The direct marketing industry has expressed astonishment at the naivety of a BBC Radio 4 report which claimed the Corporation had “discovered” that charity marketers actually buy mailing lists to target potential donors.
The You and Yours consumer rights programme bizarrely claimed it had a virtual “world exclusive” that “some of the UK’s biggest charities – including Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie, NSPCC, Save The Children and The British Red Cross” – had admitted to such a practice.
In what will no doubt raise howls of “we wish” in the list broking industry, the Beeb added: “Lists cost about £140 for 1,000 names.”
“Buyers can choose to spend more should they wish to target people of a certain age, gender or geography. Names and addresses can be rented from marketing companies from files with headings such as ‘The Repeat Giving File’, ‘Charity Mail Order Buyers’ and ‘Donors to Alzheimer’s Causes’.”
One industry source said: “Where have the BBC been for the past 20 years? It’s nearly as ridiculous as the Daily Mail slagging off ‘junk mail’ despite the fact that it sells its readership data to all and sundry.
“To try to dress up the fact that charity marketers are buying in data as some sort of shock story is laughable. How do they think BBC Worldwide makes its money? By selling DVDs on street corners?”
Rapp has handled the BBC Worldwide direct marketing account since 2014.
Another insider added: “It is rather worrying that a radio programme which claims to be fighting for consumer rights has not got a clue about how our industry works. Maybe if they actually bothered to call someone up who worked in the list sector they might then be able to pass that information on to their listeners, rather than try to turn direct marketing into a pariah. Frankly, it’s a disgrace.”
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