Duplicate records. Every company’s database has them and every database marketer hates them. Duplicate records cost time and money, and no-matter how consistent you attempt to be with your data entry rules, duplicated records will inevitably creep into your database.
They exist due to the differing human interpretations of the same name and/or address details, or from accidental misspellings in personal, company or residential information.
Duplicate records are a major obstruction in achieving data quality. It is quite simple to calculate the expense of duplicated records on direct marketing, where you simply multiply the per item cost of duplicate records. For example: Let’s say your mail piece costs $1 to produce and post, and you mail 5000 records four times a year. That’s 20,000 mail items a year or $20,000 in mailing costs. Now let’s say you can identify and remove 500 redundant duplicated records, that is a saving of $2000 over the course of the year.
While this may seem a compelling enough reason to perform regular de-duplication of your data, there are several other aspects when looking at the available savings. Consider the cost in lost business, and lower response rates from customers who react in a negative way to being on the receiving end of duplicate direct marketing. Duplicates may cost you the loss of a customer, not just the cost of a wasted letter or call.
Also consider the negative effect of duplicates on sales automation systems. The lack of a single view of the customer or business you are dealing with may allow sales opportunities to slip by. When combining different data sources from different departments, branches, or prospecting lists, the problem of duplicate records escalates dramatically. This act of combining different databases and de-duplicating them is also known as “merge and purge”.
The process of comparison and removal without merging the two databases is known as “washing”. It is different from de-duplication, because it is where you compare your database against another, such as a “do-not-contact” file or recent campaign file and then remove any records from your database that are found in the other.
It is entirely possible to build a business case for de-duplication solutions around the significant bottom-line money savings that are to be had from de-duplication, merge purge, and the washing of data.
What is Data Cleansing?
Data cleansing is the act of detecting and correcting or entirely removing corrupt or inaccurate records from a Database.
Synonymous with the less frequently used term ‘data scrubbing’, cleansing is a somewhat tedious yet rewarding task.
The actual process of data cleansing may involve removing typos or validating and correcting values against a known list of entities. The validation may be strict (such as rejecting any address that does not have a valid Postal Code) or fuzzy (such as correcting records that partially match existing, known records), but inevitably, preprocessing the data will guarantee that it is unambiguous, correct, and complete.
At Quickmail we can manage all your data cleansing activities ensuring that you get the most out of your data.
If you’d like some help with your database, feel free to call us on 08 9493 0477 or send us an email.