Latest News

  • Getting Data Protection Right As Cambridge Analytica Scandal is a Stark Reminder of the Fragility of Consumer Trust

      The data industry is used to its fair share of media and consumer scrutiny. However, the latest scandal will irrevocably damage consumer perception and it will take a long time to recover – if ever. In the past the use of profiling was an acceptable form of marketing and it largely flew under the radar. This all changed after the Olive Cooke tragedy in 2015 which resulted in a...
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  • Facebook admits over a million Brits hit by data scandal

    Facebook has admitted that the Cambridge Analytica data slurping scandal has actually affected way more people than first revealed, with up to 87 million consumers – including over 1 million Brits – now thought to have had their information exploited. Read full article here... View more

  • Successful Fundraising Post GDPR

    Charities continue to play a vital role in our society. According to Charity Financials, in 2016, charities spent over £62.5 billion on their charitable activities, which equates to £171.4 million each day.  However, charities are facing an increasingly challenging time given the current political and economic climate. The Fundraiser, Smee & Ford and Charity Choic...
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  • Should cyber insurance be part of your GDPR compliance preparation?

    New research reveals that the raft of recent ransomware attacks which affected corporate giants including WPP, FedEx and telephonica has had very little impact on the cyber insurance market in the UK. Despite the fear factor caused by these attacks UK organisations are not taking out cyber insurance policies despite the global market being worth an estimated $2.5 billion. But with more stringen...
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  • Consumer concern grows over what happens to their data when they die

    The latest figures from the ICO reveal that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned by inaccurate data held on them by organisations. Last year it was the third highest complaint made behind queries on subject access and disclosure of data. Excessive/relevant data and retention of data also made the top 10; all racking up more queries than the previous year. It is fair to say that...
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  • Previous occupier fraud spiraling out of control

    New research reveals that record numbers of home movers are falling victim to identity fraud. Over the last year, what is termed 'previous occupier' fraud, which occurs when the new residents of a house hijack the identities of previous occupiers in order to apply for credit and loans, has risen by a staggering 5.6 per cent.  However, it is likely that th...
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  • AML, KYC and Deceased Identity Fraud: Are you compliant?

    Research shows that over half of pension providers have not tested their internal fraud controls for more than a year which is in breach of regulatory guidance that calls for internal controls to be reviewed “at least on an annual basis". A number of banks and credit providers have also been found in breach of the legislation. However, on 26th June this year more...
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  • PROJECT MANAGE YOUR WAY TO GDPR COMPLIANCE

    Seemingly not a day goes by without another damning report outlining how woefully unprepared organisations are for the onslaught of GDPR, which is now less than a year away. It appears that scaremongering is the order of the day, but this aside, for many compliance will be no small undertaking but ultimately it is not optional. By 25th May all organisations will ...
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  • The importance of deactivating social media accounts of the deceased

    The latest statistics show that 84 per cent of UK adults are social media users with at least one active account. And it’s not just the younger generations, a quarter of over 65s log into a social media account daily. There is no denying that Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram et al are now an inexorable part of our lives. And as they become more entrenche...
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  • Tick tock - Are you ready for GDPR?

    With exactly one year to go until the dreaded GDPR comes into force. We review just a fraction of the research that has hit the headlines in the past few days: ICO fines set to soar by 4500% warns Alchemetrics http://www.dbm.today/ico-fines-could-soar-by-4500-post-gdpr-says-alchemetrics/ 84% o...
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  • DMA provides GDPR advice for charities

    According to an article by Civil Society (15th May) The Direct Marketing Association has said that focusing purely on a fully opted-in consent model for fundraising is “not totally necessary” under GDPR, as it is only one of six legal grounds on which personal data can be processed. View more

  • DM as easy as ABC

    When it comes to arguing for budget, accountability has always been a sore point for direct marketers. This is because direct mail is the only mass-media channel that does not have an official measurement standard. Magazines and newspapers have ABC and NRS, TV has BARB, radio has RAJAR and the internet has UKOM. Love them or hate them (and there are scores of arguments against) these industry f...
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  • Permission marketing: Understanding what data you can use when

    With GDPR now only a year and a month away, permission is increasingly becoming a watch word for marketers. Direct marketing, and particularly direct mail due to its personal nature and tangibility, will always be a powerful part of the marketing mix – but only so long as it is correctly used, as the Met Police has found out. Thirty thousand gun owners in the Capital recently received a...
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  • Good news for marketing

    Two pieces of good news for the marketing industry this week: Firstly marketers have revised their budgets up in the first quarter of the year according to the latest IPA Bellwether report And secondly, this trend is expected to continue as a result of the snap General Election called this week The Bellwether reports a four and a half year high with a net balance of 12 p...
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  • Wonga attack means increase in deceased identity fraud

