By Ian Wilson
Around 1.5 million people move house each year and over 500,000 people unfortunately pass away. This level of constant change can lead to data decaying at rates of over 30% per year for some organisations. The Office of National Statistics estimate up to 110 items of mail can be sent to the deceased in the 12 months after their death.
Sending mail to people who have died or moved house is more than just a waste of printing and postage costs. When a business chooses to send mail without removing these recipients the only message being communicated is ‘the brand does not care about its customers’. Relatives of the deceased or new occupants are of course highly likely to see the brand negatively when they receive this type of mail. This Lean DM in-focus article takes a look at how goneaway and deceased suppressions can reduce this waste and prevent brand damage.
Goneaway and deceased suppression files enable mail users the ability to remove the records of those that have moved or died. These suppressions can either be applied for a single mailing or, for a slightly increased royalty, can be remove them from the database forever. By removing the inevitably unresponsive records from the mail file, response rates are likely to increase and the overall cost of the campaign can be reduced as savings are made on the printing, enclosing and postage costs. There are dozens of suppression file providers, all with their own unique way of sourcing and validating when someone moves home or passes away. Most prominent providers have files into the many millions of records built up over 10 years or more.
Some mail producers are of the opinion that suppressing deceased or goneaways is counter-intuitive. They take the view that suppressions mean lower volumes and therefore must mean lower profits. However, screening incoming client data against suppression files offers an opportunity to save your clients money while also improving margins. Many mail producers charge a premium on the suppression royalty fee charged by the file provider while also charging for the data processing service itself. These fees often outweigh the profits generated on the records that would have been mailed had suppressions not been applied.
Cygnus, from The Software Bureau has an embedded suppression module which stores more than 400 million suppression records directly within the offline application. These suppression files are provided by the most reputable sources such as Royal Mail, Experian, Equifax, REaD Group and many others. Encrypting and embedding them into the application has a number of benefits.
1. Speed of use
Without using an embedded suppression service like Cygnus, data has to be uploaded to an online service part way through a data processing job. This takes longer and introduces more opportunities for errors to creep into the job. The Suppress module within Cygnus is blisteringly fast and returns results in minutes, irrespective of input volume.
With more than 15 Suppression lists to choose from within Cygnus, many clients apply the individual files selectively, according to cost and specific client’s requirements. The Software Bureau provides updates to all files on a monthly basis. Updates are managed through the application itself to ensure a seamless update process.
As the data doesn’t leave your site, you remain in control of its use. Data standards and client security requirements are more easily satisfied by keeping the data on-premise and offline.
The Software Bureau has over 100 installations of its Cygnus software. The extensive use of suppressions within Cygnus has been rewarded with a royalty rate likely to be lower than if it were to be negotiated by a single user. Similarly, Cygnus users can configure the suppression hierarchy to match with the cheapest files first, to ensure the most cost effective suppression match is applied. Embedded suppression also provides access to all the major industry files without the need to have individual agreements with each provider. This reduces bureau overheads significantly.
Goneaway and Deceased suppression is just one component of Lean DM. To learn more, why not download your free 30-page guide from The Software Bureau. Should you wish to arrange a demonstration of Cygnus or undertake a free trial, please contact us