Origins of Contact Data

You have a database filled with contact information. Great! However, before you launch that next direct mail campaign, you may want to do some preliminary contact verification. Depending on where your data came from, your database could have a serious case of the poor data quality blues. How your data fares in terms of data quality depends on where it came from, how old it is, and how long it’s been since the list underwent address verification.

So, where did your contact data come from? Generally speaking, you can either have first party, second, or third party contact data, or a mix of the three.

What is First Party Data?

First party contact data is contact data provided directly from your customers and prospects. For example, when a customer orders a product from your website and supplies you with his or her name, phone number, email address, and shipping address. While presumably genuine and accurate, contact verification is still recommended for verifying first party data due to occasional typos, autocorrect errors, spelling errors, mistakes, and even concerns about fraudulent orders. In addition, due to frequent address changes, plan on using data quality software to verify and correct contact information on a regular basis.

What is Second Party Data?

Second party contact data is data sourced from indirect channels such as via a partnership with another business. Here’s how describes second party data: “…somebody else’s first party data.”

Like first party data, contract verification is important. While this data is presumably “clean” because your partner’s customers and prospects provided it directly, mistakes and errors are common and should be corrected and all addresses standardized. Data quality software makes this a snap. Plus, when was the last time your partner ran address verification on its list, and how old is that data? Again, you’ll want to run both an initial address verification check as well as cleanse the list on a regular basis to ensure you have the most current contact information possible.

What is Third Party Data?

Third party data, as the name implies, comes from a third party. It is generated externally from your company, and often aggregated from various sources. In fact, providers of third party data are frequently referred to as “data aggregators.” For example, when you buy demographic data or a mailing list from a data aggregator, that data is third party data. Though third party data has its place, it’s not necessarily as trustworthy as first party data. It really depends on the source.

Depending on the source, and depending on whether or not the data aggregator uses data quality software of its own, third party data could be filled with inaccurate contact information. Contact verification is an absolute must to clean up this data before you use it.

The Importance of Using Data Quality Software for Contact Verification
No matter how high quality your data may have been originally, as contact and demographic data ages, its quality degrades. People sell their homes and move away, business professionals move from one company to another, cities rename their streets, and so on.

So, a few mailers will come back as undeliverable; what’s the big deal? It’s not a big deal if you have a small list and are willing to manually correct addresses, but it becomes a big problem as your list size grows.

Service Objects’ real-time address verification API instantly corrects addresses and reduces costs, helping to ensure that your marketing dollars are well-spent and that you messages reach their intended audience. Whether you have first, second, or third party data, don’t you want that data to be current and accurate? Sign up for a free trial key and recover from the poor data quality blues.

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