    The most recent data breach, which has been coined the worst to date, is estimated to impact up to 270,000 customers of payday loan company Wonga.com. Initial investigations reveal that personal data including names, addresses and card details have been unlawfully accessed and the organisation is urging those affected to be vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. But it is...
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  • Why data management is now top priority for businesses

    New research reveals that nearly half of UK companies are not compliant with the 1998 Data Protection Act, let alone being anywhere near ready for the introduction of GDPR next year. This latest study comes in the wake of two large brands being fined by the ICO for contacting customers that were off limits. Flybe was found to have sent more that 3.3 million emails to people that...
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  • Marketing to the deceased could cost fundraisers £267 million despite legacy donations being at an all-time high

    Following the ICO’s ruling that many charities are contravening the Data Protection Act through their use of wealth screening, data appending and data matching; fundraising professionals were due a bit of good news. And here it is - in the form of a spike in legacy gifting. Over the past 12 months legacy donations have risen by 10 per cent amounting to £143million in additional bequests. <...
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  • GDPR – Guidance on consumer consent

    A few weeks ago the ICO was very clear about how it defined permissions around profiling, data matching and data appending at the Fundraising Compliance conference in Manchester. In short, it finds how these practices are typically used ‘unfair’ and therefore in contravention of the DPA. In a similar vein it has now published a guidance note on consumer consent in advance of GDPR and is asking ...
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  • The impact of a rising life expectancy on marketing

    New research reveals that South Korean women will be the first in the world to have an average life expectancy above 90. The study by Imperial College London and The World Health Organisation analysed the lifespans of 35 countries and predicted that all would see people living longer in 2030 and the gap between men and women would close in most places. The US performs poorly and...
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  • Charity fundraising update

    Yesterday the ICO, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator held a joint conference to clearly set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation. ICO, Elizabeth Denham called for positive change for the sector. She was keen to stress...
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  • Countdown to GDPR

    With less than 500 days to go until GDPR comes into force a new research report reveals that less than half of UK businesses (47 per cent) have the faintest clue as to the new directive. For those of us at the coalface it seems impossible that anyone; not least a marketer or IT professional, can have escaped the long arms of GDPR – but apparently they have! The issue here is how to reach the 53...
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  • Bad news for financial services and retailers - Identity fraud takes top fraud spot

    Identity fraud; where personal information is stolen and then used fraudulently to secure a loan or credit, is now the most prevalent form of fraud in the UK. The league table compiled by the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University Portsmouth and Privilege Home Insurance ranks fraud affecting individuals based on: The percentage of people subject to an attack The aver...
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  • Deceased mail volumes set to soar in 2017

    According to research from data specialist Wilmington Millennium, mortality trends show that levels of 'deceased mail' will this year increase by 100,000.   A surve...
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  • Five reasons why direct mail will thrive in 2017

    The direct marketing industry, according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, is in rude health; having not only realised greater investment by clients during the last quarter of 2016 but is also tipped by the panel  to grow significantly throughout 2017. Direct mail, in particular, has been singled out as the star channel and pundits believe that it could return to the hey days of mail...
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  • Prevention is better than a cure: deceased identity fraud

    This week a mother and daughter were released on bail after being found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud to the tune of £1.2 million. The daughter rented a flat in London knowing that the landlady had recently passed away. Once she had access to the property she persuaded he...
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  • Direct Mail left unscathed by DMC

    A new report from the Direct Marketing Commission, the body that oversees the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) reveals that direct mail is the most responsible form of direct marketing.  The DMC received 230 complaints from businesses and consumers in the last year mostly concerning the clarity of the consents that businesses believe they have when marketing by telephone, text or e-ma...
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  • Why DM volumes are set to increase in 2017

    Shocking new research from Neilson reveals that half of online ads don’t reach their intended recipients. Obviously that means that one in two ads are served to someone that doesn’t fit the profile. In our minds that is the definition of a scattergun approach! Only last week there was another incidence of a minor receiving an ad for an adult-themed product. If the same approach was taken by dir...
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  • The true cost of dirty data is a great deal higher than estimated

    Royal Mail has released new research into the cost of dirty data and its findings should send a warning to organisations that fail to keep their customer data up to date. According to the research by the Data Services team out of date data could be costing companies up to six per cent of their annual revenues – a figure not to be sniffed at. This equates to an average of £30,000 per yea...
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  • Is Amazon about to become the don of direct marketing?

