The Ark products now accessible through our new API

The Ark products now accessible through our new API

We are delighted to announce that our market-leading identification and suppression products, the National Deceased Register (NDR) and Re-mover are now accessible via our new API.

The API will give our clients easy access to the millions of records held on NDR and Re-mover. Furthermore, clients do not have to create or licence their own matching software as it provides configurable matching, providing flexibility in the level of matching required.

The API provides real-time access with an instant response on a record by record basis. Additionally, batch files can be submitted for processing at a rate of around one million records per hour.  All data is processed securely using appropriate methods to ensure client data is not accessible by any third party.

The Ark’s CEO Simon McLaven says, “We have listened carefully to the requirements and current challenges of our clients. Our product development is driven by their need to access this critical source of data quickly and easily. We have built-in configurable matching so there is no need for them to licence their own matching software. With our API, we have opened up wider opportunities to a new range of clients”.

The Ark passes rigorous independent data compliance audit by the DMA

The Ark passes rigorous independent data compliance audit by the DMA

Martin Jaggard, Managing Director of The Ark 

Oxfordshire-based data specialist – The Ark – has been accredited after passing the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) rigorous and thorough compliance audit process. Membership of the DMA is an endorsement that The Ark is a dedicated and responsible marketer.  

The Ark – which was created in 2003 – is the market-leader in helping companies of all sizes combat identity fraud and ensuring that they comply with legal regulations including GDPR. Its services include the National Deceased Register (NDR) – the country’s most accurate and reliable deceased identification file and Re-mover Goneways – which captures over 90% of all movers in the UK. 

All DMA members are subjected to a lengthy and evidence-driven process before receiving accreditation.  In the case of The Ark, it looked for evidence of its understanding of GDPR and how it was applied to the creation of identification files. It also focussed on the due diligence The Ark undertook for each data source it uses. All data companies offering PII data have to undergo this audit once every 3 years. The DMA comprises the Data and Marketing Association and the Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM) and represents over 1,000 members across the UK’s data and marketing landscape.

“The updated compliance process ensures that DMA Members continue to work to the highest standards, and that Membership remains a badge of accreditation that can be trusted in a data-driven world” commented DMA Managing Director, Rachel Aldighieri.

The Ark Managing Director, Martin Jaggard is delighted to be recognised by the DMA “Identity fraud is the UK’s fastest growing crime and with our existing products and those in development, we are in pole position to help our clients combat the threat. We are pleased that the DMA has recognised The Ark as dedicated, responsible marketers. We have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that our clients have received faultless service and look forward to their, and indeed our continued success for the rest of this year and into the next”.

Hello… is anyone at home?

Hello… is anyone at home?

If you knock at the front door of one of your customers you will know when they answer whether they are the person you are trying to reach, but how do you ascertain whether your direct mail communications are reaching the right person when you can’t visit each and every home you are contacting?

Thousands of people move home (in some cases leaving the country altogether) every year and this figure is increasing, but the lowest priority these people have is updating their contact details with every company they have ever done business with; updating address details with banks, credit card companies, utility suppliers, mobile phone providers, loyalty cards, pension providers, solicitors etc. can be a mammoth task alongside the general hassle of moving house.  Perceived as an unimportant activity for a mover, it is unsurprising that customers fail to inform companies about a change of address.

The incoming tenant often has to deal with months of unwanted post addressed to people that have long since moved away, and many people throw this away instead of returning it to the original sender.  Although a lot of direct mail is returned each year as a result of house moves and people wishing to unsubscribe from future mailings, there is a huge amount of direct mail that disappears into landfill, never reaching the intended recipient nor making its way back to the sender for removal.  Further to this, many companies never action these returns, or take so long doing so that sending continues, despite having the information that some people have moved or do not wish to receive any further communications.  This inaction on the part of the originating company can lead to negative perceptions of the business and its practices.

Research by The Software Bureau indicates that each piece of returned mail costs the originating company £4, yet many companies continue to print and send mail to these obsolete addresses, quickly amassing a huge bill that could be avoided through undertaking regular database cleansing.  Estimates put a figure of 40% of returned mail being due to unsubscription requests, and 60% being due to goneaways.  Printing and sending communications to addresses that are no longer related to a genuine customer is a waste of money and resources; funds and time that could be more efficiently assigned to attaining a cleaner and more reliable database.

One reason businesses do not remove goneaways from their databases is to avoid incurring the associated costs, but this is a short-sighted view as the costs of continuing to mail people who are not there will far outweigh that of keeping the database clean.  Using a cleansing file like Re-mover means your database will be up to date to within one month of all house moves at any given time – that is much quicker than relying on new tenants to return the odd bit of unwanted post.  If a direct mail campaign involves sending several iterations or reminders about a service, there is every chance that time and money has been invested in contacting a customer who has moved.  If the new tenant then eventually returns all the unwanted mail you could be looking at a cost of £40 per record over a period of a few months – this adds up fast and cuts into the available marketing budget as well as skewing ROI figures.

Companies that regularly use Re-mover and other suppression files will see a much better return on investment from their campaigns, a lower overall campaign cost (due to reduced print and postage costs) and a much better reputation for not sending unwanted or irrelevant postal communications.

Is it ever acceptable to knowingly mail deceased or gone away customers?

Is it ever acceptable to knowingly mail deceased or gone away customers?

During my time in the direct marketing and data industry I’ve heard first hand from several companies who (in some cases proudly) claim to knowingly mail households where the customer has died or gone away. For some this is simply a matter of not wanting to spend budget on cleaning up their act, whilst for others their justification is based on response rates.

If response rates truly are that good one has to wonder why? Is it a factor of using inaccurate suppression data or (as some of the mailers claim) simply that the current occupier of the property will probably be a similar profile to the (now departed) customer and buy their products anyway?

Whatever the “justification” is it morally right to knowingly mail these records? The FCA, British Bankers Association and the ICO would not support or endorse these practices. It’s especially wrong when the communication contains sensitive personal information which can be used by those who are minded to commit fraud or other devious acts. This aside, the distress caused by continually mailing the relatives of a deceased loved one is something any marketing manager should be extremely wary of. The Daily Mail awaits it’s next victim ……..

For us the act of mailing deceased or gone away customers / prospects is inexcusable given the tools available to any company who wants to do the right thing. By carefully selecting the right suppression files (those with a proven accuracy , not just the same old files you might be familiar with), we can help businesses to de-risk their marketing activities and save them money. We’ve all seen for ourselves what happens when an industry turns a blind eye to best practice and compliance and leaves the decision making process to external 3rd parties – I’m sure all those in the charity sector would love to be able to turn the clock back and have another go at recruiting new donors – if they could. The same could yet happen to those businesses who still won’t do the right thing – it’s probably only a matter of time before they get their knuckles rapped.

So, for anyone who still isn’t convinced that suppressing deceased and gone away records is a good thing – please get in touch – I’d really love to have that debate with you.

Martin Jaggard
Managing Director

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