QAS: 54 percent of firms don't know how much DM they send

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More than 54 percent of companies worldwide are in the dark about how much direct mail they actually send out to clients, customers and prospects each year.

This was a finding from of a global survey commissioned by the London office of QAS Ltd. QAS is the developer of QuickAddress data quality software and an Experian company.

The survey also found that the financial implications of returned mail aren't understood by 88 percent of companies. Nor is the environmental impact of this type of mail or the hidden costs to their brand reputation.

The global data quality research was conducted by British independent research organization Dynamic Markets. More than 400 worldwide businesses were surveyed.

QAS said that the findings showed that many database owners report having multiple collection channels, yet they lack an address data capture system.

In addition, 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--Contacts are out of date, requiring address correction
--ZIP codes are frequently missing
--E-mail addresses are often not supplied

Despite 88 percent of database owners accepting the challenges they face with data, more than a quarter surveyed (27 percent) do not bother to seek advice from an external source to help them improve their data quality software and processes, QAS said.

Also, 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 (34 percent) also said they never run their customer data management system against suppression or preference files, and only 31 percent do so annually.

Finally, the survey said that many database owners stated that "keeping up-to-date with permissions and preference service registrations" were among their least important considerations.

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