    Four years in the making, Amazon has announced its latest development, next generation grocery shopping. It is opening a physical supermarket in Seattle. But unlike its rival's stores in the sector it is totally checkoutless. Using smart technology the products are uploaded to customers’ app as they select them from the shelves and as they walk out of the door the balance is charged to their Am...
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  • Do consumers really hate direct marketing?

    If you were anything like us you will have been overrun last week by direct mail, emails, Facebook alerts and tweets with offers from retailers trying to flog you their wares on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Seemingly this year, however, to alleviate the pandemonium experienced on the High Street in previous years, it was less of Black Friday and more of Black Week with shops spreading their o...
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  • Why the recent trend for moving house could wreak havoc for marketers

    As 2016 draws to a close it seems that record numbers of people might be on the move as the cost of a mortgage reaches an historic low for both first time buyers and home movers, now down to 17.7 and 17.8 per cent of household costs respectively. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has said that the reduction in the base rate in August has provoked a significant increase in mortgage applications; t...
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  • TESCO AND FRIEND FINDER HACKS WILL LEAD TO DECEASED ID FRAUD

    Accompanying Trump on the front pages this week have been two more very public data hacks. The first breach affected Tesco Bank customers. Cyber-criminals stole £2.5million from the current accounts of 9,000 customers – the largest ever cyber-attack on a UK bank to have resulted in a mass loss of money. One in 15 of the bank’s 136,000 current accounts were affected. Tesco Bank responded quickly...
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  • Trumps big data and his 34 million dollar need for suppression

    For the outsider the American election is as gripping as an outstanding TV drama. It is hard to believe it’s real!  And as the days tick down to next week’s polling there will inevitably be more plot twists and turns by both candidates each worthy of a season finale cliff hanger. It is hard to escape all the media coverage that the election is generating, but we were very interested by ...
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  • Putting the phone down on nuisance calls

    Which? consumer group, has over the weekend,  scored a massive victory over nuisance calls. New legislation which comes into force next year will mean that company directors of nuisance call firms will be liable for personal fines of up to half a million pounds. The ICO will also continue to be able to issue a fine to the company meaning sanctions could total a million pounds. The move comes in...
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  • And then there was data hygiene

    This week the US celebrates all things direct marketing at the DMA’s annual conference (#andTHEN16), this year held in LA. Unsurprisingly data has been high on the speaker agenda with almost everyone making the point that not every piece of data is valuable, it’s what you do with it that counts! This is of course true and will become more so in Europe after the introduction of GDPR in 2...
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  • Trust and transparency key to future business success

    The ICO has launched a new code of practice for all UK organisations that collect and use customer data. This is the first guidance note since Elizabeth Denham took over from the previous ICO Christopher Graham. It explains how businesses must comply with the existing Data Protection Act and the upcoming GDPR which comes into force in 2018. It calls for organisations to become more tran...
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  • Call for the direct marketing industry to unite

    Direct Marketing magazine Decision Marketing is launching a campaign to reinvigorate the much maligned TPS. Sadly nuisance calls remain the blight of many UK consumers, with some people receiving as many as five calls per day despite being registered with TPS. The issue is that rogue firms ignore TPS and consequently those registered will still receive the PPI, solar panel, car crash ca...
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  • Are consumers really bewildered and fearful of data?

    New CIM research reported by the BBC this morning reveals that nine in 10 people have no idea what companies do with their personal information. It also found 57% did not trust the companies to handle their data responsibly and that over half (51 per cent) had been contacted by organisations that had misused their data. The body believes that personal data policies should be clearer and...
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  • Why a bereavement process is crucial for UK firms

    Not content with losing customers through its very public data hack last year, mobile giant, TalkTalk is now looking to repel new business through shoddy customer service. As reported in the Sunday Times at the weekend the organisation handled a sensitive issue with one of its elderly customers extremely badly. The pensioner in question tried to cancel her account because she had moved into a r...
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  • The Digital Economy Bill and what it means for Direct Marketers

    Today The Digital Economy Bill gets its second reading in Parliament. It had its first outing on 5th July, however, this stage was just formality and takes place without any debate. The second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill.  Once the debate has been opened the official Opposition spokesperson will respond with ...
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  • The Big Cost of Small Data

    A new study by Ground Labs has revealed that consumers are completely in the dark about how much personal information UK companies hold on them. 54 million people believe that fewer than 20 organisations hold their personal information, whilst a quarter assume it to be less than 10. However, when confronted with a list of common service providers and companies that might hold their info...
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  • Why small data is as important as big data

