I am passionate about Direct Marketing and firmly believe that companies who do market to their clients & prospects regularly & consistently do better in Business.
I’m not on my own. According to the recent research results from the DMA which stating that 23% of sales throughout the UK are gained via direct marketing, with 4 out of 5 Business to Business (B2B) companies using Direct Marketing.
This is why keeping your existing customer and prospect database as up to date as possible is key to keeping and maintaining a good relationship.
OK let me ask.
How frustrating is it to receive 3 letters from the same company?
How do you react when contacting a company and they get your name wrong?
It puts you off that company as they are wasting money sending 3 letters out to the same person… or they haven’t the courtesy to get your name right.
This is why the information held on your database needs updating… Not only helping you to provide excellent customer service but it also helps you build that relationship with your customer or prospect.
So here are 10 helpful hints to keep your customer and prospect database clean and up to date
Accurate data capture and input
Create a uniform input guide for all staff keeping standards the same. Also, make fields mandatory such as date of birth or postcode. This improves data uniformity and saves on subsequent data cleaning costs.
Check to ensure you can import clean data
It sounds obvious however some CRM software programs do not allow for bulk electronic data cleaning so check that your software will allow you to import the updated records and the various flags
Add a unique reference number to your records
Adding a unique reference number ( URN) to each record will help you track the changes made and help merge clean records back into your database.
Get a Free Audit to assess your data
Assess the quality of your data regularly by getting a free data quality report – From that, you can make an informed decision on the current state of your database and if it needs cleaning or not.
Talk to your supplier about your requirements
Choose a supplier who understands your data cleaning requirements. You may want different levels of matching when de-duplicating or you may want a different level of suppression when screening against the deceased files so talk to your supplier and ensure you both know the level
Allow time for the work to be done
Often data cleaning is done at the last minute before a campaign but short notice can result in errors so give your supplier time to do the work.
Protect your data
A good supplier should provide you with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA ) ensuring that your valuable data is not sold on.
Only supply the records you require cleaning
Don’t clean your whole database in one go if you aren’t going to use it as the information will have changed by the time you get round to using it so only screen that data you want to contact.
Also if you have people on your database that have requested not to be contacted or you have a suppression flag on your database then don’t waste your time or money cleaning these records again
Flag your records rather than delete
Deleting records rather than flagging records may be a cheaper option when doing a campaign however if you flag the suppressed record you save money in the long run as you aren’t paying over and over again for the same record to be matched. Plus you can activate your different suppression files accordingly – for example, a gone way could be matched against the new address file at a later date.
Little and often is key
Do regular monthly clean little and often rather than be faced with a large yearly clean bill especially if you are doing regular mailings.