One of the key things marketers should know about their target audience is whether they are still alive or not.

It sounds obvious, but dead people don’t tend to buy much. Yet as anyone with a deceased relative is aware, direct marketing mailings often continue to be sent to a person for years after they meet their maker. Not mailing deceased people helps marketers avoid the cost of pointless advertising and avoids offending surviving family members who may be receiving the mailings.

So how can direct marketers know if a person on their list is deceased? London, Ont.-based has a solution. Launched March 19, the Deceased Canadian Database is updated weekly and includes better than 90 per cent coverage of people who’ve kicked the bucket in English-speaking Canada. Deaths are reported to Cleanlist within seven days, and identity is cross-checked using name, date-of-birth, and location data.

The database currently has more than 1 million deceased Canadians, and more are dying to get on the list all the time, with about 4,000 added weekly. The service automatically matches contacts in your company’s mailing list to the deceased database and attaches confidence codes to each report.

Marketers can subscribe to the service through’s Web site, via an API, or through an enterprise installation of an on-site database licence.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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