    Whilst many of us were soaking up the welcome rays of summer sun over the long weekend it is likely that a nefarious group of individuals were taking advantage of the holiday to breach the security of some of the UK’s largest firms. Statistics show that there is a correlation between national holidays and hacking attempts. Data breaches are on the rise and efforts to stem the stream of high pro...
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  • Fundraising Preference Service Update

    Third Sector Magazine has discovered that rather than requiring charities to screen their mailing and call lists against the newly mooted FPS, the Fundraising Regulator intends to proactively inform charities if anyone that supports them has signed up to the service. Up until now it was assumed that charities would be required to screen data against FPS as part of their data hygiene regime....
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  • WHY DATA HYGIENE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

    The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Trading Standards teamed up last month to raise awareness about the hundreds of thousands of pieces of scam mail that plague UK residents. Scam mail is a real problem both for the consumers that receive it and the legitimate direct marketing industry. The mail typically attempts to hoodwink unwitting ...
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  • Empty nesters respond well to DM

    New stage of life research from Royal Mail reinforces industry perception that older generations respond well to direct mail. Specifically empty nesters, categorised as being aged between 55 and 64, are a particularly DM welcoming demographic. For marketers this predilection is significant as empty nesters are a lucrative market since three quarters of this age group believe that they c...
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  • ID fraud set to rise as O2 suffers credential stuffing

    Thousands of O2 customers stand to have their identities stolen as a BBC investigation reveals that its customer data is for sale on the dark web including phone numbers, email addresses and passwords.  It is thought that the data for sale has been created through a practice called credential stuffing. This is where a criminal uses a piece of software to ...
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  • DM bucks perceptions

    Recent research by our sister company, QuickPages revealed that when it comes to car insurance traditional media such as direct mail and the telephone are still extremely powerful and relevant despite the industry’s perception that customers flock to the internet. The research showed that the most effective method of prompting consumers to buy is via the mail. 68 per cent of drivers wou...
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  • Social Media contributes to deceased ID theft

    Cifas’ latest figures claim that identity theft has significantly risen since 2010. In particular young people are increasingly becoming victim and the fraud prevention body believes this is in part due to the huge amount of information this age bracket posts on social media. Criminal gangs are mining information from sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for personal informatio...
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  • ICOS Direct Marketing Guidance

    ICO Christopher Graham has officially handed over the office to his replacement Elizabeth Denham after seven years of holding the post. In that time he has been instrumental in helping to improve the perception of the direct marketing industry and in sanctioning the actions of organisations that have been irresponsible in their targeting practices. The ICO recently published an updated ...
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  • What will the vote mean for data protection?

    Election day is upon us and we’ll soon know whether the UK has chosen to Brexit or Remain in the EU.  So what does the outcome mean for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)? Remain  - If we chose to stay in the EU the GDPR will be applicable to all businesses in the UK when it comes into force on 25th May 2018. This means that there will be:View more

  • Dear Sir or Madam, You are dead

    Last Week The Daily Mail reported two separate incidents of public sector organisations writing to families to say they were sorry to hear about their bereavement. The problem was the two people the letters were about, were very much alive. Marilyn Mullins’ family in Virginia USA received a card of condolence from the Chaplin of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital following Mrs Mullins’ t...
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  • Why donor data is the new oil

    Last week the Sunday Times called into question the use of direct mail as a fundraising tool for the third sector - this time not as a result of carpet bombing or poor targeting – but the percentage of income spent on the channel. The paper has a point, some charities are perhaps attributing too much of their budget to fundraising. But that is a management issue, not a marketing one. Th...
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  • Direct mail is a great tool for SMEs

    Perception of direct mail as a marketing channel by the SME community is that it is an advertising medium for large organisations. They’d be forgiven for thinking this due to the bulk mail discounts offered by postal operators and the large volumes quoted in the media when reporting on recent DM campaigns. However, they’d be wrong. DM is also an incredibly powerful tool when used by sma...
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  • PENSION FRAUD ON THE RISE

    Pension Fraud is a hot topic at the moment. Savings are under threat from an increasing number of pension scams but even the pension minister has said she is powerless to stop fraudsters cold calling older people. Police data last year revealed that pension scam losses had more than trebled in the month after pension freedom was introduced in April. Losses from pension fraud surged 235%...
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  • Home movers on the increase, but does your data reflect this?

