Dying to Get Your Offer
Despite the economy, I still get a lot of mail these days.* So does my father. The problem is, my father passed away six months ago. His mail now comes to my house (and he gets many great offers). A few months ago, he even got a fundraising offer from the hospital where he died. That’s the definition of irony, right?
Don’t mailers know they're wasting money? Direct mail costs enough these days. So much so that it doesn’t make sense to mail someone who can be suppressed from a mailing list.
Reintroducing the Deceased Suppression File
Are you aware that there's something called a deceased file to suppress against? Most mailing houses and service bureaus can easily run your mailing list up against this file before you mail.
I was curious about how many multichannel marketers actually add this to their merge/purge processes before mailings, so I asked Gary Sierzchulski, senior account executive at the service bureau Donnelley Marketing, for his take:
“Our deceased file is compiled through information received from the Social Security Administration and is updated monthly. We see virtually all our clients use it on their housefiles once a year; some more often depending on their customers’ demographics. About half our clients use it within the merge itself against rental records.
“Because the deceased suppression is done at an individual level, we see that about a third of our clients still mail to households flagged as deceased, because other members of the household still purchase or the household is still active.”
When I asked Gary about the accuracy of the file, he stated that it's about 90 percent accurate and added the following: “Every once in a while we get a call from someone who says they're not dead. It's due to the misinformation sent to us from the S.S. Administration. That's why we now use another independent source to verify or provide us with additional names.