Handling Sensitive Deceased Data

By |2024-04-15T10:54:56+00:00April 15th, 2024|

E.On has been criticised for sending a personalised marketing letter to a deceased customer, urging him to reconsider leaving for another supplier. The letter was addressed to the man's executor and sent to a recently sold home in Brighton, highlighting a significant lapse in data management. This case is not isolated; similar reported instances involve the TV Licensing Authority and NHS mistakenly sending communications to the deceased, causing distress to families and raising questions about data accuracy and respect for privacy. The executor of the deceased pointed out the insensitivity of using personalisation techniques in such a context, where the letter addressed the deceased by his first name to persuade him to remain a customer. This situation underscores a critical [...]

Embracing Automation for Growth and Innovation in the Direct Marketing Industry – a pro-people approach

By |2024-04-05T11:14:05+00:00April 5th, 2024|

The direct marketing industry, traditionally slower to automate compared to other sectors, is standing on the cusp of a transformative era driven by technological advancements. With new research from Pearson predicting a net increase of 390,000 jobs by 2027 in England alone, due to automation and augmentation, the industry faces both challenges and opportunities. The Role of Automation in Direct Marketing Automation in direct marketing is not about replacing human tasks with machines. It's about enhancing the efficiency, accuracy, and reach of marketing campaigns through the use of tools that automate data processing and cleansing, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with manual interventions. From postal sortation to address data enhancement, automation can streamline operations, improve compliance, and open [...]

EU passes AI Act

By |2024-03-19T10:18:06+00:00March 19th, 2024|

The European Parliament has passed the AI Act, the first major AI regulatory framework to become law. It is being seen by experts as potentially setting an international benchmark akin to the impact of GDPR on data privacy standards back in 2018. The framework aims to ensure transparent development and utilisation of AI within the EU, establishing guidelines for AI systems deemed high-risk. In response to concerns from the tech industry about potential restrictions on innovations like ChatGPT, the legislation adopts a risk-based, tiered regulatory strategy rather than a broad, one-size-fits-all approach. It also specifies varying compliance timelines based on the perceived risk level of AI applications. The legislation categorises AI according to its risk level, delineating prohibited uses, essential [...]

Direct Mail Continues to Deliver

By |2024-03-05T08:06:41+00:00March 5th, 2024|

The latest data from JICMail reinforces our recent article about the resurgence of print (which you can read here: https://www.thesoftwarebureau.com/print-the-comeback-kid/) The research shows that direct mail is not only holding its ground, but is playing a pivotal role in driving significant commercial returns for businesses. The Power of Mail in Numbers The Q4 2023 data reveals that 6.5% of direct mail prompted a purchase, marking a notable increase from 4.8% in the same quarter the previous year. This surge underscores the evolving consumer behaviours, particularly the increasing regard for direct mail as a communication channel and the shift towards e-commerce, with 3.3% of mail driving online purchases directly. The digital footprint of mail extends further, with 8.4% of recipients visiting [...]

Are we any closer to UK data protection laws?

By |2024-02-27T07:30:25+00:00February 27th, 2024|

Ummmm – in a word, no…. Last week Secretary of State Michelle Donelan brought the Data Protection and Digital Information (DPDI) Bill back into the House of Commons to secure an extension. Its expiration has now been extended by 280 days, setting a new deadline of December 12, 2024. This extension was critical; without it, the bill faced lapsing on March 8, 12 months after its initial presentation. Following a second reading before Christmas, the DPDI Bill will now make its way through the House of Lords. However, the timeframe for this phase remains a subject of much speculation among political and data circles – particularly with an election looming. One of the more formidable tasks confronting the Lords is [...]

The Curious Case of AI-Generated Data Hacking: A Cautionary Tale

By |2024-02-05T09:30:28+00:00February 5th, 2024|

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, a bizarre new trend has emerged, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Picture this: a hacking forum on a quiet Sunday, buzzing with the advertisement of a stolen data cache from Europcar. The claim? Over 48 million customers' personal information up for sale. The twist? The data might just be a figment of artificial intelligence's imagination, specifically conjured up by ChatGPT. Europcar's response was swift, with spokesperson Vincent Vevaud debunking the claim after a meticulous examination. The inconsistencies were glaring: The purported number of records didn't match Europcar's database. Sample data was likely AI-generated, featuring non-existent addresses, mismatched ZIP codes, and bizarre email domains. None of the email addresses were found in Europcar's [...]

Why Data Hygiene for Councils is Key: Lessons from a Family’s Grieving Experience

By |2024-01-18T12:13:41+00:00January 18th, 2024|

In the wake of a family's distressing experience with Wirral Council, the importance of data hygiene in local council operations has come into sharp focus. Richard Sefton-Durrant's story about his late mother, Jane Durrant, underscores the emotional and administrative challenges posed by outdated or inaccurate data handling by councils. Jane Durrant, who passed away at 63 after a battle with bone cancer, continued to receive council tax bills at her previous address, despite having moved into supported living. This situation persisted even after her death, with her family receiving multiple letters and emails regarding her council tax obligations. This not only caused emotional distress to the family but also highlighted significant flaws in the council's data management systems. The issue [...]

2024: The Year of Do or Die

By |2024-01-08T11:54:55+00:00January 8th, 2024|

As we rang in the New Year the collapse of Communisis marked a less than auspicious start for the industry. Tom Preston-Werner’s famous quote: "You’re either the one that creates the automation or you’re getting automated” has never been more pertinent. In an era where digital transformation is reshaping industries, the direct mail sector, traditionally reticent to change, is now standing at the crossroads of innovation and tradition. The crux of this transformation is automation, a concept that is essential for the future of the industry. Automation in direct mail streamlines processes including sorting, addressing, and packaging. This mechanisation significantly reduces the time and labour involved, translating to lower operational costs and higher efficiency. By minimising manual interventions, automation also [...]

Do I have your undivided attention? Maybe not… but your mail does.

By |2023-12-06T16:48:11+00:00December 6th, 2023|

Nearly two-thirds of people say that direct mail attracts their undivided attention, according to a new report from WARC and Marketreach. Exploring the impact of mail in an attention-scarce world, the study reveals how much attention people are giving their mail across different mail types, the value of this attention, and the role of mail in comparison to other media and within the media mix. The study is based on research by Marketreach and Blue Yonder involving 1,475 pieces of mail. The findings reveal that: 63% of people give their mail their undivided attention The average time spent with direct mail is 108 seconds The average piece of direct mail persuaded 16% of recipients to consider the brand, with 9% [...]

2024: A year for data protection regulation reform?

By |2023-11-27T12:14:35+00:00November 27th, 2023|

Following its airing at the recent King’s Speech the much-discussed Data Protection and Digital Innovation Bill (DPDI) will have its ‘remaining stages’ in the House of Commons on 29 November. There are 21 possible amendments to the Bill all most of which have been referred to as ‘common-sense’ and it is expected to fly through parliament, meaning it is likely to become law early next year. The DMA supports the ratification of the Bill having been heavily involved in shaping many of its elements. Key differences to GDPR include: How personal data is defined Under DPDI information will only be considered as identifiable by a person other than the controller or processor if that other person obtains the information as [...]

Go to Top