Data Tips: Deduping and Suppressing

Cleaning a database of dedupes is one of the simplest ways to maximize its efficiency for your data marketing needs. This includes many small steps, but two are imperative when mailing to your customers.

The first is deduping. Deduping is simply the process of removing duplicate records. There are several different options you can choose to go by when deduping, this allows your marketing campaign to be as efficient and direct as you would like. For example, here is a list of deduping options that CSG offers.

One Per Individual Deduping

Individual Exact – This matches the address, first and last name, and zip code. So, if there is a Bob Smith at 123 Liberty Lane in your list twice one will be exported out of your list.

Individual Tight – Compares the same as above, but those that sound alike, such as: Christopher Ryan at 123 Liberty Lane, Chris Ryan at Liberty Lane or Jonathan Smith or John Smith. These are considered the same person and therefor a dedupe.

Individual Exact and Tight deduping comes in handy when your mailer has individual offers like the example below.

John Smith at 150 Freedom Dr. gets 100 bonus points
Sally Smith at 150 Freedom Dr. gets 120 bonus points

Although both live at the same address, they both have different first names therefor are not deduped out by using Individual Exact and Tight. This allows you to market to multiple people within a single household. Furthermore, you can market variable offers to every unique individual inside your data list.

One Per Household Deduping

Resident Exact – Dedupes the list by address and zip code only. So regardless of name if two or more records have the same exact address all but one record will be exported out of the main list.

Family Tight – Compares the last name, address, and zip code. This catches and slight variation of spelling that may occur between dedupes.

For example:
John Smith, 123 Liberty Lane, Apt B302
John Smith, 123 Liberty Lane

The above is a dedupe, although one of the above addresses contains an apartment number, the bottom record must be deleted in order to prevent the targeted clientele receiving multiple mailers for the same marketing campaign.

Resident Exact and Family Tight are handy for generic mailers that don’t have variable offers. There is really no need to send a mailer to everyone in a household for the same event, not only is it over marketing and annoying to those receiving the offer, but it is a waste of print and postage expenditures.

One Per Company Deduping

Company Exact – Much like Individual Exact with the exception that it compares the Company Name instead of the First and last along with the address/zip code.

Company Tight – Matches Company names that sound alike and have the same address/zip code.

For example:
Flag Makers Incorporation, 123 Freedom Way Suite 202
Flag Makers Inc. 123 Freedom Way Suite 202

This is obviously a dedupe, but wasn’t picked out by Company Exact because “Incorporation” was abbreviated in one and not the other.

Company Exact and Tight is only used when a list contains a company field.

There are instances where you will have First and last name fields along with a company field. This opens the possibility that several individuals at the same company and address will be in your list. Whether you want each of those instances to be mailed to will be entirely up to you.

Suppression

Suppression is when two different data lists are deduped against each other; whether it be Individual Exact, Resident Exact, etc.

This is typically utilized when you don’t want to mail to customers that were previously mailed to in recent marketing campaign.

So you can see that there is a lot that can be done to with these two data processes that can save you some big bucks, prevent your mailers from annoying your targeted audience, and ultimately insuring that you are getting the best out of your data.

Database Marketing – Quick Tips for Database Bliss

Database Marketing starts with a database.  Database tips for our friends in direct mailing marketing.

Here at CSG Direct, we’ve seen every type of “database” you can think of, from mailing labels copied into PDF files to multiple relational SQL monstrosities. We’re always dealing with new challenges and finding new solutions for making your database the powerhouse it can be.

So here are a couple of tips from our data team

Even though Excel is a spreadsheet program, it is one of the most widely used mediums for database storage. I can hear you now, saying, isn’t that the same thing as a database? Well not necessarily… “A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper accounting worksheet” Excel is designed to quickly handle financial calculations, numbers and formulas. Therefore when using it as a database, there are a few precautions one should take.

1) Sorting: “So let’s see if I’m in the database” you say and quickly highlight the last name column and hit the A-Z button at the top, you see your last name, figure “ok! Good enough” and hit save. This is one of the most common and most destructive mistakes that can be made in Excel. What just occurred is that all your other fields stayed exactly as they were, while the last name field was placed in alphabetical order by itself. Now everyone in the database has the wrong last name.

2) Numbers: Remember that Excel is a spreadsheet! It loves to perform calculations and “properly” format numbers for you. Quick things to keep an eye out for, would be: Account numbers being formatted oddly, east coast zip codes missing their leading zero, cash amount fields having differing decimal places, even phone number fields having math done on them (something like 775-852-9777 turning into -9854)

3) Line breaks: In the final stretch of putting the finishing touches on your Excel database, then you realize this record has a secondary address, so you just place a carriage return and put the secondary address in the same cell below the first. In an Excel Cell its easy to add a line break, the problem is that when exporting a database out of Excel most database programs won’t recognize odd characters within a field and either jumble the record or completely leave it out. When in doubt it’s always better to just add another column.

4) Coding: There have been many great looking spreadsheets out there with colors that dazzle, but remember that when you use cell colors to delineate between multiple tiers of a database, they won’t translate over into real databases. It’s always best to use a separate field and populate it with whatever alpha-numeric signifier you might need! That way when the database is moved out of Excel it’ll still be there!

Until next time… Keep the data flowing to CSG Direct Mail