and how costly it will be.
Most people assume their branding or internet professionals know all the necessary law relating to brands and websites, but they don’t. That’s not their focus or expertise. Just as you wouldn’t engage architects expecting them to also check that you can own the land on which you intend to build your house, or to know what type of locks you need to install to burglar-proof it, so it’s inappropriate to expect non-lawyers to take care of your IP rights.
The legal issues around brands and names are surprisingly complex.
Branding and internet professionals are primarily thinking about marketing, communications, and visual identity when creating websites or selecting brand elements like names and taglines for you. They may be able to do some rudimentary checks themselves to see whether a proposed name or logo is already registered by someone else, but their focus is on whether the name, tagline, logo or other component would be effective as marketing tools. An IP branding lawyer would know whether it’s a strong name which could support your business plans, as well as what checks are necessary both in the UK and elsewhere if your plans include an international dimension. It’s certainly not as straightforward as searching to see whether the same name or logo is already registered. Similar names or logos could also pose problems, and there are a host of other considerations which your lawyer is well placed to advise upon.
A real separation exists between the worlds of branding and the law. To get a powerful brand that’s legally effective involves a close collaboration between IP brand lawyers and branding professionals. Currently it is not the norm at the smaller agency end to have such collaborative working. So whether you yourself choose your name or get a branding agency to help you, make sure you don’t end up with a weak brand name. This reduces its value as a long term IP asset.
Some name choices would be the equivalent of building a house which others could regularly break into and steal from. I’ll explain why by taking the dance called ZUMBA as an example. The business that created this dance has given it a distinctive name and trade marked it in many countries worldwide. This means that anyone wanting to provide ZUMBA classes will need to be accredited by the business. Had the company instead chosen a descriptive name for their dance, such as NEW LATIN DANCE, they probably wouldn’t have a business now. Even if they’d managed to register this name as a trade mark in one country they’d have a tough time registering it in another and ultimately no matter how much money they spent, they would have not be able to prevent other people from offering classes featuring their invented dance.
So, for a business such as ZUMBA it would have been a bad idea to choose a descriptive name. Instead of collecting revenues, they’d have been spending a fortune on litigation. So, if you’ve got big plans for your business, don’t leave it till the end of your branding project to consult an IP brand lawyer. That would reduce the legal input to one of registering and protecting your IP rights, such as they are. It would be too late to give you effective advice. Registering your own trade mark and not getting any legal advice at all is an even worse decision because few people manage to properly cover the full scope of their business when they do their own registration. Your trade mark is important, so consult a specialist brand lawyer. Contact me at Azrights or look out for my book Legally Branded out in the spring of 2012.
You may have heard of voucher websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk or other offer-based sites. One such business that is causing a buzz is Groupon.
What is Groupon? Groupon is a voucher website with a difference. It is entirely unique in its own concept of bargains. Instead of giving subscribers run-of the-mill discounts such as ‘241 at Pizza Express’, it produces one-off offers with as much as 75% off services such as facials, cinema tickets, wine tasting, teeth whitening and even hiring an Aston Martin. The unique and brilliant offers are sent to your inbox daily making Groupon stand out from other voucher and coupon websites because of the massive savings and the high quality businesses that are using it to promote their business.
Anyone can access these offers by subscribing on the website to their mailing list. Once that is complete Groupon will email you every day with their latest deal for your city. There are currently 150 cities included on the site but this is set to increase as the company has been expanding at a rapid pace.
Groupon is a relatively young company, launched 18 months ago in Chicago. It has had its battles with copy-cat companies. Rather than using Groupon as a rough-guide some companies in Russia and other Eastern-Bloc countries actually used Groupon as a template for their sites right down to the web design. However, Groupon has managed to stop them.
A Social media following A reason for Groupon’s rapid expansion is its huge fan base. Using Social Networking sites this company has been able to expand nationwide and worldwide. It has a large following on Twitter, and on Facebook and this is just the UK branch. There are 24 other countries that have Groupon fans watching their in-boxes daily for cut-price excitement.
Groupon offers a small monetary incentive to subscribers for every friend they invite to the site that signs up. The deals on Groupon are available for one day only and there is a limit to the number of people that can buy them which makes the site more exclusive than other discount sites. The deals are different for each city, but you do not have to have a high street shop or restaurant to be involved – Groupon include exclusive online deals as well.
Marketing your business So, if you have a small online business, Groupon could be a way to market your company. The exclusivity and limit on numbers is ideal for small businesses looking for new customers, as it guarantees customers once you sign up to give away things or give discounts, but also means you can control the number of people who can take up your offer.
In the current economic climate when businesses may be in need of new ways to entice customers and clients, offering discounts to others, who may also have been affected by the crisis, could be worth considering as a marketing option.
Registration steps For UK based service providers their franchise site Groupon UK is the place to look. The process for registration involves sending an email to [email protected] with a basic summary of the type of services or goods you supply from your business.
We contacted them to find out more about the registration process. Their response time was not great. We were not able to get through to their support number either. Eventually they responded by email.
