An experienced data professional who has been working within the direct marketing industry for over 20 years. Having spent 17 years as owner and MD of Data HQ Ltd his remit covers the whole of the management spectrum including; strategy development, organisational structure, company policy & procedure and product development.
First and foremost, data cleansing doesn’t have to cost the earth; there are steps you can take in-house at no cost whatsoever, to begin the cleansing process. This will also be ideal preparation for any professional data cleanse that may be needed from that starting point.
In-house cleansing – the basics
- Formatting – ensure a consistent format is used when data is entered.
- Accuracy – Ensure all those inputting data pay close attention to the accuracy of the information they are entering.
- Quick and dirty de-dupe – this can done by email address or other unique reference within and across the files that you wish to combine. If you have a hierarchy to follow, you may want to get your data solutions provider to assist here.
- Combining files – once de-duped, combining files can be a simple matter of matching columns within Excel.
Following these steps and processes will put you in a great position to then enlist a data solutions provider in the next steps of the cleanse.
Cleansing by a data solutions provider
A data provider will discuss any remaining requirement for combining files and further de-duplication as required, to finalise the process.
They will match your list to their own database or ‘universe’ – allowing them to append information where the information you hold varies from their universe. Their data universe will have a guaranteed level of recency – so potentially it will be more up to date than your own. Their knowledge and expertise in data will also assist in standardising the format of the data you hold.
A data solutions provider can screen your data against a number of industry-standard suppression files to ensure that old, out-of-date data is removed.
In addition, they can screen your data against a number of industry-standard suppression files to ensure that old, out-of-date data is removed.
In some instances, they can even provide a new address for any of your existing customers who may have moved without informing you. Often, this can be an invaluable source of new data and a method of reactivating lapsed customers.
Increasing your budget with cleansing
You will enjoy significant costs savings in the months following the cleanse operation (dependent on the numbers of your campaigns) by not mailing, calling, emailing, or otherwise attempting to communicate using inaccurate data.
Any costs incurred in the process of cleansing by a data solutions provider will be more than covered. Savings over and above this will – in effect – increase your budget for more marketing spend in other areas.
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