By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group
One of the constantly frustrating things that we hear is that “suppressions don’t apply in digital marketing”. It's as if somehow that by going on-line the modern marketer doesn’t need to worry about all that old-fashioned stuff such as “is the customer still alive” and “are they where we expect them to be”?
This is so far from the truth that it is worrying. Indeed, there is as much need to ensure we know who the end customer is today as has always been the case. And knowing where that person lives, what the correct contact details are for them and how best to contact them are as important as ever.
This may not be for the same purposes as in the past; managing costs and making sure that what is sent out is likely to be delivered with the least inconvenience to the receiver. Suppressions in the omni-channel world provide a different purpose. It is worth starting with the obvious point that omni-channel does not simply mean on-line. Indeed, the ultimate aim of an omni-channel strategy is to use all the channels at our disposal to ensure that we not only recognise the customer across all touch points but also use the optimal combination of media, both on-line and off-line to create a long term engaged relationship.
If the majority of the relationship that a brand has with a customer is on-line, or via email, then there is a clear need to keep the contact details of that person up to date – without constantly asking them to do so themselves. Think how much more impressed a customer would be if the brand prompted them to confirm an address change when this is flagged through goneaway or change of address files? And yet this rarely, if ever, happens.
Through a very simple application of a suppression file, a much enhanced customer experience could be provided.
One of the reasons for keeping contact details up to date is that they are another way to match customer records together. In general, email address will be a consistent key. However, customers will often forget they have registered already or register again at the same address to try and claim new customer benefits. By using cleaned, and traced, customer address details, a consistent customer record can be created and duplicate customer records matched and flagged.
For many brands that have the majority of their relationship with the end customer on-line, there is a lot of faith that the person they are engaged with is actually who they say they are. Simple checks against contact management files, including The Bereavement Register, can help provide likely early indication of fraud. Conflict between the address an individual provides and who is actually living at the address can also be good fraud indicators. And much cheaper than full ID validation and checking.
So while the use of suppressions on-line is not as essential as in the more traditional outbound direct marketing environment there are a number of applications that can be beneficial – and help provide a more consistent and better customer experience for the end consumer.
For market leading data cleansing - talk to us about GAS, GAS REaCTIVE and The Bereavement Register