    According to a new report by The Connells Group the UK property market started 2016 at breakneck speed with even stronger and more buoyant activity than the positive sentiment seen during the final quarter of 2015. The report showed that the number of active buyers entering the residential property market reached new heights. It also revealed that activity from renters has grown at a he...
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  • 2016 Rest in Peace

    It’s a macabre topic, but with another few celebrity deaths hitting the headlines in the last week 2016 has already been coined ‘The Year of Death’. In fact the BBC’s end of year obituary programme has been extended from 30 minutes to an hour and its creator hasn’t ruled out extending it further if the current run of deaths continues at the same pace. And it’s not just national treasures and me...
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  • Undercover

    What would you do if you discovered that your partner wasn't who they said they were - they were in fact an undercover police officer and had used their relationship with you as a way to obtain intelligence. Unbelievable right? Apparently not. We've been glued to our screens watching BBC's latest six part drama, Undercover, which sees a policeman assume the identity of a deceased individual and...
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  • The amazing world of fraud-busting

    According to the BBC financial fraud losses totalled £755m last year in the UK. Worldwide that figure runs into the billions. ID fraud is now big business for scammers that are preying on us both on and offline. Another burgeoning industry is fraud prevention. However, whilst we want to keep ourselves safe from fraudsters we don’t want to spend ages answering secret security questions, keying i...
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  • In, out, in out, shake it all about

    There's a right hullabaloo over the government's usage of tax payers money to send every household a pamphlet outlining their argument in 14 pages to stay in the EU. The £7 million price tag - an average of 34p per house - has been splashed across the front pages and the Brexit camp are up in arms calling it propaganda and a scandalous waste of money (although they've missed a trick, they shoul...
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  • Spring cleaning

    Historically Easter was a time for spring cleaning - an opportunity to throw open the doors and windows, empty the house of its contents and give everything a thorough once over to get rid of the cloying wood smoke and soot in time for the beginning of summer.  Today many of us continue the tradition. And whilst we might not go as far as piling our life's worth in the garden we certainl...
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  • Responsible marketing

    The gauntlet has well and truly been laid down for the direct marketing industry. Consumers, the media and the government have made it very clear that if marketers want to continue to promote their wares via direct channels then they have to do it responsibly - or not at all. 

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  • Data Danger - The risks of data-fuelled marketing

    A PPI company has been hauled over the coals, unusually not for plaguing someone with unwanted calls, but with addressing a mailshot meant for Mr Alf Skelton to Mr Dick Head. It's the stuff of DM legend, much like the famous BA loyalty mailing from the 90s that was addressed to Mr Rich Bastard.  

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  • Could dodgy DM tactics be the downfall of Cruz on Super Tuesday?

    The Trump effect means that across the pond, we’re more aware of the US election and its quite frankly bizarre path to the White House, than ever before. Ordinarily the Primaries make the international news pages, but this time around, they’re making front page news and I have to admit at Wilmington Millennium we’ve become hooked. It’s like watching a soap oper...
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  • It's life Jim, but not as we know it

    It’s that time of year again when the great and the good of the mobile industry decamp to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Metro strike notwithstanding, record numbers of delegates look set to make MWC 2016 the biggest yet. As exciting as CES the month before, there are always announcements and updates which have far reaching implications for those of us on the fringes. Yesterday, f...
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  • Targeting is everything

    In direct marketing, as we all know, targeting is everything. A misspelt name here, a stray mailing to someone that has moved there and credibility of the brand goes out of the window – not to mention wasted budget. Last week frozen food retailer, Iceland came under fire for a mistargeted door drop. The pamphlet which featured an offer for ‘Fat Bastard’ wine on its front page received a...
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  • Super Bowl 50: Targeting is in the eye of the beholder

    Those of us involved in direct marketing know the old adage ‘right time, right place, right channel’ is absolutely vital for engendering customer engagement. And whilst it is applicable across the whole marketing communications mix our above the line cousins tend to have more leeway than us. A poorly placed TV slot, whilst incongruous with its surrounding it rarely ...
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  • DIP IN DM DOESN'T SPELL DISASTER

    Last week’s Bellwether reported a second consecutive dip in DM budgets – but only a marginal fall at less than two per cent (1.7 per cent). For an industry that experienced such rude health last year with increases in both volume and spend, this news shouldn’t put a dampener on industry optimism. Despite the fact that budgets have been trimmed this doesn’t necessarily m...
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  • Does you marketing deliver incremental customer demand?

    “If you want to know what credit card companies think of you, look at your mail” This was one piece of salient advice given to consumers by The Independent newspaper over Christmas. You can determine whether you are considered rich or poor by the offers sent to you by credit card providers. If you are offered high APRs and air miles you are rich, but low introductory rates signifies a l...
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  • The Rise of Corporate New Year's Resolutions: A New Year's Resolution You Can Keep!