Use for legal services?
We made enquiries about offering trademark registration services, which are fixed price, and therefore unlike many other legal services. They informed us that they are not currently covering legal services. For law firms considering this further, it may be worth reading this piece Ethics vs. Professionalism: Is Groupon Feasible for Lawyers? by Lawyerist.com
In the early days of the internet when the web was like a small village which has just one bread shop, one toy shop or one other type of store, it was understandable that businesses were drawn to names like toys.com or books.com or hotels.com as business names not just as domain names. But with the crowded marketplace that the web has become, why would anyone want to choose such non distinctive names for their business?
Now don’t get me wrong. These are great domain names because they’re fantastic for generating traffic. But as business names they suck. Why? Because you can’t get exclusive rights over such names by way of a trade mark. See Hotels.com case which recently failed to get a trade mark despite having traded with this name for some 20 years. Sure you can register the name with a logo, but that effectively protects the logo rather than giving you a monopoly over the name.
Failing to secure a trademark over a word means that you can’t stop others using the word to attract business. So, you set yourself up with an inadequate name for brand protection. This inevitably affects the brand value too.
Imagine if Google had named itself searchengine.com. Would it have the name recognition and brand it now enjoys? Of course not. The fact that it has become one of the world’s top brands today, has quite a lot to do with the distinctive nature of the name itself.
Reading the Law Society Gazette about the aspirations of a new grouping of Law Firms QualitySolicitors one of my first thoughts as a trade mark lawyer was ‘what a poor choice of name’. Then I had a look on the trademark registers and sure enough they have had to abandon their application for the word mark, and console themselves with a logo trade mark which is currently being advertised.
They won’t be able to stop me or anyone else bidding on Google adwords for the term Quality solicitor. If they aim to become THE first household name as a solicitors brand, they should immediately rebrand and drop this misguided name. The sooner they find themselves a distinctive name the better for them. Michael Scutt also has advice for them in his article here.
When you start out in business or in any venture at all begin as you mean to go on. Assume that you will be the next major brand in your industry, the next Google, Amazon, or Nike. One thing you will notice about each of these, is the distinctive nature of the brand name they have chosen, unrelated to their target market, but memorable. If you choose a name that describes your business there would be nothing standing in the way of competitors providing similar services, under a similar name, and you would be one provider amidst a whole host of others. If you rebrand at that time, think of all your wasted advertising expenses in becoming known under your descriptive name! You would then have to spend even more letting people know about your new name. Getting it right at the beginning has to be the answer.
Branding is extremely important in business, and if only more businesses appreciated the need to consult a trademark lawyer before settling on their name. They would then know how important it is to do everything in their power to choose a distinctive, memorable name, and to protect it.
Firm Links had its inaugural meeting on 2nd June. The meeting focused on PI insurance, and proved very useful. As a result various separate initiatives have got under way. Also we decided to schedule a second meeting for Friday 10th July at the slightly later time of 8.15am. The meeting will finish at 9.30.
Agenda As before, the meeting format will be to allow for brief introductions and “elevator speeches” from everyone round the table, before moving on to discuss this month’s topic – marketing.
The latest Business Barometer reported that business confidence in the UK rose for a third consecutive month in May to its highest level in nearly a year. The survey of more than 200 businesses found that 44% expect their activity to increase during the next 12 months, compared with 35% who stated this in April. Only 16% of respondents expect business activity to decrease, down from 21% who thought this in the previous month. Do you share these thoughts? How would you describe your business confidence since the start of the year?
What are the available options for marketing legal services? Are advertisements in the yellow pages effective? How about social media? Word of mouth marketing, such as BNI? How do people cope with all the demands of running a practice, as well as marketing? Has anyone successfully outsourced marketing and what worked and what didn’t?
Is the latest news in Time Online about the legal industry facing loss of 10,000 lawyers good for smaller firms? Does it present any marketing opportunities?
Referrals As referrals are an excellent way to bring in new business for your business, one good reason to attend this event is the opportunity to discuss the different types of arrangements, such as reciprocal understandings or referral fees, and potentially meet the right people to begin or expand your referral contacts.
In general referral fees paid between lawyers are not subject to Code of Conduct rules requiring disclosure to the client (because solicitors are deemed to have sufficient independence of judgment). Whether people want to charge referral fees or not, it makes sound business sense to have a variety of other legal professionals to whom you can refer work and from whom you would hope to receive referrals.
There are still places left, so if any solicitors from firms of fewer than 5 partners would like to attend please get in touch:[email protected]
One of the more difficult aspects of trademark protection to explain to clients is that a trademark is only territorial in nature and not in fact international. This means that each trademark that is registered in each additional country will have to be dealt with as an individual. This is especially true when it comes to enforcement. A good example of a brand owner failing to do this is Deckers the makers of UGG boots.
Data protection laws regulate how personal data is used. The UK principal legislation in this area is the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA“) which implements the EU”s Data Protection Directive. If you market or intend to market goods and/or services to customers by email, direct mail, fax, telephone, or on a website, data protection laws will be relevant.