Your direct marketing campaign is only as good as your data. It’s impossible to create a successful personalised, targeted campaign without clean data, it will just cost you money.

We see it happening all the time. How often do you get a mailing with an incorrect name or an offer you’re just not interested in? Just last week a colleague brought in a piece of Direct Mail that invited her deceased Grandparent to an investment seminar. Not only did it upset the family but it was a complete waste of money. Even if you clean your data and cross check it against a deceased list, you can still make mistakes (a well known florist certainly did). So it’s important to cross check it before going live.

How often should you clean?

It is recommended to try to cleanse your data once a month but definitely before any marketing activity and at least once a quarter.

Here are some tips on data cleansing

Standardise the format – set a standard format for collecting data and stick to it. This avoids confusion and reduces errors. If data is collected uniformly, the process of setting up a Direct Mail is much smoother.

Dedupe – Run a dedupe on the raw data to take out any duplicates. You may have a system that does this for you but if not excel does a pretty good job. It’s always important to dedupe across multiple fields to eg. company/home address, first name and surname.

Monthly health check – put in a process to check data regularly. We advise you to do this every month but it depends on the size of your database. A typical check will match your data to deceased and ‘gone away’ files. This will improve the quality instantly.

Give data an owner – data cleansing will never happen if it’s just tapped onto the end of somebody’s ‘to do’ list. It’s much better to make someone in your business the owner of the data, responsible for keeping it up to date and accurate.

Invest in data cleansing software – for larger databases, manual cleansing might be too inefficient. It’s worth researching the many programmes available to automate the whole cleansing process.

Old and inaccurate databases cost your business money and potentially your customers. If you are serious about engaging customers you must have clean data as it’s the only way to create relevant, targeted messages. If nothing else, it saves you money!

If you would like more advice on data give us a call or pop in for a brew. We’d love to see you.