The FINANCIAL — The latest Bellwether report from the IPA reveals that annual marketing budgets were revised down to the greatest extent ever recorded in the survey’s nine-year history. With budgets tightening but the need for new business higher than ever, marketers could be ignoring list licence terms in order to over mail.
Annualised 2008 figures from the DQM Group List Abuse Index immediately reveal the worst offenders when it comes to standards of adherence to list licence terms.
This year’s worst offender is the recruitment sector at 66% above average, followed closely by the office equipment sector at 41% above average. Also significantly worse than average is the health and beauty sector at 33% above average, and the utility and government sectors (both at 23% above). Results for government are particularly shocking given that the sector ought to be making a concerted effort to improve its image where data security issues are concerned. Many recent instances of data loss or theft in the public sector have caused a lack of confidence in the sector’s ability to look after confidential information. The public needs to see a vast improvement if they are to start trusting the government with their personal data.
Top performer is the associations and societies sector – a major mover in this year’s report. From being labelled worst offender in 2006 the sector is now at the opposite end of the scale and saw the least amount of list abuse occurring this year. Other good performers include property services, travel and retail equipment, all of which remain under the all-sector average as in 2006.
Adrian Gregory, Chief Executive, DQM Group, comments: “Following a peak in the number of incidents of list abuse in 2006, it appears that data owners got their act together and improved the policing of list usage by employing techniques including data tracking or ‘seeding’ and compliance auditing. But, data owners need to be wary of becoming complacent. Rigorous policing of lists has to be maintained, especially if marketers are turning to desperate measures in these economically difficult times.
The annualised figures for 2008 are not quite at the peak of 2006, but if the current trend continues data owners could see misuse of their lists soar past the record high of two years ago.
If list owners continue to experience the renewed rise in abuse charted by the DQM Group List Abuse Index, they will continue to lose revenues, and may consider withdrawing their valuable data from the market, consequently marketers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain good quality data as a result. We should all be concerned too about the impact of list abuse on the wider DM industry at a time when data security, ID theft, data quality and privacy are the focus of consumers, environmentalists, media and legislators alike”