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How to Clean Your Customer Database

Your customer database is one of your most valuable assets, but if mismanaged this list could be useless or even worse could be costing you in marketing expenses and poor brand management.  Below are a few tips to clean your customer database.

Remove duplicates: You should remove duplicate entries so your database is easy to navigate and you are not misinterpreting your data or sending marketing collateral twice to the same person.  There are various options to de-dupe (remove duplicates from your list) including de-duping by name, address, last name, etc and Action Mail can even set parameters to catch close matches which could result from mis-entered data.

Ensure Accurate Data:  Run your list against the USPS database to ensure mailing addresses and addressees match what the USPS has. This is also known as CASS certification.  This will flag any records that do not match the USPS database as well as clean your records to match the correct USPS formatting.  Not only will CASS certifying your data save you from sending direct mail to undeliverable addresses, it will also clean your database to ensure consistency.

Updating your database: Action Mail can also update the addresses in your customer database to account for households that have moved.  Action Mail can run your data against the NCOA (National Change of Address Database), and let you know which of your customers have moved and their new address.  This helps ensure your database is up to date with your clients most recent address as well as helps you remove clients that have moved out of your target geography from receiving marketing collateral and direct mail.

Appending your Database: It is also possible to append data to your database.  This can include demographic information like income, age, etc to help profile your customers and it can also include additional information which can help your marketing efforts including email addresses, birth months.  The possibilities are endless, but the caveat is that clean and more well developed your database is the higher probability you can append data.

Ensuring Consistency: Your database should also be consistent.  Your field names should be consistent and clear and your data should all be in the same case and formatting.  This enables you to use your data for variable printing without worrying about re-formatting the data.  Ideally this should be done at data entry but Action Mail can reformat your data to ensure consistency.

Your most valuable asset should be cared for and used to market to existing customers as well as understand your current customer demographic for future marketing efforts.  Make sure your data is clean, consistent, and includes as much valuable information as possible.  Once you have your database cleaned be sure to maintain it and develop a strategy to use it correctly. 

How to create the best customer database

Big data is the new buzz word, but often time’s small data is much more important and valuable.  Customer and donor information is crucial to understand and re-engage key clientele. Targeting proven customers will dramatically increase your ROI, help develop customer loyalty, and in turn help generate new leads through referrals. Below are a few tips on how to maintain your customer database

1.        Collect as much relevant data as possible.  The more data you have the more flexibility you will have to tailor your marketing to your specific clientele.  Do not just focus on collecting as many contacts as possible, but also concentrate on collecting other relevant data points that could take your marketing to the next level.  Variable data printing allows you to personalize each piece, so be sure you have enough relevant data so you can design your marketing specifically to your target audience. Examples of some of these data points could be gender, purchase types, purchase frequency, etc.  Be careful not to overload either the consumer or yourself and focus on collecting relevant information that you can use in your future campaigns.

2.      Ensure accuracy.  Sending misspelled or inaccurate personalized marketing pieces will most likely negatively affect your relationship with your client.  Ensure data collection and entry are accurate and take the extra time when collecting data to make sure everything is spelled and entered correctly.  One strategy that may help reduce errors is to have your customer directly enter their information into your CRM through an online form, questionnaire, rewards program, etc

3.      Regularly update and clean your database.  Make sure your database is up to date with correct addresses and customer information.  Remove or flag all inaccurate or irrelevant data points and entries.  Regularly updating the database ensures better customer insight and allows you to pivot your marketing plan based on your data.  Cass certifying and running your lists against NCOA National Change of Address, will ensure that your data is relevant and clean.

4.      Organize your data.  Once data is collected it should be stored in an organized manner.  The database should be uniform and data points should be clearly labeled.  Clean, organized data will save you time and money analyzing your data and preparing marketing campaigns. Data should be periodically de-duped (duplicated removed) and irrelevant data should be removed.

Small data is your key to understanding you current clientele and marketing towards them or similar individuals.  Make sure you maintain an accurate and relevant customer database, and put it the test by implementing personalized marketing campaigns to your customer base.

Once you have your in house database you can use the data you collected to find lists of similar individuals or businesses.  Action Mail can even help you append additional data like email address or demographics to you current list and find new lists with similar characteristics.

 One of your most valuable resources is your customer list.  Be sure to create and maintain a list that is accurate, informative, organized and relevant.