Posts Tagged ‘contact records’

What is Scarier than Halloween? Bad Data!

Halloween – which has its roots as an Irish celebration honoring the dead – is a night nowadays where children (and more than a few adults) dress in ghoulish costumes to scare people and get candy from them.

It is also a pretty good metaphor for the world of data professionals. You too constantly have threats knocking at your door, except that the stakes are much higher, including things like higher costs, delivery problems, fraud and compliance issues. And instead of candy, these threats can steal your productivity, your customer service reputation, or even your merchandise.

In this article, we’ll look at a few of the scariest things businesses face as a result of data quality issues, along with ways to solve them.

Common data quality “ghouls”

First, let’s look at just a few of the characters you might find lurking in your data this Halloween:

Zombie contact records. Mistyped data. Fake contacts submitted to get marketing goodies. Undeliverable addresses. Missing information. All of these gremlins probably exist in your unverified contact data, and they are costing you money – every time you send a catalogue, run a marketing campaign, or ship a product to a customer.

The solution: Validation tools including our flagship Address Validation services for US, Canada and international addresses, as well as our Address Detective capabilities for fixing missing data or incomplete addresses. We can also add business intelligence to power your contact records, including appending phone numbers, geocoding addresses, and adding demographic information.

The data decay mummy. Even if your contact data is perfect today, it won’t be tomorrow. According to recent figures from HubSpot, nearly a quarter of your contact data degrades every year as people move, change their positions, get new email addresses and more.

The solution: Dealing with data decay involves teaming up our products with your business processes. It means not only making sure that data is accurate on entry, from each of your customer and prospect touch points, but having regular data hygiene and data governance procedures to keep this data accurate and up-to-date at the time of use. Our team is always happy to advise you on best practices in this area, as well as products such as DOTS NCOA Live for processing USPS change-of-address data.

The creature from the dark web. Not every prospect or customer has the best of intentions. Fraudulent leads and orders scam businesses to the tune of billions of US dollars per year, with the cost of card-not-present fraud alone projected to reach $7.2 billion by 2020 – not to mention all of the associated costs in time, manpower and lost productivity associated with dealing with fraud.

The solution: Business fraud is often a data quality problem, fueled by factors such as fake shipping addresses for legitimate businesses, fraudulent credit cards, and domestic orders that originate from offshore sources. Our data solutions for fraud prevention include email, BIN number and IP validation, as well as integrated lead and order validation capabilities that check multiple data sources and give you a quantitative confidence score.

The compliance monster. Once upon a time, companies often lived with a certain amount of bad data as a cost of doing business. Today that strategy can be a very costly mistake, as a growing number of data privacy regulations now involve serious penalties for calling, texting or emailing the wrong people.

Compliance with regulations such as the CAN-SPAM act for email, US Federal TCPA regulations for telephone and text marketing, and the European Union’s strict GDPR regulations for marketing to European citizens have now become a major responsibility for data managers worldwide.

The solution: We have specific solutions to assist with TCPA and GDPR compliance, and in the latter case we can also offer you and your team a free GDPR data quality assessment. In addition, our full suite of validation products can help ensure you are marketing to accurate and up-to-date contacts.

Don’t be scared – be prepared

Our friendly and knowledgeable technical team are always on call to help turn your ghouls into goals. We’ll call you back within 90 minutes with any questions you have, help you with implementation issues, and provide support that is available 24 hours a day if needed. And we’ll even give you a free treat: a license key to test up to 500 records with any of our products, with no cost or obligation. You can even take these products for a spin anytime, right on our website.

So don’t be scared of bad data this Halloween – give us a call instead. You’ll find that whatever your data problems are, our solutions are just the trick!

Happy Halloween!

Choosing the Right Validation Service

Should you use a single-purpose or composite validation service for your lead or contact data? Put another way, do you have a singular data validation need, or have you collected multiple data points that can be combined and leveraged?

The goal of this blog is to highlight the various options to consider when looking at data validation solutions. Your decision will depend on the data points you collect along with the timeframe in which they gather them.

Single-purpose versus composite validation services

Our data validation products cover a wide variety of information such as addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, tax rates, BINs, and names. In general terms, the core single-purpose services cover a single field. For example, our DOTS Address Validation – US web service covers data validation for addresses within the United States. Similarly, our DOTS Email Validation web service covers the realm of emails.

Composite services leverage the strengths of our core validation engines along with custom logic to cross-reference and gain insights across multiple data fields. A great example of a composite service is our Lead Validation web services. Our Lead Validation solution is able to cross-validate a contact’s name, address, phone numbers, e-mail and IP address to verify that they are related to the person in question.

Single-purpose validation and when to use them

Our core web services are tailored to perform corrections, standardization, validations and verifications within their respective domain at blazing fast speeds. They are built to do the best job within their specific data category and their speeds aren’t hindered by having their hands in too many pots. These core web services are the ideal choice if you have a more limited scope of data inputs and a specific validation need, such as address, email, or name validation. Theses services are generally less expensive, as they are validating against fewer authoritative datasets.

Composite validation and when to use them

When using a composite service, you benefit from the combined power of the individual core services. The same web service engines are baked into the composite services to provide the most accuracy and speed while extending the composite service’s utility via cross referential logic. The additional data points, coupled with our validation and fuzzy logic, allow the composite services to leverage multiple datasets to make the most informed verification and correction decisions. A couple of examples of our composite services are Address Detective and Lead Validation for US, Canadian and International leads.

The data collected and how it’s used – determines the service

If you are only collecting a single piece of information, a single-purpose web service will be the clear choice. The data can be validated for the single item and then leveraged to fit your business needs. However, it is not uncommon to have multiple pieces of data collected for a lead. This could be data that was collected in a single pass or built out over time.

Depending on the data collection timeframe and your specific needs, there are different approaches you can take to data validation. If you are collecting your data points (address, email, IP, name, phone, etc) over a period of time and need validation for the individual components then and there, one of our core services will be your best option.

If you are collecting multiple pieces at the same time or have looser restrictions on when the data is validated, waiting for more information could be beneficial. For example, if you wait until you have more data points in hand, our lead validation will have more information to validate and cross-reference. In turn, the overall validation scores and certainties have a better opportunity to be correct. Similarly, our Address Detective web service can take a step beyond the core Address Validation to leverage name and phone numbers to validate an address.

Another consideration is when you use contact data. For example, when marketing is preparing to send out an omnichannel marketing campaign for the holidays, validating customer and prospect lists should be part of the campaign plan, ideally just before sending.

So, do you need to see the overall picture of your lead, or do you simply need to ensure that each of its component pieces of data are correct? The answer to this question will help you choose the fastest and most cost-effective solution for your needs.