Data, Data Driven Marketing

The Basics of Data Append

My grandfather loved to put together puzzles.  While sitting at a folding table, he taught me to begin with the edge pieces, then to search out pieces with the same pattern, or pieces that I knew belonged to a particular part of the puzzle’s image.  After time had passed, the image of the puzzle began to come into focus, but there always seemed to be gaps or elusive pieces that weren’t put into place until the puzzle was nearly complete.

Individual records within a company’s database can be much the same way.  Like a puzzle, data surrounding a particular individual is gathered and added to the database as the relationship grows.  Sometimes, like a puzzle, gaps and elusive pieces of information are missed, and the record is incomplete.

Businesses complete their data puzzles through data append.

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Data append is the process by which new information is added to an existing record within a database. When a record within a database is missing information, such as complete or partial postal address, email address or telephone number, a data append can be run on the file to add these missing components.  The new information is gleaned by using identifying information already contained within the data and matching the records to vast databases of information.

If you have a list of email addresses you have gathered from a landing page, those email addresses are used to append a name, postal address and potentially a phone number for the person to whom the email address belongs.  Similarly, if you have a name and a postal address, a telephone number or an email address can be added to the data or both.


It should be no surprise to learn that when an email is appended to existing data, it is called an “email append” or when a phone number is appended, it is called a “phone append.”  When the reverse occurs, a postal address is added to an existing email address, or an existing telephone number, this is called a “reverse email append” or “reverse phone append,” respectively.

Appending postal, email or telephone data to an existing database allows companies to reach out to customers in a multi-channel approach.  In this way, companies may utilize multiple marketing platforms to reach out to and engage with current customers and potential new clients. Given the statistic that it takes between 6-8 touches before the creation of a viable lead, this is where having multiple points of contact comes in handy.

With these new points of contact, a company may choose to begin their next campaign with a postcard sent through the mail, introduction and follow-up emails strategically sent before and after the mail drops, and telephone calls to answer questions or provide further details.  Meanwhile, targeted educational and informative ads and sponsored posts are placed on social media.  These highly targeted posts are made possible by the phone numbers, and email addresses previously appended to the database.

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According to the 2016 DMA Response Rate Report, 52% of marketers used three or more channels in 2016.  That was up from 44% the year prior.  This trend will likely continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Companies who fail to implement a multi-channel approach may find themselves lost in the white noise of competitors on the same channel.

Data append adds more than contact information.

Perhaps your company’s database is intact and does not have incomplete contact information.  A data append can still provide value to your firm, as other types of useful data may also be appended to a file.  Demographic, psychographic and lifestyle information can be appended to consumer records.  For business leads, firmographics, contact details, and classifications can be appended.

At this point you may be thinking, “Great, but what does this have to do with marketing?”

Through data analysis and data profiling, these newly appended data nuggets allow companies to gain intelligence and insight into their current customers as well as lead the company to new contacts and marketing strategies.

Data append ultimately allows a company to know the individuals in their database.  Not just a name and geographic location, but what that person is interested in, what type of home they live in, who lives with them, what they do to make money and how they spend it, and more.  With this knowledge, marketers build more targeted campaigns by segmenting their customer file and personalizing content and offers.  (Data analysis and data profiling are discussed in this post.)

Through the use of data append, companies can fill in the gaps in their data puzzles.  When each piece is in the proper place, companies gain valuable insights into the lives of their customers.  Seeing a company’s completed data puzzle may be even more satisfying than completing that 6,000 piece puzzle with my grandfather.


If you need assistance completing your data puzzle, contact ANS for a free analysis of your database.  Call 1-800-434-1851 or email

Learn more about Data Append on our website.

Learn about other data services we offer.

4 thoughts on “The Basics of Data Append

  1. First of all, being bored at work does pay well if you have a Smartphone and you browse through blogs. Amazing information with facts thoughtfully incorporated within. Definitely going to come back for more! 🙂

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