Time battle was joined in the lists

Your report on direct marketing (MW April 10) overlooked the fact that much of our DM volume comes directly from companies outside the UK, keen to exploit the market here. Some of these companies, and indeed some UK clients, do not demand data any more sophisticated than the electoral roll. This means list-brokers will continue to make money and the post will remain a source of early-morning irritation.

Although companies such as ours have been developing software that enables comprehensive “cleaning” of data, it is hard to see what incentive list-brokers have to clean up their act. We’ve been talking about list quality for years, but their responses in the main have been unprintable!

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only answer is legislation on list accreditation. I’d like to think we could all play nicely and observe a DMA guideline on the issue, but as someone who has been in the industry even longer than David Cole, I doubt it will happen. Just because you’re a list-broker, you’re not automatically a DMA member. How do we answer that?

So the gauntlet is down: the DMA has about as much bite as my neighbour’s goldfish. I wonder what others in the industry think.

Garry Bettle

Database director

Data Direct

London N7

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