DDS Blog

Time For A Data Spring Clean?

royal mail returns

Not Cleaning Your Data?

Spring is in the air , and it seems most companies/charities are in the midst of their SS17 mailings. So with that in mind here is the big question – How clean is your data?

How many of your customers/supporters are on the move? On average, people typically move three or more times before they are 45 and with spring/summer being the most popular time to move why not check your customer/supporter data against the various Movers Files, find new addresses for existing customers/supporters remember the cost of retention is much lower than the cost of recruitment!

On average per day 1500 people die in the UK

Why not gain some insight into the Health of your customer/charity database by utilising our our Free Online Data Health Check  (no obligation to buy the results).  Our Health Check Report is easy to decipher and from this report you can decide what, if anything needs doing with your data.

We do also offer our excellent hands on bureau service if that is what you would prefer –  Contact Us we are always happy to discuss your individual requirements.

Our advice is clean your data it is your biggest asset!!


Weathering the storm of bad management, and ultimately the demise of a ‘Middleman’ business.


For the last 20 years or so, business has been changing. Whereas once, each company would typically offer a specific set of products and services, there has been a steady shift towards outsourcing.

Many businesses now are little more than re-sellers. They offer the full package of services, and they then farm out all incoming work to a select list of providers.  Typically they won’t tell their clients that they have outsourced the work  and as long as the client is receiving the service they require at a price that is reasonable to them there is no need for them to be told. The firm that actually does the work gets paid by the Middleman, who brings in a steady and reliable stream of work. The Middleman takes his cut, and the end customer has their requirement fulfilled in a timely and cost efficient way.


But what happens when the Middleman gets into difficulty?

For companies that rely on buying in the services, what they are really selling is an image. They don’t have the expertise to deliver the services themselves so they convince their clients and prospects that they are a large, well established thriving company. As a company acting as the ‘Middleman’ they must stand up to scrutiny by ensuring they have a solid and current marketing presence both on and offline and look successful and dependable. This image making all costs money, so the business model would detail the need to recover the outlay of this money plus make a profit.  This is achieved by adding a substantial mark-up on the cost of the services they buy in but of course as in any business it is a very delicate balance between the cost of maintaining an image that sells, and the profit generated from the mark-up added on to another company’s work, and sometimes through naivety, bad management or just downright ‘working the system’ the whole thing collapses and becomes a matter for the administrators which affects the associated companies:-

When the Middleman fails, everyone loses:-

  1. The end client who has already paid for a range of products or services that have yet to be delivered.
  2. The service suppliers who will have spent time and money delivering a service for which they will not get paid.
  3. The Staff at the Middleman’s’ company who have remained loyal to the bitter end being owed outstanding wages.

While everyone can apply to the administrators to recover their losses, too often, they only win a small percentage of what they’re owed, if they get anything at all.

The knock on effect

When this happens there is always the knock on effect, where a company within the circle of the Middleman’s service providers can be tarred with the same brush and will lose out on valuable work because of it, or in the worse scenario the money owed by the Middleman is such that an associated company cannot recover and also has to fold putting more people out of a job.

Does it have to be so painful?

A well managed business can usually weather a storm. A firm that doesn’t spend more than it earns on its online presence and sales team, and focuses on ensuring it can continue to deliver the specialist services it offers, will usually still be trading long after the dust of the middleman’s collapse has settled.

Here at the Data Processing Company, for more than 20 years, we have been diligently and reliably delivering data services both direct to the end client, and through other third parties who require our services for their end client. Many of the firms we do work for have also stood the test of time. Sadly one or two have fallen by the wayside along the way. But our valued clients can be confident that all our resources go into managing the business effectively, and delivering an excellent service at a sensible price. We don’t hire a sales team, and we don’t spend an insane amount on our online and offline presence. We’re open for business, and if your middleman can no longer deliver, we’re more than happy to work directly with you. Contact


Data, Data, Data Everywhere

The data business is a funny business; your customer data is one of your biggest assets so why do so many companies spread it around so readily?

Data Co-operatives & Pool

Why have co-op databases become the dominant source of prospecting names?

According to the people in the know it is because transactional information is very powerful, but when it is overused does it lose its effectiveness?

The more companies that add their data to the pools the more information they have, not necessarily more names just more information on the names already in use.

The more information available to you the better the segmentation and targeting that can be achieved. However, ask yourself this –

How thinly spread is this data?  

