Data, Direct Mail

Data Hygiene Essentials

Data can be one of your greatest assets in growing and maintaining your business.  It can help you bring in new leads as well as follow up with existing customers.  Sales volume can increase while existing customers can be happy about special offers that have been given to them by mail or email.  With all of the advantages of having data, there is a cost and a responsibility to maintain data hygiene.

Data hygiene is the process of cleaning data.  Data is considered to be clean when there are only a small number of errors in a database.  Dirty data can be caused by several different factors, which might include: records not updated by the NCOA, updated “Panders” (those that do not want to receive direct mail), incomplete data, and duplicates.  No one would argue the importance of personal hygiene, and so it is with the hygiene of your data.  By having clean data, you will find better results in all of your direct marketing efforts.  Below are some “Data Hygiene Essentials” that will help you achieve good data hygiene.


Every year millions of Americans move their place of residence and business.  It is no surprise their old addresses will remain in consumer and business databases.  As a result, mailings will continue to go to old addresses and won’t be seen by your lead.  Most mailings will be undeliverable because of incorrect addresses, which translates to missed opportunities in sales, and money spent.

By having your data updated with the NCOA (National Change of Address) the percentage of undeliverable records will be reduced allowing your direct marketing campaigns to be more cost efficient.  You can save thousands of dollars and retain valuable leads by implementing NCOA into your data hygiene process.

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CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) is a certification process the USPS (United States Postal Service) developed for ensuring mailing list addresses are complete and accurate.  Implementing CASS into your data hygiene process will make your data more comprehensive, allowing you to reach more customers.


Duplicates will sometimes occur in your database.  Make sure to remove them so that you are not paying for multiple mail pieces and postage to reach a single lead.


The DNC or National Do Not Call Registry gives people a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home.  By implementing this into your database, your telemarketing process will run more smoothly, and you’ll comply with federal law.

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Like the DNC, the “Pander” file is a list of people that have asked to not receive direct mail advertising.  Although this service is optional, running your file against this list will save valuable marketing dollars

Remember that as you implement these “Data Hygiene Essentials” to your database, you will experience better cost efficiency and a higher success rate in your marketing campaigns.

This post was originally written by Tyson Knowles and was updated by Wendy Harwood.

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