How do I cleanse my data for direct marketing?

No Comments

How do I cleanse my data for direct marketing?

With the increase in volume of data available for direct marketing, having processes to cleanse data is a must have component for a direct marketing data warehouse. There are two kinds of data that need to be standardized and validated. There is addressing data required to fulfill direct marketing’s core value of direct contact. There is also the trait data attached to each of these addressable contacts, and data in associated tables such as a retail store list. A strong data management team with the latest software tools can take raw data and return a database that is a high value asset for marketing.

Techniques for Cleansing Data for Direct Marketing

Data Profile

A database architect will create a data profile for the input data to learn about the contents. Profiles will created as appropriate for each field including key, length distribution, null ratios, statistics, and value distribution.

CASS, DPV (Delivery Point Validation)

CASS software is used to standardize the postal address and append additional delivery information including the zip+4. DPV software is used to validate that mail can be delivered to the address. These processes are used to improve delivery address information and identify addresses that are undeliverable.

NCOA (National Change of Address), PCOA (Proprietary Change of Address)

NCOA software checks the delivery address against a list of movers. The mover list is a database of USPS change of address cards. Of course, not everyone files a move card when they change addresses. PCOA systems use other database from credit cards companies, utilities, and other institutions to capture additional moves.


Merge/Purge software allows programmers to identify duplicate records and suppress undesired records. The software will have a few default run modes based on standard B-to-B or B-to-C criteria. However, these tools are highly configurable. Data Programmers with skill and experience can often achieve a better result for your specific criteria.

Email Verification

If your company has an active email marketing program with an ESP (email service provider) backend, you may already have data based on campaign deployment. For those records were the email has not been verified, a host of 3rd party solutions are available.

Data Quality Services (DQS)

Other data quality services including deceased and DMA suppression are readily available. In addition, custom DQS routines are often used to search for bad words and other known issues.

A Strong Foundation to Build On

While the value of address hygiene is readily apparent, the value for trait hygiene is realized over time. By standardizing the traits, the data is easier to work with (more efficient) and analytics can be used to make decisions with confidence.

I help marketing leaders and their teams innovate by utilizing business acumen, technology, and data. I am energized by the process of learning about organizational challenges, specifying the root causes and effects, and then envisioning a desired future state. I then prioritize tasks for both myself and team members to make that vision into reality. My passion is solving problems, reducing complexity, and creating elegant systems that deliver significant insight and value.

About us and this blog

Welcome to the dDirect Blog where we will write about direct marketing for CMO's, Marketing Directors, Marketing Managers interested in marketing data solutions, data management, database marketing, marketing metrics, analytics, marketing technology as it applies to direct, digital printing for direct mail, postal issues and more. Please feel free to share and query us about our articles.

Tom Coggin, President

More from our blog

See all posts
No Comments

Leave a Comment