How many companies with similar requirements to you are using this data at the same time as you are?

How many complaints come through from a customer, about the number of mailing pieces they have received after signing up with your company irrespective to whether they have opted in to third party mailings?

When preparing different client’s mailings, where the source of prospect names is solely from Pools/Co-operatives, I find it slightly disturbing to see the same names over and over again.

What is the answer?

Add a bit of variety to your mailing!

When I started in this business a mailing file was made up from many sources of data:-

Your customer base – a steady and predictable ROI – up to 20% (2011) whereas in 2015 same period the ROI for the same company – 8-10 %

Your dependable lists used in the past and would give an average ROI of up to 4/5% (2011) not used in 2015

Test Lists – usually recommended by a list broker based on previous ROI figures for similar companies to yours. 2/3% (2011) not used in 2015

Pools Data used as a top up to a mailing – ROI 2/3% (2011), in 2015 used as the only recruitment data – 1.5-2% ROI

You would work out the hierarchy you wanted to work to, you knew exactly which company’s data you were using and in the same token if you sold your data you knew which company was using your data.  In other words you were in control of the data you were using and selling.

The Co-operative and Pools data eventually started to feed into the various mailings and would be added at the bottom of the hierarchy as a ‘Top Up’.  Subsequently the number of companies joining these ‘Pools’ of data increased, therefore more and more data was available.  With this and Added incentives for adding your data to them the Pools have become the mainstay of the catalogue mailing business.

Not sure if you are getting the results you want?

Analyse and learn

Of course way back a consultant/analyst would be needed to create and decipher the results of your mailings,  giving you the figures within pages of static information containing numbers, tables and graphs which could take weeks to digest.

Nowadays of course there are much more sophisticated CRM/Analytical/SCV packages out there to monitor the success of your mailing, these can be accessed at the tap of a few keys so you and your team can see the results.


DPC Boardroom

Here at DPC we have our online App – DPC Boardroom which can be configured to give the results you need at a glance including KPI’s, heat maps configurable charts and reports so you can compare one season/year to the next at the click of a button.

Are you getting a disappointing ROI? Is your Customer Acquisition level at an all time low?

Does your customer acquisition graph look a bit like this?  (slightly exaggerated)

Customer Acquisition Chart


Many companies are loathe to spend money on cleaning their data as they can’t physically see the effect of money well spent.  They will concentrate on the aesthetic side of a campaign ie the art work and offers but even if your mailing pack is ‘The Best Ever’ if you data is not up to scratch those lovely graphics and offers are just going to end up in the ever growing pot of returns.

Here at DPC we encourage our clients to keep on top of maintaining their own customer files and advocate cleaning any recruitment files.


Not cleaning your data will reduce your ROI as per the below exercise run on a clients SS16 mailing

Cold Mailing quantity – 120K – Pack cost – 45p

Total Costs = £54,000

10K of this mailing file were on a suppression file – Gone Aways/Deceaseds

So our client would have spent £4,500 on mailing to themselves if they hadn’t removed the suppression matches, which cost them on average .20p per removal – £2,000 giving them a saving of £2,500 (plus the cost of recording the 10K plus returns)

House Mailing quantity – 120K Pack cost – 45p

Total costs = £54,000

5K of this mailing were matches to the Gone Away and Deceased files and 600 could be relocated to a new address.

Client would have spent £2,250 on mailing these records

Total cost of suppressing/adding movers information = £1,180

So on our recomendation our client saved themselves £3,570 overall.

Before you do a mailing check out the state of your data with our online Data Audit App (its free)  –

Not sure what to do next – we are here to help even if it is just for a chat, our advice is free too!

Just call on 01947 824710 or email –



How important are your Customers?


Data Processing Company Whitby

Of course most companies will reply with – ‘extremely’ or ‘we are customer focused’.  Are they really??

As it is widely recognised your Customer Data is your biggest asset, so why would you neglect it.

At DPC we can let you know how ‘Healthy’ your data is with our online Data Health Check site it is free and easy to use. We have built this in house using the combined knowledge of over 30 years in the industry.  We have applied the same strict rules as we use within the bureau service to this app following our company policy to provide the best service in the industry.

Or take advantage of our very experienced team by using the bureau option.  Please have a look at our new website at for more information on cleansing your data and how we can help you understand your customer information from the inside out.

Need a different approach to reporting?  With our Boardroom App – we can create bespoke reports for you providing the insight you want rather than what the industry thinks you need.


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.