Spring Cleaning for Your Customer Data: The Importance of Data Hygiene

By Allison Larsen-Fais

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Director of Business Development

As the flowers start to bloom and the weather gets warmer, it’s not just our homes that need a good spring cleaning – our customer data could also use tidying up. In the data-driven marketing world, data hygiene is critical to ensure marketing efforts are as effective as possible. Here’s why you should make data hygiene a priority this spring, and where to focus your efforts.

What is Data Hygiene?

Data hygiene refers to the process of ensuring your customer data is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant. This includes cleaning and organizing your database by updating pertinent contact information such as; mailing address, appending data to fill in holes, merging and purging contacts, as well as identifying individuals to suppress from future marketing campaigns.

Why is Data Hygiene Important?

Outdated data and poor data hygiene practices lead to wasted marketing dollars. For example, if you have duplicate contacts in your database, you could end up sending multiple direct mail pieces to the same household or emails to the same individual. Not only can this be embarrassing but may annoy your customer or prospect. This may lead to your contact unsubscribing from your communications altogether.

In a worst-case scenario, you spend valuable time and effort on the perfect direct mail piece and it goes to an old address, someone who is deceased or in prison or is returned to you because of a bad address. With marketing budgets getting tighter, the last thing you want to do is waste money.

Having clean, actionable, and precise data means you can craft engaging campaigns that are sure to capture the interest of your customer base! You’ll have a better grasp of who they are and what resonates with them. Plus, expected returns on investment will soar since your campaign will have optimal deliverability.

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How to Clean Up Your Customer Data

Now that you understand the importance of data hygiene, here’s how to go about cleaning up your customer data:

1. NCOA & Standardize Mailing Addresses

Validating and standardizing mailing addresses on your file are best practices that ensure you are setting up your campaigns for success. In addition, running an NCOA can help you determine which customers have recently moved. Not only will this ensure your mail piece gets into their hands, but it also presents a unique marketing opportunity. Depending on your vertical, an ad congratulating new movers on their new home will put your brand at the forefront when they are looking for new products or services to help make their new house a home.

2. Append Your Data

Append your data by filling in any missing information such as email addresses, phone numbers, or birthdays. To append the data on your own, you can reach out to customers directly to update their information. This can be time-consuming and costly. LiftEngine’s Data Append Solution can enhance your customer database with over 500+ addressable fields at your fingertips.

Read our article for more information about how data appends can help take your business strategies to a whole new level.

3. Merge and Purge Contacts

Start by identifying any duplicate contacts in your database and merging them into a single record. You can utilize LiftEngine or do a manual process to identify duplicates, depending on the size of your database. Once you’ve merged the duplicates, review the remaining contacts to ensure they’re still relevant to your business. If there are contacts that have not purchased from you in years or have opted out of communications, stop wasting your marketing dollars and add them to your suppression file.

You might choose to use email as a Customer ID which is a simple way to establish customer KPIs quickly, but this can be inaccurate. Learn why this technique is inaccurate and find strategies for improving your customer database.

4. Suppress Deceased and Imprisoned Individuals

In order to maintain accurate and reliable data, it is important to suppress deceased and imprisoned individuals from databases and marketing lists. Not only can this help prevent sensitive information from being sent to the wrong individuals, but it can also save time and resources by focusing efforts on viable targets. Data hygiene vendors, such as LiftEngine, can assist with this process by identifying and flagging records associated with deceased or imprisoned individuals. By incorporating such services into data management practices, organizations can ensure that their data is up-to-date and reliable, leading to better decision-making and improved outcomes.

5. Keep Your Data Clean

Once you’ve cleaned up your database, it’s important to maintain data hygiene going forward. This means regularly reviewing and updating your data accordingly.

Don’t Do This Alone

Get your customer database up to date quicker than ever before with LiftEngine’s Accelerated Merge/Purge and append services. With this simple solution, you can quickly and easily clean/append over 500+ fields of customer data such as; demographic info, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and more. Spend less time fishing for missing data yourself, so you can put more energy into successful campaigns.

In conclusion, spring cleaning isn’t just for your home – it’s also important to clean up and organize your customer data. By merging and purging contacts, appending missing data, and maintaining data hygiene going forward, you can ensure your marketing efforts are as effective and efficient as possible.

About LiftEngine

Since 2005, LiftEngine's primary mission has been to help clients better understand and connect with their most responsive prospects and customers, online or offline. Our expertise is behind the marketing campaigns of 400+ clients.

Behind LiftEngine is LiftBase, our proprietary addressable consumer database. Comprised of 250 million US consumers, 140 million US households, and 1,000+ enhanced data elements, LiftBase powers our audience development services and industry-leading products, PortalLink and LaunchPad.

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Published on Mar. 20, 2024, Last Updated on Mar. 20, 2024