Hard times bring suppression to the fore

I think I can safely say that the last 12 to 18 months have been difficult for most businesses. At the beginning of the downturn, SPA members were largely optimistic about the future and not without good reason – it’s entirely logical to surmise that suppression would boom in a downturn. 

After all, it is effective way of increasing ROI and savings for the end user and it drives revenue for resellers. Despite this, 2009 was not the boom year for suppression that many had originally predicted and no-one has felt this more than the data bureaux battling it out on the frontline.   

In order for us to weather the current financial storm, we need to understand why things have been so tough for those of us offering suppression services. Perhaps it’s because companies are more focused on surviving and have put good data strategy at the bottom of their boardroom agendas. Or it could be that data volumes have fallen to their lowest level for 20 years?

SPA, which was set up a couple of years ago to both promote and demystify suppression, has continued with its audit programme (both overt and covert) that have identified that clients and resellers have very different perceptions about where suppression sits within the marketing mix. The latest audits show that misunderstanding and confusion still prevail among those bureaux audited. 

It was found that the staff responsible for compiling the royalty reports had insufficient help and best practice guidelines from suppression providers. It is therefore of little surprise to find that most of the bureaux audited were found to have mistakes (some large, some small) in their reporting.

SPA recognises that there needs to be greater uniformity in both terminology and practice from your data suppliers and that we need to strive to encourage a higher level of engagement when it comes to providing royalty reports. Ultimately, it is never too late to update and improve your suppression practices. As has always been the case, good data strategy will save you money, protect your brand and enhance you relationship with your clients.

By Colin Lloyd, chairman of the Suppression Providers Alliance

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