Back in 2012, Royal Mail claimed that it destroyed 15 million undeliverable mailings a year. The reason? Well it most likely comes down to dirty data.
Here are some statistics, which back-up why data management is so challenging:
• Home movers – six million people move home every year
• Deaths – 525,000 people died in the UK in 2016 and
• Address changes – five hundred thousand addresses change
• Name changes – around ¼ million people marry each year, causing possible changes to surnames (in most cases)
It’s therefore hardly surprising that so many mailings get destroyed. However, the truth is that if companies paid better attention to their data, the wastage would be minimised significantly.
Dirty data – the implications
Today businesses run on tight marketing budgets, meaning every penny needs to be spent wisely. Sending out direct mail to those who have moved house or passed away, as a result of dirty data, is a huge waste of money.
Not only that but dirty data can also harm your business’s reputation and lead to a loss of customers. Say for instance, you’re still sending out direct mail to a customer who has moved house. They’ll never receive your mailings and will quickly forget about your business, resulting in a waste of time, money and effort. If you were to keep your data clean, you would know that they had moved house and would be able to continue sending mailings to the right address.
Dirty data can get you in trouble with the law, which can have major implications on your business’s reputation. The Data Protection Act requires all businesses to store and manage data effectively. If you’re not regularly cleansing and updating your data, you could end up being investigated or fined, neither of which is good for your business.
A new legally binding requirement for 2018 is the EU GDPR legislation, Art.6(1)(d) states:
“Personal data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that data which are inaccurate or incomplete are either erased or rectified.”
Dirty Data – what can you do?
The simple answer to this is to keep your data clean . Make sure that you regularly update records, check for missing information and remove any records of those who have passed away or simply no longer want to receive your direct mail. The cleaner your data is, the higher return on investment you’ll achieve from your direct mail campaigns, as your mailings will actually reach customers, rather than being destroyed by Royal Mail.
Data cleansing – a constant battle
Data cleansing is not a one-off job but rather something you need to do on a regular basis. All of the following tools can be used in the battle and can be used in the fight against dirty data:
• The Bereavement Register (also called TBR) – A site where deaths are recorded and available files can be used to screen out deceased records
• Goneaway – GAS – The goneaways suppression file does exactly what it says and helps to suppress goneaways in mailings
• Mortascreen – This is a deceased suppression file, which contains only validated death records
• National Deceased Register – A privately maintained register of deaths from 2001 onwards claiming to store 80%+ of all UK deaths
• Re-mover Goneaways – A goneaways file, which claims to have 90%+ of all goneaways recorded
Call bakergoodchild for data management support
If you haven’t got the resources to do data cleansing in-house or could benefit from expert help, get in touch with the team here at Baker Goodchild. Call us today on 0800 612 1972, we can help you get rid of your dirty data and take your direct mail campaigns to the next level.
Image Credit: Judith 511