3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto

3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto

Data hygiene. While it’s not as inspiring as other direct marketing topics like branding or creative development, it’s music to the ears of data analysts. To them, it means “clean lists.” And to campaign managers, it means “better response rates” and “ROI.”

When we work with a client on a direct mail campaign, we have to consider how all elements work together to drive optimal results. And clean lists are essential, arguably more essential than compelling messages and effective creative. If your customer or prospect doesn’t receive your mailings, what difference does your creative make? Your data quality impacts the effectiveness of your marketing. Period.

So let’s get right down to it and talk about the importance of working with clean data files—and what you can do to start cleaning yours up today.

1. You’ll Reach More of Your Audience
Are your data files as dusty as your old Rolodex? If so, a number of your mailings won’t reach their targets and sales’ phone calls will ring on deaf ears. Customers move homes, businesses relocate and change names, and people change jobs. About 20% of your list will require updating annually, in fact, as roughly one in five consumers move each year. That makes connecting your message with these “movers” like a shot in the dark—if you’re working from an old list, that is.

And what if your lists are filled with errors that make them (gasp!) undeliverable-as-addressed? Or they contain ambiguities that delay their delivery, making it impossible for these customers and prospects to take advantage of your incredible offer?

Clean ‘em up!
While your sales team can actively manage your database by updating files as they talk to customers, their efforts aren’t enough. They may not be contacting lapsed, or “old,” customers, plus some of the information they type into the system will contain errors. So before your next mailing or call campaign, get your lists run through specialized software to:

2. You’ll Have Lower Campaign Costs
Here’s a cautionary tale: 3 envelopes are mailed out to your prospect’s company. One is addressed to the VP of Marketing, another to Mary Smith, and yet another to M. Smith. Adding insult to injury, one is delivered on Tuesday, the next on Thursday, and the last one gets stamped returned-to-sender.

Consider the costs, let alone the hassle, of manually managing “bad” addresses in your database and then dealing with returned mail on the back-end. What about the costs of printing multiple mail pieces for the same contact and the potential costs of inadvertently promoting a negative, wasteful image about your company? Now add those to the additional costs of postage.

Clean ‘em up!
Standardized mailing addresses ensure that mail moves quickly and efficiently through the post office. That means your message reaches customers and prospects in a timely and consistent manner—and each person receives only one mailing. And the best part is you can qualify for maximum USPS discounts. Reduce your campaign costs by using software to:

3. You’ll Have Greater Control Over Brand and Company Perception
Another story: A prospect receives a mailing and the address panel is in all lowercase letters, written in the shorthand of the salesperson who added it to your company’s database. To add insult to injury, the sales person typed “crabby lady” into the Address 2 field. And did we mention she actually received two mailings, thanks to a duplicate record?


It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: You want your marketing materials to look professional and make a great impression. And you guessed it. “Bad” data can muddy the waters and hurt your brand image.

Clean ‘em up!
Aside from the aforementioned solutions (e.g. updating addresses, standardizing and purging duplicates from lists), use software to convert all the information in your mailing list form one case to another or to mixed case.

Isn’t it time to clean your lists and start seeing better results? Reach out to us to help you keep your mailing lists clean.