I was interested to read your feature on direct marketing (MW July 24). It has prompted me to relay a recent anecdote from the financial services sector. A well-known bank had apparently stopped checking its outbound mailings against an industry file of the recently deceased, because it had “run out of budget for the year, and could save money here, which would allow more campaigns to be run”.
Such behaviour combines a breathtaking disregard for the sensitivities of customers and prospects with a poor grasp of simple maths: the cost of screening will always be less than the pack cost, and as such the budgetary restraint is misdirected. When volume mailers begin to care about putting in place strong and effective data-cleaning practices, complaints will fall. Until then, they reap the aggravation that they have sown.