Don’t bury your brand with shoddy data

The festive period can be of critical importance for brands as they try to compete for consumer attentions with direct mail offering seasonal catalogues, offers or discount vouchers. For brands, Christmas is potentially the most profitable time of year and typically sees a significant uplift in marketing activity and direct mail sent to customers.
But it can be a very sensitive time of year for people who have suffered bereavement; sending direct mail to the deceased during the festive period can have a detrimental effect on a brand’s reputation among loved ones left behind to receive the communication.
Sending direct mail to customers during the festive period is proven to be a good way to amplify messaging from a TV or outdoor campaign, but can equally be effective as a standalone approach, often using personalisation techniques. Planning a Christmas mailing campaign begins months in advance. A vast amount of effort goes into the creation of these campaigns from the creative to delivery, in order to secure a solid return on investment.
Nevertheless the same amount of effort needs to be put into making sure the data for the DM campaign is clean and relevant, as our recent research shockingly revealed that over 5.2 million pieces of direct mail will be sent to the deceased this December.
It is highly important that data for campaigns is subjected to suppression in order to clean it for goneaways and the deceased. Data managers need to ask their suppression suppliers important but crucial questions, for example the recency of the data, how often are the data files updated, and where the data actually comes from.
Furthermore, it is essential that data mangers are aware of the ‘source indicators’ to make an informed decision about the data’s accuracy and reliability, ultimately giving confidence in the data’s ability to precisely target. Address and data management is even more vital in today’s economic climate with marketing budgets constantly being squeezed therefore it is imperative that communications work as efficiently as possible.
Therefore it is imperative that brands make sure their data is the most recent to save them from wishing the deceased a ‘Merry Christmas’.

Jo Bell is commercial director at Mortascreen

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