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Do You Really Know Where Your Customers Live?

Martin Doyle August 20th, 2013 Data Quality

If you send mailshots or marketing material through the post, you need a reliable address database for your customers. Sounds obvious. But all too often, the address data that businesses rely on is of such a low quality, it’s actually costing them money and time, rather than improving their return on investment (ROI).

Getting addresses right means ensuring your data is of a good quality. That means conducting a number of cross checks on your database and adjusting the contents accordingly. This process may need to be repeated periodically to ensure the data quality is retained on an ongoing basis.

Thankfully, no business needs to do this by hand: data quality tools can help.

 Why Check Addresses?

As a database grows, it becomes more unwieldy. Data quality inevitably drops and duplicate records appear as customers move house, contacts pass away and subscribers opt out of your marketing messages.

It’s tempting to simply let the contents of a growing database go stale. But there are numerous drawbacks to neglecting a mailing list in this way, and most of them can directly impact your bottom line.

  • Mail is sent to incorrectly named recipients, or duplicated contacts, affecting your credibility.
  • The response rate for your marketing efforts goes down, negatively affecting your ROI and metrics.
  • Misdirected or unwanted mail becomes an issue; people who never opted in to your mailing list find the ‘junk’ mail bothersome and may not know how to opt out.
  • Your employees are burdened with dealing with messy, low quality data that slows them down and affects productivity.
  • Costs are increased unnecessarily; the database grows far bigger than it ought to be, and returned mail has to be dealt with on a larger scale.
  • There is a substantial knock-on effect for third parties, such as delivery companies. The US postal service estimates that the cost of undeliverable mail amounts to more than $1 billion per year.

In addition, consider just how valuable an accurate address is. According to research, existing customers are three times more likely to make a purchase when compared to non-customers. It pays to keep those customers happy and maintain quality data that’s reliable and credible.

In contrast, an individual receiving unwanted mail for a bereaved relative is unlikely to see your business in a positive light.

Using a Data Quality Tool

Data quality tools help businesses maintain (or rescue) databases before declining quality becomes a problem. Data quality software uses a variety of algorithms, matching techniques and logic to cleanse databases with the minimum amount of manual intervention.

By using data quality solutions, you can quickly improve the accuracy of a postal mailing list, checking for mistakes such as misspellings, duplicate records and incomplete contact information. These tools can check addresses from practically any country in the world, and they can also scan your database for individuals who are known to be deceased, as well as living persons who have simply moved house and are marked ‘gone away’.

No matter what format your database is in, or how out-of-date you believe it to be, keeping quality data records should be a matter of routine for any business.


Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.