• Spring

Covid-19; the impact on direct mail strategies.



As we work towards the new normal, I have spoken to numerous independent retailers facing a similar challenge – the need to increase direct mail activity in order to recover revenue lost during the last ten months, and more significantly, remain sensitive to the mood of the country.


Today more than ever, it’s critical to make sure that mailing files contain as few deceased records as possible, preferably none. The question I frequently hear is; can I do more to stop mail arriving to a recently bereaved relative.

At this time, it is vital that customers can rely on their personal data being treated with respect by data controllers. Sending mail to the deceased and upsetting newly bereaved families is an unquestionable way to destroy loyalty to your brand and values that you have worked so hard to build.


Before the pandemic, when we undertook a death suppression process for garden centre clients we discovered they had on average 1% of deceased customer records they were mailing to. So, for a garden centre with 15,000 customers, there could be as many as150 deceased within that database, pre 2020. In the planning of a direct mail campaign, it’s important to know that mailing to deceased individuals can not only lead to a potential GDPR breach; but is also one of the most frequent complaints received by the Information Commissioner. It is also a huge waste on budget for what is a very simple process to undertake.


This year we have seen the shocking death toll from Covid-19 and we continue to witness its devastating effect on much of the UK as we begin 2021. Everyone has been, and continues to be, affected by the pandemic. Mailing deceased records can produce negative feelings on your brand reputation and, in this current climate, you really need to be building strong relationships more than ever before. The last outcome any retailer wants is to cause distress through their marketing activities, particularly while the whole country is feeling vulnerable.

If you are unsure of managing the process or unclear on how you put a direct mail strategy together, we can provide a free guide to the evaluation of your data and ways to reengage your customers with sensitivity and connection.


As always, stay safe and let’s focus on a better year for everyone.