Live from ECMOD: Dying to Get Off U.K. Lists

London—U.K. consumers may get a fraction of the catalogs that their U.S. counterparts receive, but many are nonetheless unhappy with the increasing amount arriving in the mailboxes. During the past 12 months, Panache, a Norfolk, U.K.-based mailer of apparel for mature women, has seen a big jump in the “hate mail” from customers asking to be taken off its list, says director Lionel Partridge. And some of the letters, he says, “are getting really nasty.”

During a luncheon at the European Catalogue and Mail Order Days (ECMOD), held here Nov. 23-24, Partridge told MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT that his eight-year-old catalog, which just passed the £1 million mark in sales, finds customers by renting lists, advertising in magazines geared to older women, and participating in cooperative databases such as Abacus U.K. Partridge speculates that as more U.K. marketers mail to the same names, consumers feel they’re getting too many catalogs—and they’re making their displeasure known.

Some of the prospects Panache has mailed to have gone so far as to tear up the catalog and enclose the pieces in the company’s postage-paid order envelope. Ouch. But the best—or worst—tactic was the consumer who sent back a death certificate and wrote on it “Stop mailing to me—I’m dead.” “I thought that one was quite creative,” Partridge says.

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