In today’s economic climate and with marketing budgets constantly being squeezed, it is vital that communications work as efficiently as possible by eliminating a wide range of direct and indirect costs/ issues associated with sending mail to people that cannot respond.

All data needs to be clean and up-to-date in order to work effectively, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Our top 10 tips for data cleansing success and improved data accuracy will help you on your way.

  1. Regular data cleansing
    Data changes all the time, so it makes sense to cleanse data regularly. Suppression file screening for deceased and gone-aways should be done as a matter of course before communicating with donors/customers and/or a prospects. This will not only cut mailing costs and reduce wastage by contacting clean data only; it will also improve financial management by allowing for cost planning on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  2. Apply a Unique ID to your donor/ customer data
    Often called a unique reference number or URN, this field enables the accurate management of data, including tracking and merging of changes. Importing changes such as data cleansing suppression flags be done using a URN and the flag itself.
  3. Implement data capture and input controls
    Create data capture guidelines to improve basic data quality, including things such as making all required fields mandatory e.g. postcode. Consistency is also vital e.g. Rd or Road, Ltd or Limited, 01/01/2014 or 01.01.2014. This improves data cleansing accuracy and saves processing time.
  4. Ensure field separation
    Separate core fields; they can always be merged later on e.g. Suburb, State, Postcode and First Name, Initial and Surname.
  5. Choose your data cleansing supplier carefully
    Do your research and choose the supplier who best suits your needs. Once you have selected your supplier give them as much notice as possible so that time does not become a barrier. It’s better to take 36 hours to get it right than 3 hours to get it wrong.
  6. Request a free data health check report
    Data cleansing is an important process to ensure data quality. Assess the live situation with your data by getting a free data health check report.
  7. Protect your data
    This isn’t a consideration it’s a requirement. Your supplier should provide you with a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) and a secure method of transferring your data. As an additional security measure, ensure you encrypt/ password protect your data before sending for data cleansing.
  8. Export and supply only the required fields
    This saves time on transmitting and processing of the data, and saves storage space. Include the suppression flag if your data contains one; if not exclude those records. Don’t waste time and money suppressing them again. However, for gone-away records, try identifying them as movers through a separate data cleanse.
  9. Agree return file layout and format
    How would like your data returned to you after the data cleansing has been completed? Agree the file layout and format with your supplier. Make your supplier work harder to make your job easier!
  10. Don’t just mail the file
    Once data cleansing has been completed make sure you import the changes into your CRM or database management system. This is where a URN comes into play to make the import easier.

If you have any questions, call +612 9340 7019 to discuss data cleansing options for your organisation.