Firms urged to act on £145m bill for mailshot returns

Marketers are being urged to set up their own in-house “do not mail” lists on the back of a new report which claims companies are wasting over £145m a year by failing to manage their direct mail returns.
According to a study by the Software Bureau, 60% of marketers do nothing about direct mail returns, despite it costing them £4.02 per returned piece of mail.
With about 90 million pieces of direct mail (2.5% of all mailings) returned to the sender each year, 40% (equivalent to 36 million mailshots) are returned due to the recipient’s wish to be removed from the marketing database.
The Software Bureau estimates this equates to a loss of potential revenue of £116m and £29m in wasted production costs.
So-called “reverse marketing” enables organisations to compile in-house do not mail lists that can be screened against future campaigns, reducing the volume of mistargeted mailings, saving money and improving the reputation of the organisation among customers.
The study revealed B2B organisations to be the worst culprits, followed by retailers, credit card providers, retailers, pension providers and charities. Conversely, local government was found to be the most responsible.
Software Bureau managing director Martin Rides said: “The fact that every piece of returned mail costs businesses £4 is incredible – this soon adds up to thousands of pounds a year.
“Reverse marketing is a key component to reducing the volume of mistargeted direct mail. It is shocking that only four in 10 organisations manage their returns and more importantly learn from them.
“With the advent of GDPR and increased scrutiny from the media and legislative bodies it is crucial that organisations focus on data hygiene.”

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