    Today is proven to be the day that over a quarter of us will break our personal New Year’s Resolution. Whether it's one of the more common ones like going to the gym or eating healthily or slightly more obscure like learning a new language or being more honest we have a tendency to put undue pressure on ourselves which sets ourselves up for an early failure. This contributes significantly to ne...
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  • A look back at the year that was... and our thoughts for the future

    As the year draws to a close we look back at the key trends and stories that defined 2015. January: Loyalty came under the microscope as a report revealed that points took too long to accrue and customers were no longer engaged. The older generation were found to be the most impatient. This led to many retailers reassessing their schemes February: Royal Mail launches its acclaim...
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  • We wish you a merry Christmas!

    With only a few days to go until Christmas, we just wanted to wish everyone a very happy festive period. And to celebrate here is a round-up of some of our favourite Christmas over the years:   Panettone Pantone Christmas mailing http://lovelypackage.com/panettone/   Christmas tree ham decoratio...
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  • The rise of ransomware and id fraud

    Cyber crime is becoming more sophisticated. This week it was reported that The Independent played victim to a so called cyber ransom attack on its blog pages which tried to extort money from its readers. In short the malware infects a computer and encrypts all its files. It then demands money for a key to decode the documents. The ransom is often requested in bitcoins as this is harder to trace...
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  • The Introduction of FPS: Prevention is better than a cure

    Yesterday saw the announcement of the introduction of the Fundraising Preference Service, which will become mandatory for all charities to screen against. The aim of the FPS is to act as a reset button for people who feel overwhelmed by the amount of marketing they receive from charities. If they sign up to it charities will have to remove them from their databases. It is not known how the mech...
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  • Deceased identity and mail fraud most popular crime

    During November we worked with Unlock, a charity for ex-offenders, to find out a little bit more about the issue of identity theft, which is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK. The shocking results revealed that the large majority (four in five) of ex-offenders think ID theft is one of the easiest ways to generate cash qu...
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  • Data Protection - are you ready for the ICO?

    Over the past few days the data industry has again been the subject of many a column inch within the national media as the ICO announces a new initiative to crackdown on unscrupulous marketing. The Information Commissioner will be sending 1,000 letters to 1,000 firms involved in buying and selling consumer data. The letter will demand that they reveal how they adhere to current legislat...
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  • Protecting the vulnerable this winter

    New statistics from National Trading Standards make painful reading for the legitimate direct marketing industry. Apparently, the number of names on the so-called ‘Sucker List’ have jumped by 40,000 since July to 240,000 people in total. The Sucker Lists are files sold by disreputable organisations comprising names and contact details of consumers who have previously fallen victim to sc...
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  • Should data come with a use by date?

    New research from Royal Mail Data Services reveals that less than half (40 per cent) of organisations’ customer data is out of date, obsolete, incomplete and ultimately unusable. This comes as no surprise as it is widely accepted that the rate of data decay can be as fast as 3 per cent per month, meaning that within a year a third of a database can be past its use by date. However, its not just...
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  • Direct Mail in 2016

    As we reported a few weeks ago in this blog direct mail is in rude health. WARC/AA recently released its latest figures which showed the third consecutive increase in mailing budgets and pundits are predicting this growth will continue into 2016.  However, it's not an exaggeration to say that some facets of the mailing industry, particularly lead generators and data providers, have come...
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  • How do you solve a problem like a 15 year old hacker?

    So it looks like the organised, malicious, criminal gang behind the TalkTalk hack is actually a home-grown, 15 year old youth from the comfort of his bedroom. If indeed it does turn out to be the teen from County Antrim no doubt there will be a huge sigh of relief breathed by the big cheeses at TalkTalk as it is unlikely that their customers’ bank details will have fallen into the hands...
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  • Trust in marketing is in the eye of the beholder

    Neilsen’s Global Survey of Trust in Advertising is an interesting gauge of consumer attitudes towards marketing. This year’s study polled 30,000 people across 60 countries and produced a league table of the most trusted to the least trusted marketing channels. Unsurprisingly word of mouth recommendations from friends and family was found to be the most trusted form of marketing, with mobile ads...
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  • England's life expectancy increases

    Whilst none of us like considering our own mortality, a new report by Public Health England, reported in today’s Guardian, has revealed that England’s life expectancy has taken a significant upturn since the 1990s, adding an extra five years to our mortal coil. Twenty-five years ago men’s life expectancy in England was lagging behind many countries including Canada, France, Norway, the Netherla...
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  • Pension fraud – a growing problem

    In the US there are 6.5 million people (equating to nearly 10% of the UK) that have active social security records who are 112 years of age or older, despite the fact that there are only a few dozen people known to be that old in the entire world. This is costing American taxpayers billions each year. A investigative study by CBS New’s 60 Minutes programme revealed that nearly $125bn wa...
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  • Laggards, not us!

