Database Cleansing: The importance of removing inactive users

Marketers spend a lot of time carefully segmenting data and cleansing it to get the best return possible for marketing efforts, but many gloss over one very important group; the deceased.


Mortality screening, deceased suppression, or bereavement register processing - no matter what you call it, maintaining the integrity of your suppression list is a cardinal responsibility for any marketing or communications person - irrespective of industry.


Deceased suppression is the process of identifying deceased persons in your database, then removing or appending their record. Maintaining an updated suppression list will return better, more accurate results, save money, drive engagement and avoid some embarrassing - not to mention emotionally taxing - mistakes.
 


Why we collect data

Almost every business collects customer data in some form. Whether you’re an avid proponent of marketing automation and segmentation or just testing the waters with an email newsletter, regular interaction with the customers in your database is a powerful tool for remarketing, brand awareness, and retention.


Data collection and cleansing comes hand-in-hand. The Touchpoint software has a suppression list tool which actively suppresses email addresses that are considered invalid. This includes mistyped email addresses, bounces, duplicates, unsubscribed list members, or closed accounts.


Keeping on top of these types of suppressed users is easy and automatic in the Touchpoint platforms - but CRM tools as a whole rarely have the ability to perform deceased suppression.
 


The importance of data cleansing

Cleansing your data comes with many benefits:

  • Reduce costs: Sending marketing communications to users who are no longer with us is a costly exercise and one that will never return. Reduce costs by removing these users from your database.
  • Return better results: Reporting on numbers that incorporate deceased users will return skewed results. Measuring the success of campaigns through engagement or sales while including those who are unable to interact with your brand or product results in inaccurate reporting that could otherwise be avoided.
  • Avoid emotional distress for family and individuals: Imagine receiving emails or communications that are meant for a family member or friend that has recently passed. Is that email advertising a sale or discount? The emotional toll is high on those who have lost a loved one.
  • Avoid complaints & damage to reputation and brand: Not only is emailing a deceased audience damaging to your brand’s reputation, but it is also a legal requirement for businesses to actively manage their databases and ensure they’re up to date.
  • Lessen exposure to fraud: Fraud using a deceased individual’s details is unfortunately common. Removing these users stops both your business being open to fraud by those who wish to take advantage and also ensures that you don’t accidentally share further private contact details.

 

An example

In the case of one of our clients that hadn’t run checks in over a year, we found over 3,500 matches between their database and the Deaths Index.

Performing a six month or annual mortality screening to your database is strongly advised to maintain the integrity of your marketing lists and ensures you will get the best results from your efforts.

How deceased suppression works:

Screening to remove deceased people from your database isn’t as tricky as you expect, although without the right tools and updated lists it can be a costly and time-consuming task. We recommend a database health check cadence based on the size of your organisation’s database to ensure it is kept healthy and up to date.
The best way to perform a screening to match your entire database against public record information. This list, known as a Deaths Index or Deaths Registry, allows you to match recently deceased individuals against active users on your list by name, mailing address, or email address. Individuals who match each list should be removed or suppressed from your organisation’s communications to maintain the integrity of your database.


Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate database errors, the key to maintaining a healthy database is in performing regular health checks and using a multi-channel marketing automation platform that employs best-practice data management methodology to ensure your marketing efforts make the biggest impact. Are you ready to take the first steps towards a healthier database? Contact us to get started.

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Get in touch with our team of industry experts today and we’ll recommend a customised plan of database health checks - including deceased suppression - to ensure your database is performing at its best.