Addressing the goneaway issue

While a lot of very valid points were aired in Martin Croft’s Special Report on “the murky world of goneaways” (MW May 21), I feel the poor clients were given a rather unfair press. I agree wholeheartedly with the basic argument that clients should use accurate suppression files in order to delete unwanted goneaways or deceased names.

However, I would like to point out that the responsibility and cost for this should also be shared by the list owners. There is little saving to be made in reducing goneaways, if the list costs will still apply and stationery has been ordered. This is especially true if a percentage of gone- aways mailed produce a response, either because it has been redirected or because a new householder has opened the mail and responded.

I would also like to draw readers’ attention to the often overlooked need to build suppression files into the advance planning of any campaign strategy. Spend time researching which files are available for suppression. Run a test to identify the level of matches. Agree with the list owner that the suppressed records will not be charged. Order more names to cover the percentage that will be suppressed. Finally, mail a test cell of goneaways to identify how they respond.

The educational process on goneaways and deceased suppression files that will benefit our clients and our industry most is the one that guides all good direct marketing – test, plan and test again.

Tim Pottinger

Bureau divisional managing director

The Computing Group

Crawley

Sussex

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