Data Cleansing is a Must!

royal mail returns

We have heard a lot in the media recently questioning the use of personal data within the Charity Data industry. High profile cases of data being shared and sold indiscriminately have prompted both industry regulators and legislators to impose ever tightening controls.

The charity sector is the first to find itself in hot water because of a sometimes overly relaxed attitude to data quality and ethics, now that the charity sector has been brought to task, it is inevitable that the commercial sectors will be next to come under scrutiny. In commerce, everything ultimately comes down to money, specifically to profit.

There are two ways to increase profit:- increase income, or reduce costs. Unfortunately it seems that in efforts to reduce cost, data quality is increasingly often overlooked, but as we can show, this is almost always a false economy. Most companies recognise the importance of screening their mailing lists against MPS, because they can get fined if they cold mail people who have opted out. Many also recognise the importance of screening against mortality suppression data, as mailing the deceased causes upset, and may result in brand damage. But what about people that have moved away? Increasingly, this is overlooked. Naturally there is a cost associated with suppressing gone-aways. This may, by some, be considered to be an unnecessary cost, which equals a drop in their profit margin.

Here at The Data Processing Company, we process mailing lists for a broad range of clients. Using our many years of experience and accumulated knowledge we advise the client on the most economic and ethical action to take, but ultimately it is the client’s decision. Recently we ran a cold mailing file received from one of our clients through our Online Data Health Check site and the results speak for themselves there was a total of nearly 18K Gone Aways reported.


See how much money you could potentially save.

Please note that this is just an estimate and actual figures may be different Cost per mailing : £0.45 BEFORE HEALTH CHECK Mailable Addresses : 240,009 Mailing Cost : £108,004.05 AFTER HEALTH CHECK Mailable Addresses : 221,682 Mailing Cost : £99,756.90 Potential Saving £8,247.15 After the cost of the suppressions £4,365.10

The Data Processing Company also handles the returns for a number of clients some have since moved their Data Processing work to a new supplier and, subsequently to them not running the full suite of suppressions against their prospect data, we are now receiving possibly 3 to 4 times the number of returns we would normally see for these clients. There is of course a cost associated with processing the returns. As the returns are physical hard copy rather than data in electronic form, they have to be handled manually. This is inevitably more expensive per item than it would have been to simply suppress the records most likely to bounce.

In our example, if 10% of the gone-aways were returned and had to be manually processed, that would cost around £1832 to process. So with the potential saving of £4,365.10 saved by not mailing them in the first place, and the £1832 saved by not having to process the returns, the actual saving from a single mailing would be over £6 thousand. So what about the less calculable effects?

The average consumer increasingly cares about the environment, about data privacy, and about clutter. People want to know that the companies they choose to do business with, and give their hard earned cash to, care about them and the environment. Unsolicited mail addressed to a previous occupant who moved away years ago, is junk mail, and junk mail is damaging to the brand.

Check out your own data using our Free Data Health Check website – It is easy to set up a free account and once your file has been uploaded the process is extremely quick. If you are happy with the results there is also an option to pay and download the clean file. Or contact us to discuss any of your Data Processing needs.