Enhance What You've Got, to Get What You Want
The availability of non-permission, non-public data has been restricted by legislation. Two examples, Kooker offers: the Shelby Act that took driver's license data completely off the market, and the Graham Leach Bliley Act that restricts financial institutions from sharing even basic name/address data when customers opt out. He notes that many customers have not opted out of having their data rented, keeping intact a valuable source of data.
Kooker points out that some important data variables simply don't exist in data form, and must be predicted by models. For example, no one collects income on an individual basis, so list compilers build models that predict income ranges based on home values in specific geographic areas.
"These models tend to be extremely accurate," says Kooker.
Once a list compiler has selected information to populate its database(s), it proceeds to put the data through a hygiene phase to ensure that they are clean and parsed correctly. The last process is a matching phase, in which the master database is appended.
These two phases are "where the art of compiled data files is at work," Hunt asserts.
How Often to Enhance
The no-fail guideline for how much data you collect or append is the amount you're willing to maintain, says Kleinfelter. "Don't append data, unless you have a plan and the resources to keep it clean," she advises.
To keep data clean and current, you need to source each data element you've appended to your files, says Hunt. Each data element should be flagged in your database according to its entry date.
Then, find out from the list compiler how fast that piece of data decays, Kleinfelter advises, and schedule your updates accordingly.
Hunt agrees, and suggests marketers update phone numbers monthly to meet appending needs and comply with Do-Not-Call requirements.
Your update schedule also depends on the volume of new records you add to your file through prospecting, Hunt adds. If you do a fair amount of prospecting, you may need these new customer records enhanced before the next update comes around.