Because law firm names change frequently (partners are added, partners leave) LexisNexis’ data was overrun with duplicate entries. “We had one person call in saying they had received 18 identical [mail] pieces,” laments Welch, noting an extreme example.
Furthermore, the company wasn’t segmenting. “If we had an offer for a new tax publication, we’d send it to all attorneys, not just tax attorneys,” he says.
Goal: Create a marketing database that would allow LexisNexis to contact the people actually using the service, not just those paying for it. Incorporate outside sources of data, standardize and clean existing data, and establish protocols for keeping firm names updated.
The Process: LexisNexis took its existing data and combined it with information from infoUSA and Courtlink. Using technology from data quality and cleansing solution provider DataFlux, LexisNexis then was able to take the data and “cleanse them, CASS verify them [and] put match codes in,” explains Welch. “We’re grouping records together that are really the same person and appending information from other data sources to find out [lawyers’] practice area, year they passed the bar, year they were born, etc.”
LexisNexis also instituted a plan for verifying law firm names, employing a full-time data steward.
Outcome: LexisNexis now has much greater control of its data. “We can target our mailings to the appropriate individuals, and we can greatly eliminate duplicate mailings,” says Welch. “We’re avoiding sending mailings too often to the same people, and we’re no longer sending mailings to our competitors.”
With its data standardized, LexisNexis now can append data, such as firm size, with confidence. This capability allows the company to mail smarter. “We’re now able to produce compact mailings,” says Welch. “Instead of sending 20,000 mailings to everybody, we can send 5,000 or 10,000 targeted pieces.”
Another area where this process has helped is in company acquisition. “We just acquired a company, and they’re looking to us to do advanced integration of their customers,” explains Welch. While the acquired company’s IT department estimated it would take more than a year to fully integrate the customer data, LexisNexis expects to be able to send out mailings to the company’s customers—and recognize those that have a pre-existing relationship with LexisNexis—within weeks.