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What are your tips on keeping data accurate and clean?
It's been determined that from 50 percent to 75 percent of a b-to-b direct marketing campaign's success rests on the accuracy of the list used in the direct marketing communications, whether it be by mail, e-mail or telephone. We all know that people change jobs within their companies or join a new companies. The question is how fast do people change their contact information. Direct marketers must target and communicate to the correct "buyer" within the company.
Therefore, the problem is how to keep your own database of customers and prospects accurate. Granted, the list companies have a similar job to do, and many are improving their data-hygiene methods. The following suggestions, though, are directed at the data-hygiene processes required to develop and maintain an accurate internal database. Here are several approaches to employ:
1. CASS Certification and NCOA. The first step is to ensure that the mailing address exists and is current. Send your list to an experienced computer service bureau for address certification and standardization or CASS certification. Then have these addresses checked against the National Change of Address (NCOA) file to pick up those companies that have recently moved.
2. B-to-B Data Compiler Matching. Several large business data compilers exist, including D&B/iMarket, InfoUSA, Experian, Acxiom, Harris InfoSource and Hoovers. These firms offer either directly or through service providers an ability to match their information against companies on your file. If a match is found on the company information and your record is different, it's probably wise to use their data. It likely will be more accurate.
3. Direct Company Contacts. Every day marketing, sales and customer service people make contact with customers and prospects. Here are several suggestions for maintaining up-to-date information within each customer-facing group: