5 Steps to Prevent Data Append Mistakes
Even if you don’t mail your file now, but might want to, performing postal standardization and change of address processing will make your file cleaner and more usable, and it will improve the match rate to the third party data.
Respect private information and your customers’ preferences. Drop any credit and private billing information you might have kept with customers’ records. If you have been collecting do-not-mail, e-mail or phone records through the mail or your website, apply that information and flag, suppress or delete the customers who don’t want to hear from you anymore.
3. Decide What You Want To Do With Your Enhanced File
Think through whether you want to create models and target customers by identifying the ones most likely to buy your products, or just screen customers on age and income for new offers. This brainstorming will help you decide whether you need household-level demographics—such as age, income, household size and educational level—or Zip code-level or census tract-level data about consumer behavior—such as following NASCAR, subscribing to gardening magazines or eating out regularly. These decisions will let you seek out one or more data vendors that can supply the right data to your marketing service bureau or perform the matching themselves.
4. Select a Vendor and Append Data
Choose a data vendor that can append the information you want. There are many firms that offer demographics, psychographics and lifestyle profile data. If you do not have time to research all of them, your list broker or service bureau is likely to have a data expert who can recommend the right source for your purposes. Don’t get too focused on saving pennies at this point. If the purposes for which you are enhancing your file include mailings, models and new customer acquisition, consider that you will soon spend more on postage to mail one customer or prospect than you are going to pay now to enhance a dozen records.