This post explores common problems that data scientists, marketing professionals and business leaders experience when dealing with address data and provides tips to avoid pitfalls and strategies to get the most out of your digital assets.
Garbage data in, garbage data out. It is difficult to make well informed, accurate business decisions based on poor quality address data.
A missing address is when a customer's address fields are empty or null.
Missing addresses can occur when source systems, such as a website registration form, did not validate or make input fields mandatory and only a limited number of users typed in all of their details.
To populate or validate missing postal addresses, you could email customers to confirm that the details you have on record are correct. Here is a simple, yet effective, email template to get you started:
Subject: Bob, have we got it right?
Message: One simple question. One great prize. You could win an iPad by simply confirming your address details.
Hi Bob,How would you like have an exciting new iPad? One lucky winner will get to take home and enjoy an iPad.
How do I get it?
Simply tell us whether your contact details below are still correct and you're automatically in to win this amazing prize.
Update now – entries close Monday, 1 Dec 2017Here are your current contact details, are they correct?
123 Abc Road, Takapuna, Auckland, 0622
Yes, that's right or No, update nowRemember, if your contact details are correct you are still in to win the prize.
Address details are often partially completed or almost correct. For example, an address might contain a postcode or suburb, or contain spelling mistakes and abbreviations.
When multiple fields are available, line 3 might contain the city whereas the same field could also contain the suburb. How can you categorise address fields correctly with so many variations?
Asking simple questions such as, how many customers live in the Auckland region, becomes really difficult to answer. Not only do you need to work out which address field to use, people might have entered Auckland in as Central Auckland, Auckland Central, Akl or Auckland 1010, making accurate matching really difficult.
Maintaining good address data doesn't have to be hard. The first step is to prevent bad and inconsistent addresses from being entered in the first place. An easy solution is to use an address checker such as Addy to validate input in real time on address fields.
To clean existing addresses is straight forward too. Simply use Addy's address cleansing service by sending partial or poorly formatted address segments that will be scrubbed and validate against the Postal Address File. This is returned in a standardised format compatible with New Zealand Post's mail and courier delivery standard.
It is not uncommon for customers to sign up and register multiple times, often through different channels such as competitions, website order forms or online promotions offered by third parties.
Complete, well structured, standardised addresses are vital to create a single view of a customer, knowing who they are, where they are and the suite of services already in their portfolio, so that effective marketing strategies can target the right customer segment.
Removing duplicate addresses will reduce embarrassing situations such as sending out mail to the same customer twice or promoting a service that they already have. Capitalise on the opportunity for your business to operate more professionally and efficiently by saving cost on postage.
Duplicate addresses are easy to detect in a canonical, consistent format. When matching or auto filling an address, it is recommend to save Addy's address ID and NZ Post's DPID for a unique identifiable mail deliverable address.
There are a lot of resources available through database vendors such as Microsoft describing how to remove duplicate rows from a table when you have unique address IDs.
If you have any questions or need help to resolve address problems then get in touch with the friendly team at Addy and they'd be happy to help.
Take the first step toward better address data by creating a free account.