DM should beware being re-enthroned

Lucy Barrett’s article (MW July 24) on the corrosive effects of badly executed direct mail drives home some serious concerns which the DM industry must tackle without delay.

While the industry may have lost its “king of complaints” crown for a (short) while, it cannot afford to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief.

As a data services provider, one of the most perplexing issues for GB Group is that direct marketers continue to mail people who have died.

We recently revealed that, more than 260,000 of the names and addresses in a sample of 4 million customer records regularly used by a mixture of financial services, retail, mail-order, utility, travel and leisure companies, belonged to deceased people.

This figure is by no means representative of every business in these sectors, but it illustrates that some are continually mailing the relatives of people who have passed away – which can be extremely distressing for those on the receiving end.

Marketers know that they can clean their lists and remove the names of deceased people, but many choose to ignore this relatively inexpensive and simple option.

And the apathy doesn’t stop there. The lack of simple insight by direct marketers, which manifests itself in “junk”, or untargeted mail, alienates thousands of customers each year.

Leaving the Direct Marketing Association to mop up marketers’ mistakes by offering consumers the opportunity to opt out of mailing lists is farcical – it’s up to the industry to use its vast resources to gain intelligence on consumers.

I totally agree with Andrew Greenyer that some direct marketers’ apathetic attitudes towards customers must change, before consumers decide to put themselves out of reach.

David Green

Head of marketing

GB Group

Chester

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