    The British stereotype is very much of the stiff upper lip and reserved countenance, which would suggest that we'd be quite reluctant to try new things and resistant to change. But it seems we're quite the opposite. We're a nation of early adopters and today's news about contactless card payments proves it.  

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  • Why charities need clean mailing lists now more than ever before

    Another week, another knock for the third sector. To add to charity fundraisers’ woes now the ICO has ruled that charities must screen their telemarketing data against the TPS and CTPS before making any calls. They are not allowed to phone anyone on these lists, even if they are an existing donor and have a previous relationship with the charity. This ruling comes in the wake of the scandal tha...
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  • Carphone Warehouse Data Leak

    Another week, another data breach. This time it was the turn of Dixon's-owned Carphone Warehouse.  Over the weekend the phone company admitted that the hack has potentially led to the theft of unencrypted, sensitive data belonging to up to 2.4 million customers, including names, addresses, date of birth and bank details. In addition, encrypted credit card information belonging to up to ...
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  • Hear! Hear! A big cheer for DM

    Over the last few months the direct mail industry has had little to be cheerful about given the efforts of the popular press to yet again vilify the medium. However, despite this it seems DM has once again weathered the storm. Unlike other print based marketing channels, new figures from Advertising Association and Warc reveal that spend in the UK on direct mail is predicted to reach £2...
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  • Innovation the handmaiden of progress

    We’re all up for innovation in the marketplace. After all innovation is the handmaiden of progress. And Royal Mail is doing all it can to increase the popularity and effectiveness of direct mail. The last few months have seen more direct mail initiatives from the postal operator than the last few years combined, such as its critically acclaimed Mail Men campaign. Another huge initiative...
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  • Apple Pay Fraud: Prevention better than a cure for financial services

    So from last week we are now able to buy trolley loads of Percy Pigs from M&S and pay for them all with a mere tap of our phone. Mobile wallets have been on the cards for years, but with the launch of Apple Pay into the UK they are now (or will be once all the banks come on stream) a reality for millions of shoppers making paying quicker and easier than contactless debit and credit cards. N...
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  • Olive's Law

    Following the tragic death of Olive Cooke earlier this year and a series of damning articles in the Daily Mail exposing the aggressive nature of some fundraising telemarketing agencies, it was no surprise that on Saturday the Prime Minister announced the end of third sector self regulation. Instead charities will be forced by law to protect the vulnerable from aggressive fundraisers and rogue c...
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  • 18 million potential marketing complaints

    For those of us in the data industry, the latest ICO Annual Report made for an interesting read. Headline stats revealed that the ICO received 14,268 data protection concerns over the last year and 180,188 complaints about nuisance marketing. Outweighing data protec...
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  • We're so appy! And you can be too

    As you may already have read in the news and on Twitter, this week we've launched the first ever suppression app on Salesforce's hugely successful AppExchange. We're very excited as we think it could change the face of the suppression market making it quick, cost effective and easy to screen data for people that have passed away.  Suppressing deceased individuals is proven to save organ...
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  • How to buy a suppression file

    At Millennium Data we (obviously) like to think that everyone in the market for a suppression file would naturally want to buy one from us (because our files are top notch, and we’re nice people!) Be that as it may, we thought we’d offer the other suppression providers a fighting chance by providing a handy ‘hints and tips’ guide for buying suppression. Size doesn’t alw...
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  • The Salesforce Economy

    The phrase app store is synonymous with Apple, right? Right. But actually wrong. The tech giant has used it since it launched the iTunes App Store back in 2007, but the phrase was first created and trademarked by Saleforce.com and then gifted to Steve Jobs by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Salesforce created its own app store, called the AppExchange, and ...
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  • PREVENTING IDENTITY FRAUD

    At Millennium Data we like to think we have our finger on the pulse. We therefore weren’t too surprised when we found out we had stolen the march on CIFAS and its latest Fraudscape report which was released last week. Just two weeks prior Decision Marketing published our predictions on identify fraud, which can be read here:  View more

  • And then there was one...

    Yet again Royal Mail becomes the only E2E postal distributor following last week’s announced withdrawal of TNT’s Whistl service in Liverpool, London and Manchester. Will this impact the direct mail industry? In the short term, no. It is simply a return to the status quo. Moreover, according to the DMA Whistl’s final mile penetration represented less than one per cent. However, it's the ...
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  • The death of the catalogue? Not likely.

