Dignity Marketing Plans Suppression List for Deceased

Dignity Marketing will make a suppression list containing names of the deceased available to direct mailers and telemarketers within a month, the Charlotte, NC-based company said yesterday.

Use of the list will reduce wasted mail and calling time, said Jim Veilleux, president of Dignity Marketing. He estimated that direct marketers contact 2 million people who are deceased each year, using 40,000 tons of paper and angering grieving families.

“My belief is that what a mailer or telemarketer is doing when marketing to the deceased is actually reducing the chance of ever selling to that family,” he said.

Family members of the deceased may register their loved one's name at www.addressguardian.com or by mail. Online registrants must provide the funeral home's name, while offline registrants can provide the funeral home or a copy of the death certificate. Registration for consumers is free until July 15, after which the service may remain free if Dignity gathers enough names, or else cost $10 per name registered.

The company will market the service online through banner ads and on grief-support sites and other related areas. Offline, Dignity Marketing will focus on hospices and environmental groups, appealing to the paper savings when contacting the latter group.

The list should have about 500,000 names by this time next year, Veilleux said. A pricing model has not been determined, but Veilleux said he hopes to charge marketers on a “per-hit” basis, or based on the number of names removed from their calling and mailing lists due to use of the suppression list.

Veilleux said he would prefer an honor system whereby marketers use his list and voluntarily pay based on the number of names removed. If necessary, Dignity Marketing is prepared to scrub client lists.

In addition to consumer registration, Dignity is gathering names of the deceased through funeral homes, which can offer families the chance to place a loved one's name on the list when they make funeral arrangements. Names also will be gathered from trust and estate attorneys, who receive much of mail sent to deceased people.

About 1.5 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. population dies every year, Veilleux said. He estimated that a similar number of deceased people are currently on compiled lists in use by marketers. For response lists, the rate could vary from very low for younger demographics to 6 percent or more for elderly demographics, he said.

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