Companies Do Not Know How Much Direct Mail They Are Sending
Over 54 per cent of companies worldwide are in the dark about direct mail they actually send out to clients, customers and prospects over each year. Furthermore, the financial implications of returned mail aren’t understood by 88 per cent of companies, let alone the impact on the environment and hidden costs to their brand reputation. These are the results of a global investigation commissioned by QAS Ltd – developers of QuickAddress software an Experian® company.
The global data quality research was conducted by independent research organisation, Dynamic Markets. Over 400 worldwide businesses were canvassed revealing that the lack of awareness over direct mail volumes among database owners is also compounded by a number of issues. Not only do many database owners report having multiple collection channels, they lack an address data capture system. Importantly not enough attention is paid to data cleaning and suppressing databases. The top four data challenges, according to the companies taking part in the research by QAS, are:
• Address information is of poor quality
• Contacts are out-of-date, requiring address correction
• Postcodes are frequently missing
• E-mail addresses are often not supplied
Harry Meikle, group managing director of QAS said: “Organisations are wasting money by sending out direct mail that is not relevant or reaching its target audience because of poor data quality, but because most organisations don’t track the volumes of mail they send out or receive back as returned mail, they cannot measure the extent of the data quality challenge they are facing and will find it hard to implement procedures to improve it.”
Despite 88 per cent of database owners accepting the challenges they face with data more than a quarter surveyed (27 percent) do not bother to seek advice from external source to help them improve their data quality software and processes.
Sarah Burnett, Senior Research Analyst, Butler Group, commented: “The key for businesses is to understand exactly what their ‘hidden’ costs are from returned or unwanted mail. Only then can they begin to get to the heart of the problem. Once they are in receipt of this information they then need to plan a fully integrated data strategy, which has to be led from the very top of the organisation. Data is a management issue as it directly affects brand reputation and ultimately revenues, but it is quite clear that companies are still not getting the message.”
Poor address cleaning and weak compliance
A cause for concern is that, more than a third (35 percent) of businesses around the world admit to cleaning their databases just once a year, and some never clean them at all. Over a third of businesses (thirty-four percent) also said they never run their customer data management system against suppression or preference files, and only 31 percent do so annually.
With so many businesses paying scant attention to data compliance and cleansing, it is unsurprising that database owners stated that ‘keeping up-to-date with permissions and preference service registrations’ were among their least important considerations.
Harry Meikle concluded: “Whilst there are obvious costs associated with returned mail and waste, businesses rarely think about the hidden costs of poor data management. Quite simply, these issues can only be dealt with once a data quality culture is ingrained throughout the organisation.”
Download the International Research White Paper, Meeting the challenge of data management at the QAS website.
Research methodology: This research was commissioned by QAS and covered a cross-section of countries and regions around the world: Asia Pacific, Benelux, France, Germany, Nordics, Spain, UK and USA. 800 telephone interviews were conducted with two sample groups of respondents – 400 interviews were conducted with business people, and 400 interviews were conducted with database professionals with responsibility for maintaining their company’s B2B customer and prospect databases. Respondents were split evenly by territory.
QAS (qas.co.uk) is an international provider of identity management solutions and data accuracy. The QAS QuickAddress software range is a tool to help worldwide companies capture precise address data and conserve integrity over time. Any company or business that stores data about prospects, clients, suppliers, employees and distribution networks will gain from the efficiency benefits and cost savings that QuickAddress achieves.
QuickAddress is an advanced data capture system - based on data secured leading data sources and from postal authorities. QuickAddress is a cleansing and maintenance system for name and address records. With the addition of extra data from over sixty datasets, the real potential of the original data is enriched.
The newest innovation from QAS is IDentifier which is designed to develop better processes for identity management. The primary IDentifier solution Authenticate Pro provides businesses with quick, efficient electronic authentication of individuals. This is a help in cutting costs, minimising the risk of potential fraudulent actions and providing protection against identity theft.
QAS’s Award winning solutions are the result of a fourteen year investment in technology development. QAS ensures each and every solution delivers the highest possible levels of functionality as well as service support. QAS supports more than 9,500 worldwide clients across all industry sectors. QAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Experian®, the global information solutions company.