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How to make sure that addresses are quality ones

Introduction

You need to keep your addresses clean because its always about quality over quantity. It’s worth doing because it…

  1. Save money on distribution
  2. Reduces number of ‘return to sender’
  3. Improve your metrics
  4. Marketing list service providers don’t necessarily clean up addresses, so you need to!
Cleaning up – the manual way
  1. Identify typos in addresses and correct them
  2. Find duplicate addresses to delete
  3. Manually work out what County the address belongs to
  4. Move data into different fields to get the first line of address and street info correct
  5. Make sure that postcodes have spacing in the right place
  6. Remove non-address data like email addresses
Cleaning up steps – the DataWand way

We use our magical ‘Address cleaner’ wand, it does all the manual work for you, in seconds.

  1. It auto formats the address into its different components (house number, street, place, town, county, postcode)
  2. It auto corrects the case
  3. It automatically works out County and Country info if missing
  4. Formats postcodes
  5. Deletes email addresses found in the address

And hey presto! all your addresses are cleaned up within seconds ready for your next post mail campaign.

By the way, we speak from experience as we saved ourselves 4 hours by using DataWand to clean up a data list containing 5,000 UK addresses.

P.S. If your mailing labels only support 5 lines of address data you can use DataWand to easily merge address fields together and if you want to remove records because the postcode is incomplete, DataWand’s got an action for that too.

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5 tips on how to keep your data clean

clean-up
We spend so much time and investment in data gathering which, despite our best efforts, corrodes over time.

To retain data quality, you should make sure you have the correct automated and manual processes and procedures in place.

Here are five tips that we have for you to consider:

  1. Ensure that a clear set of data standard instructions are defined and exist on how data is to be stored e.g. postcode to be stored without whitespace
  2. Encourage your staff to check and update a customer’s data each time they are in contact with them
  3. Validate all data entry points before saving new data or when updating existing data
  4. Invite your customers to maintain their own data via a secure web portal
  5. To reduce data entry errors, use drop-down lists in forms as much as possible

The trick is to make sure that all your processes and procedures stay current and try and automate as much as possible.

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Merging street address data example

Last week we were asked to merge street address data from two different fields into one because the email campaign software importer that was going to be used only allowed a single street address field.

Microsoft Excel could have done this using a macro but if you don’t have Microsoft Excel or you do and don’t want to write macros (like us), luckily there’s DataWand to the rescue.

We just use DataWand’s ‘Merge columns’ wand, we specify the two fields that we want to merge (e.g. B,C) and hey presto! your preview shows the merged info.

Here’s it in action; before and after:

example_address_merge

 

Simples.

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Data migration experts

We would like to make it official and state that we, the DataWand Wizards, feel for data migration experts. Their job isn’t made easy given the volumes of data that we now store and the lack of standards with easy import/export routines in software applications and we’re talking about those applications with a database at their core such as Oracle, SAP, Sage, Quickbooks and Microsoft Access.

There are a number of data migration experts and consultants out there and we would like to make their jobs easier by saving them time and headache by reducing the number of bespoke scripts and manual re-work that’s undertaken. We hope that DataWand becomes one of those tools (dare we say wand?) in their toolkit.

Take the example of when IBM won the London Congestion Charging contract from Capita in 2008 and started operating it in 2009. We wondered if their data migration experts could have used DataWand to ensure that the data was as good as possible before importing it into their new system? But,  IBM do have a vast software library (like Softek) and resources that they can call upon. Who knows, maybe DataWand will be used next time around.

Anyway, we’re looking forward to hearing from data migration exports and consultants so we can lend you a wand. 🙂