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 mega stars that are passing away, the mortality rate in England and Wales has jumped to its highest level in a generation; increasing by six per cent on last year, equating to around 33,000 additional deaths and this is predicted to increase further during 2016.

Scores of theories that have been put forward for the increase ranging from austerity and poorer healthcare through to Ancient Aztec predictions – whatever the cause this has a significant implication for direct marketers. Ultimately it means that consumer databases will be decaying at a faster rate than normal. This will result in more customer records being out of date and the potential for mailing someone that has passed away increases.

Mailing the deceased is proven to be an extremely detrimental practice, both in terms of brand damage and waste of marketing budget. Many household brands have been ‘outed’ in the national media for embarrassing pieces of mail accidentally sent to people that are deceased. Deceased suppression stops this from happening and with this surging mortality rate it is now becoming an even more crucial part of a mailing campaign.