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Cleansing your data

Data hygiene
 CTA vlog series 2

Data Management

Good data management is at the heart of effective direct marketing, preventing decay and ensuring the integrity of your data. Bad data can harm your customer relationships, cause bad publicity and result in additional costs due to postal returns.

At GI Solutions, we can help you get it right. Whether analysing data through our sister company GI Insight or cleaning up existing data, we have the expertise you need. Our data processing capabilities also cover the merge/purge/de-duplication requirements of campaigns that use multiple data sources.

Our services include:

  1. Data Cleansing
  2. Data Enhancement
  3. Data Analysis and Insight

We have outlined these services below, or for detailed information a PDF is available.
For a copy please email

Data Cleansing

Data cleansing or data suppression is the process of removing, adding or amending details to ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date to minimise wastage and maximise response rates. Removal of names and associated personal details of individuals and organizations that have requested not to receive direct marketing communications, either registered with preference services, or known to have moved or died is an essential part of cleansing your data.

The areas to consider are:

  • Gone Away Processing - Flags or removes individuals who have moved house.
  • Mortality Screening - Flags or Suppresses Deceased records.
  • Preference Service Screening - Removes unmailables, uncallables and unfaxables.
  • NCOA Home Owners.

Flags enable you to process the data yourself and make the amends within your data file. The new address details can be directly updated to your database at an additional charge.

Suppression Files:

Gone Away Suppression (GAS)
The Gone Away Suppression (GAS) files contain information on individuals who have moved location since 1992. The database is collated by collecting both negative data (move outs) and positive data (move ins). In the UK 3,200,000 people move house every year – up to 7,000 every day. Run by CNM, it currently holds over 26 million records containing information on individuals who have moved location.

Mortality Screening: TBR
The Bereavement Register (TBR) was launched in February 2000 as a service to the consumer to ensure the prompt removal of a deceased’s details from the databases of direct mail companies. The REaD Group owns and maintains the TBR and licenses Data8 to resell the service as part of their deceased suppression service. Using data cleansing to remove deceased records will avoid causing distress to bereaved relatives and will protect your brand. It can focus your resources in the right direction and reduce the costs of wasted communications. The majority of the data contained in the TBR file is received by using Death Certificate wallets that are circulated to funeral directors and registrars. This method means that deceased information arrives very quickly on the file, usually within a few weeks of death.

With over 1,500 deaths in the UK every day it’s vital that marketing databases are kept up-to-date to ensure cost-effective campaigns and avoid the negative publicity that mailing the deceased can create. The Mortascreen file currently contains the names and address details of over nine million deceased individuals, with around 50,000 new records collected each month. Mortascreen is updated every month with around 50,000 new records from known and trusted sources.

Preference Service Screening: The Mailing Preference Service
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free service set up and funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses (in the UK only) removed from lists used by the industry. It is actively supported by the Royal Mail and all directly involved trade associations and fully supported by The Information Commissioners Office.

Baby MPS
Many parents to be are happy to hear from companies who can help them at this exciting time in their lives but in the sad circumstances of the death of a baby, mailings to parents about baby products from well meaning companies can cause unintended hurt. The Mailing Preference Service provides Baby MPS.

National Change of Address (NCOA)
The NCOA Suppress File from the Royal Mail provides names and addresses of people who have moved in the UK, allowing you to flag or delete customer records that are no longer valid. The NCOA Suppress File (formerly Universal Suppression Service, USS) offers a premium dataset made up of several data sources. The majority of the data comes from the Royal Mail Redirection data (including deceased records). Additional records can also be found from third party client-confirmed data and third party postal-returned data, but both of these sources are not available by default in the Data8 goneaway suppression service.

Data Enhancement

Data enhancement is the process that corrects or adds information to a database containing names and addresses, for example telephone numbers or email addresses.

Data enhancement services include:
• De-duplication - Removes duplicated data at various levels
• PAF (postcode address file)
• Name & Address Enhancements - Validates names and addresses
• Case Converting

De-duping – This can be done at individual’s name, surname or address level. There are two types of de-duping data;

  • ‘Intra’ which is de-duping within the file itself. An intra-file dupe is a duplicate name and address found on the same mailing list
  • ‘Inter’ which is de-duping several separate data files. An inter-file dupe is a duplicate name and address found on multiple mailing lists

The Postcode Address File (PAF)

The Postcode Address File (PAF) is the most up-to-date and complete address database in the UK, containing over 28 million addresses. PAF is used as a tool for maintaining mailing lists and databases, as well as reducing the number of returned or undelivered items.

The Royal Mail PAF database contains all known UK addresses and postcodes. It cross references your data, making corrections and appending extra information where the record is incorrect or incomplete.
Amends and additions can include:

• Correcting instances where the town or county has been spelt incorrectly
• Ensuring towns, counties and postcodes are in fixed fields
• Providing a Delivery Point Suffix (DPS) enabling the generation of a CBC barcode for larger mailings
• Data can be output in several formats, including splitting house-name and numbers into separate fields

Mailing data sorted to achieve best postage discounts must meet minimum accuracy requirements for postcodes. This is done through matching against PAF.
Your data should be screened against PAF on a regular basis to ensure you maintain your database and any new prospect lists you want to mail. Correctly addressed records will save money on undeliverable mail and the associated staff costs of dealing with returned items and help you achieve qualification for postal tariff discounts. Most tariffs have a minimum percentage postcode accuracy requirement.

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