Clean data key to effectiveness

As the market leaders in home movement and suppression, I was surprised by your direct marketing feature, The Right Stuff (MW April 22) which questions the “true value of data gathered from data providers” and whether “sophisticated, high-cost lists always provide a better return on investment”.

The fact remains that these days positive targeting only represents half the story. Any data refinement exercise needs to combine negative data as well. In other words, you can profile all you want at the front end, but if you don’t remove goneaways and the deceased from a mailing file then it will not perform as well.

A list specialist can be of benefit to a company, both in terms of its reputation and financial gain. By cutting back on an accurate list, companies are gambling their reputation – no one respects a company which is wasting money mailing someone who has left that address.

Most companies will mail an average of five per cent goneaways on any direct mail campaign, simply by not implementing the most basic of checks on lists. In 1998 alone the UK direct marketing industry wasted a staggering 43m in mailing goneaways and deceaseds.

Far from being expensive, we only charge for each person identified as goneaway, so companies cannot fail to get a better return on investment.

Ironically, the recommendation to use the Electoral Roll exacerbates the problem, as the data, at best, is between eight and 21 months out of date. The reality is marketers are so pre-occupied with justifying the cost of a direct marketing campaign, that they forget to investigate the most obvious ways of saving money.

Mark Roy

Group managing director

The REaD Group

(e-mail)

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