    Shop Direct announced this week that it was scrapping its traditional mail order catalogues in favour of eCommerce. The decision has allegedly been customer-led, with more and more people transitioning online. Yet despite the march of digital there is still a place for the humble catalogue. Just ask Ralph Lauren and The White Company. Both brands offer their customers a paper-based magalogue – ...
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  • The True Value of Data

    Last week saw yet another report about the value of consumer data, this particular one  from IPG’s Mediabrands Marketing Sciences,  a business “dedicated to decoding the science of marketing to deliver competitive advantage” through insight capability, planning tools, data planning and analytics. According to the report consumers would be happy to sell their data to advertisers and reckon that ...
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  • The deceased costs the US taxpayer billions

    Irish Water has caused significant upset by sending out a number of bills to deceased customers. The brand damage this error will cause is significant, particularly for an organisation that hasn’t proved overly popular with Irish consumers since its inception in 2013.  The shocking faux pas is made more so by the fact that one of the people reported to have been sent a bill died six yea...
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  • Belle Weather for DM

    2015 is shaping up to be a bumper year for direct marketers.  The Bellwether Report, now in its fifteen year, records the sharpest rise for DM in the past few years. The medium has experienced a 5.7% increase over the last quarter with 11.8 percent of marketers reporting an increase in direct budgets.  This is fantastic news for an industry that has had more knocks than most dur...
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  • Ignorantia juris non excusa

    This week the ICO has announced plans to crack down on unscrupulous use of data. It is going on a mystery shopping exercise to sign up to websites, newsletters, email and direct mail call to actions in order to review privacy policies and then see if they become the victim of nuisance and unsolicited calls, mail and digital marketing.

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  • April Fool - HMRC stymies charity fundraising

    Along with Marmite Clear, HMRC made a fool out of April the first. It was of course supposed to be the day the the tax man removed VAT exemption for charities on the design and distribution of direct mail, potentially costing the industry millions.   However, despite pressure from DMA and The ...
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  • Retention Fundraising

    April is a fallow month for charities – in fact the worst in the year for the third sector. It is the time of year that committed direct debit donors are most likely to lapse.   Research from Bloomerang reveals that 53 per cent of donors stop their direct debits due to insufficient communication from the causes they choose to support.   5 per cent thought ...
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  • IS EVENT-TRIGGERED MARKETING DEAD?

    New research by DQM and Royal Mail out this month reveals that marketers don’t think that moving home or a death in the family are important life events for marketing. On a scale of 1-5 (1 not important and 5 very important) they received 2.6 and 2 respectively. A change of email address, however, ranked the highest at 3.7.  ...
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  • 2015 set for another summer of discontent?

    Many of us will remember 2006 as the summer of DM discontent. Thousands of consumers marched on Parliament demanding that ‘junk mail’ was banned spurred on by the Daily Mail which published a series of damning articles under emotive headlines such as the ‘Great Junk Mail Revolt’. And now its at it again. Yesterday the paper published an article under th...
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  • Celebrating direct mail

    We all know the strengths of direct mail as a marketing tool. It's tangibility means that it can inspire recipients like no other channel. But with the smooth comes the rough. It is also probably also the most emotive medium and when things go wrong it hits the headlines. Take for example the latest blooper from John Lewis’s mailing house which saw Partnership customers (so John Lewis’ most val...
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  • Home is sometimes where the heart is

    Research shows that when people move house charities are amongst the last organisations to find out, meaning they miss out on thousands of pounds of donations. High up in the pecking order are financial institutions, utility suppliers and tv subscription companies. Consumers typically advise them that they are moving because it has some kind of financial implication; in other words they...
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  • Happiness is… a direct mail campaign

    As most of the direct marketing world will know, at the back end of January Royal Mail’s MarketReach launched its first ad campaign in three years to promote direct mail. The 'Mail Men' campaign, inspired by hit advertising show Mad Men, features key marketing leaders espousing positive views on direct mail, including Karen Blackett, CEO of MediaCom and Saatchi & Saatchi Fa...
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  • #SUPERBOWL

    On Sunday Night the Super Bowl becoming the most watched television show in US history pulling in 47.5 per cent of US households – or 114.4 million viewers. Katy Perry’s half time show drew an extraordinary 118.5 million people. As always attention drifted from the game and the spotlight fell on the brands that chose to spend $4.5million for a 30 second slot. This year it seems Nationwi...
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  • Marketers Get 'SMARTLINK' To 23 Million Forwarding Address Database

    Following the successful launch of 'Smartdepart', data and targeting specialist, Wilmington Millennium, has now launched 'Smartlink', a brand new database that gives direct marketing firms access to the new addresses for 'gone away' customers, helping organisations reduce the estimated £150 million spent mailing old addresses each year. As with Smartdepart, Smartlink has been created fo...
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