Enhance What You've Got, to Get What You Want
In some rare instances, you can do updating yourself, Kleinfelter notes. Simple data questions, such as whether the customer owns a PC or Macintosh, can be integrated into the end of customer service and order processing calls, as well as on order forms and Web site log-ins.
Are More Sources Better?
When it comes to data collection, multiple sources help validate the accuracy of the data, says Kooker.
For enhancement, however, using multiple vendors may be overkill. According to Kooker, "It depends on how much of your file needs coverage, and the cost of making sense of all the data. The value of the fields and the kinds of fields differ from compiler to compiler … the marketer would have to do the work to assess each vendor's data."
And that means added cost.
Hunt says you'll likely see a point of diminishing return with the fourth or fifth data vendor, and no return on investment for the work being done. He reminds marketers that you pay a charge per thousand just to look for matches, so processing costs need to be less than the ROI.
And don't assume that because your entire file didn't get appended, you went to the wrong list compiler.
"The major sources of compiled data are fairly consistent in terms of their match logic and match results. A data service bureau may be helpful in guiding you to the best possible data source depending upon your needs," says Van Roekel.
What's more important, he adds, "is the append rates will be based on the quality of the core data that you submit. Keeping your housefile clean should be an ongoing process because data are always deteriorating. We always recommend that you clean your own list using both National Change of Address and Delivery Sequence File before the data is submitted for enhancement services."