Post-GDPR: Is it Time your Data had a Health Check?

19th November 2018

Did you know that each year in the UK:

  • 5 million households move house
  • 500 thousand people die
  • Half a million addresses are changed by the Royal Mail
  • 7 million company and individual details change

As a result, almost 60 million pieces of direct mail are mistargeted – sent multiple times, sent to people that have moved or to people that have passed away – each year according to The Software Bureau.

In a post-GDPR world data hygiene has become an ever more important part of an organisation’s commitment and responsibility towards handling personal data. This is why we recommend that you use reputable suppression files to identify and remove the names of customers who have either passed away, moved house or changed their details.

Here we take a look at the four main suppression files you should use to combat the £1 billion wasted each year by UK businesses:

  1. Deceased suppression files

These identify the names of customers that have passed away which should be removed from your database.

Sending a piece of direct mail to someone that is deceased is not only a waste of money (because that person can no longer respond), but it can be extremely distressing for the family members that are left behind.

On top of that it can damage your reputation too. Recent research has revealed that two thirds (66%) of consumers would boycott an organisation if they received a piece of direct mail in the name of a loved one that had died.

Before you buy a deceased suppression file you need to check that the data comes from reputable sources such as from registrars or probate services.

  1. Gone-away suppression files

These enable you to find out the names and addresses of people that have moved house, which again should be removed from your files.

UK residents are some of the most prolific home movers in the world. Stats show that on average Brits move eight times in their lifetime. As a result, around 11% of the population, or seven million people, move every year.

This means that your customer data, if left unchecked, is likely to be inaccurate. As with deceased mailings, sending a mail pack to someone that has moved is a waste of money.

Gone-away data is compiled from various different sources, and the quality of it can vary. You need to check that the data you buy has been sourced from a credible redirection service provider, as these sources are almost 100% accurate.

  1. Home-mover suppression files

These enable you to find your customers who have forgotten to tell you that they have moved house.

Typically, movers have 39 essential or important organisations to inform of their relocation and consequently non-essential companies fall to the bottom of the list.

Research shows that when asked to rank the organisations that people would tell they were moving house; heavy direct marketing users including retail, charity and entertainment sectors were at the bottom of the pecking order.

In a post-GDPR world it’s important for you to maintain your relationships with your existing customers, because gaining consent, or proving legitimate interest is much harder to do. So, retaining your permissioned contacts no matter if they move house is essential.

  1. B2B suppression files

These are relevant for business to business communications. They will show you which businesses have moved or closed down. Some files can also tell you which individuals have moved jobs or died.

Business data decays at more than three times  faster than that of consumer data, meaning that within four months a third of records within your business database could be out of date. In addition, here in the UK one business moves every six minutes. It is therefore little wonder that research has found that two thirds of the 1 billion items of addressed mail sent to businesses contains one or more errors.

At Howard Hunt, we know that your most valuable asset is your customer data, which is why we recommend you cleanse your data frequently.  For more information on how we can help maintain your data hygiene, call our team on 01322 414 000 or click here to complete our contact form.