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FEATURE SUPPRESSION ááá relatives.”


As highlighted above, the arguments are well


rehearsed and the message does appear to have sunk in – but it never does any harm to revisit the issue every now and again to make sure the industry is still learning the lessons of the past.


NEW KID ON THE BLOCK The file stirring up interest in suppression at the minute, of course, is the new NDR deceased file from The Ark. Launched quietly earlier this year, the file has quickly gained traction in the industry and there are already many major players using it. The list is impressive: UKChanges, Acxiom, Callcredit Information Services, Experian, Cygnus (The Software Bureau), Data Discoveries and


“What we’ve tried to to do with NDR is provide a file that users can have faith in by bringing to market a fully validated deceased suppression file.” Simon McLaven, MD, The Ark


Data8 to name but a few. Despite the fact that The Ark remains very tight-lipped about precisely where the data is coming from ‘lest they lose their competitive advantage’, uptake has been impressive. Those using the file are also scoring some major uplifts against other files with Experian recording a 24% uplift and the others listed above regsitering uplifts north of 30%.


“Adding the National Deceased Register to the UKChanges’ portfolio was a no-brainer as we wanted our clients to benefit from the significantly increased deceased suppression rates indicated in our tests,” says UKChanges Director Mike Fox. “Live client files typically achieve an uplift of around 30% using NDR.” End user clients are also experiencing uplifts in excess of 30%, according to stats provided by the company.


The file itself is gathering pace too and expanding rapidly – total file size is now approaching 4 million records with an average of 32,500 additions every month.


The total number of records added in 2010 was 391,961 which, allowing for a small volume of duplicate / multiple addresses /


care home / rest home / hospice records within the file, means the NDR


covers around 69% of total deaths in the UK. Not bad from a


standing start. 34 November 2011


Simon McLaven, Managing Director of The Ark, comments: “What we’ve tried to achieve is providing a file that users can really have faith in by bringing to the market a fully validated deceased suppression file. “Once people really get the message that they


can suppress with confidence we believe that the majority will have no reason not to use it.” Not everyone has adopted NDR of course – Nectar being a high profile example – but that end user market is very much in the sights of the sales team at The Ark going forward. The debate will no doubt rage on but the fact


remains that the UK’s direct marketers are now better provided for than they’ve ever been – and choice is rarely is bad thing, as Naismith points out: “We were among the first to use NDR but we will always make use of a number of deceased suppression file providers. Which one we us depends on a number of often complex factors such as permissions and the purpose for which the file will be used but one thing is for sure: having more choice is definitely better than having less.”


The factors Naismith refers to above can be complex indeed and while McLaven may insist that someone is “either deceased or not deceased”, the reality for many marketers is


Data8 adds NDR to protfolio


Data solutions provider Data8 has become the latest business to add the National Deceased Register (NDR) to its portfolio of data cleansing files, giving its customers one of the most comprehensive ranges of data sources for customers to cleanse their data.


As well as the new NDR file, Data8 already makes use of the Mortascreen, TBR and disConnect files for deceased suppressions, meaning Data8 hase over 10 million deceased records that can be matched against client’s data. Antony Allen, Managing Director of Data8 (pictured), says: “After evaluating the National Deceased Register we felt it would significantly add to our ability offer a complete service to our clients. We are always looking at ways to expand and improve the range of services we offer to our clients and believe that now we offer the most comprehensive data cleansing service”.


rarely that simple, despite how difficult that may be to explain to a layperson.


Naismith again: “A major factor in settling on which deceased file to use in many jobs is the cost of the job being done balanced against the cost of ‘absolute proof of death’ which will depend very much upon the purpose of the mailing – a charity doing a fundraising campaign as opposed to a pension fund cancelling a


“The Mortascreen file is now the strongest it has ever been, it’s completely transparent and we can show where every record came from.” Karen Pritchard, Senior Marketing Manager, Mortascreen


pension, for example.” In other words, one will require far more certainty than the other. This is a fact reflected in Millennium’s highly regarded Mortascreen file with its 1 to 10 degree of confidence verification system. Under the system, cast iron probate data is rated 10, while insurance data is rated 8, down through varying degrees of deceased preference service and third party data at the lower end. Mortascreen remains by far the largest deceased file available on the UK market, running to more than 9 million records going back to 1995 and before, and covering up to 95% of all deaths in the UK. All data is PAF verified on a strict matching basis. “The Mortascreen file is now the strongest it has ever been, it’s completely transparent and we can demonstrate where every record came from”, says Pritchard.


SPOILED FOR CHOICE The point again is that marketers are better served than ever, and that can only be a good thing for all concerned. The age-old argument of the cost of the mail pack against the cost of screening may finally have become embedded in the marketer’s consciousness, and perhaps even helped there by the seemingly interminable tough economic times.


“The market for suppressions is ultimately driven by direct mail volumes and we know they’ve been depressed for a while now but the interesting thing is that suppression volumes are holding up,” says Richard Anderson, Business Development Director at The REaD Group. “Some clients are taking a look around at the world, seeing that things are not improving as quickly as we all hoped, and deciding that it’s perhaps a better and more sensible idea to invest in their own data and maintain the valuable asset they already have, rather than investing in ááá


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