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Spring Cleaning Checklist: Database Marketing Edition

Now that spring has finally arrived, this may be a good time to consider “spring cleaning” your home or office. It may also be a great time to consider spring cleaning your data.

A solid, clean database is crucial for direct marketing success in customer retention efforts. Your customer database tracks previous purchases and gifts and gives insight to a person’s buying behavior.

A clean database makes it easy to identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, meaning you can drive customers to act a certain way by knowing how they’ve shopped in the past and then delivering a custom message unique to the recipient.

The quality and accuracy of your mailing list makes or breaks the level of personalization you are able to achieve. It’s hard to develop a one-to-one message if you don’t know who you are speaking to or what you want to drive them to do – or if they’re even your customer anymore.

Here are three easy activities to check off your database spring cleaning list:

  • Perform a merge/purge and de-dupe on your data to ensure that each customer is associated to one unique record. Inaccurate entries that list a single customer as multiple customers in different records waste resources. A clean list ensures that you are only mailing one piece to each person.
  • Run your database through NCOA (National Change of Address/Deceased) and CASS address standardization software. This identifies records that need updating because the person moved or passed away, and then converts all remaining records into a single, standard format approved by the USPS. This, in conjunction with de-dupping, ensures the highest deliverability rates and lowest postage costs.
  • Segment your customers into categories based on the types of products/services they buy from you, how many different products/services they buy from you, how often they buy these products/services from you, and how much they typically spend on each purchase. You can use this information to determine customer lifetime value, or the total accumulation of all of the money a customer will spend with you over the course of their customer lifecycle. This allows you to determine who is worth your marketing dollars and who is not, meaning you can weed out low spenders and “one-off” customers and allocate your marketing budget toward only the customers that purchase from you regularly (or could purchase regularly) and therefore are in the highest decile and the most likely to respond to your messages. You can also use this information to craft higher impact messages: by knowing what a person is already buying, you can deliver more relevant product recommendations and other offers to them.

Once you’ve checked these three activities off your list, you’re sure to have a solid, clean database that leads to success in your customer retention efforts.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.