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7 tips for efficient data cleansing


These days it can be easy for marketers to assume their data is being cleansed efficiently and that the majority of inaccurate records are being removed or updated to minimise waste. This is often not the case and the details behind the art of data hygiene and data improvement are not common knowledge.

At Response One we cleanse over 250 million records per annum for well over 100 well known businesses in the UK to ensure as many records are corrected or removed as possible, in turn saving our clients millions of pounds of valuable marketing budget each year. So we’ve put together 7 tips to help you get the best from your data cleansing service:  

1) Use the best suppression files

When it comes to data suppression, it’s a numbers game. Using a small number of reputable files means that you may be checking against 100 million records to find ones that match and should be removed or amended. At Response One we check against over 450 million records from tried and tested suppression providers, commonly used to test new lists to the market. The more records you check against the more you will find and we have found this to be the case every time we provide free data audits for clients.

2) Use the right matching criteria for suppressions and de-dupes

Ensure you understand the type of campaign being produced and the criteria required to get the best results. Matching on just a surname at an address is not going to help in your results unless you are looking to reduce your overall volumes. For complete confidence in the suppression files, ensure that more than one piece of evidence has been provided to show the matched record is no longer at their address or that adequate certification has been provided. Getting the matching criteria wrong may over or under suppress your data and impact the return on your campaigns.

3) Check the integrity of suppression files

It is absolutely key that tried and tested suppression files are used and that you are sure that the data is from a reputable source. Failure to check this can lead to over suppression, lost revenue and potential breaches of data protection. Understand where the list comes from and perform testing before going live.

4) How regularly are the suppression files updated?

We recommend that monthly (if not weekly) updates are applied so that you also have the latest information on who has moved or passed away. With some files it can take months for the data to be recorded and fed through to your updates, with other files the information becomes available within days/weeks, so having a good blend of these files and regular updates can help protect your brand and reduce costs.

5) Think of annual rather than one-off costs

Cleansing costs depend on the experience of your provider, the processing software used and the volume of suppressions purchased per year. Check the total annual amount of data cleansing you need as you will be in a much better position to negotiate better rates on larger volumes.

6) Don’t forget to check for poor quality records

Ensure your systems are up to date and that the latest obscenities are added to the exclusion file to avoid causing offence and serious damaging your brand if shared on social media! Also ensure all blank details or missing details within records are flagged and removed and that you aren’t accidentally sending communications to businesses when the intended audience is consumers.

7) Where have your goneaways gone and who has moved into their old home?

There are now services that allow you to reconnect with customers who have moved house. This provides a great opportunity to re-engage with them and continue your relationship. Not only can you contact them but you can also find the details for the people who have moved into their old home, which is very useful if their profile matches your target audience for new business.