Spring, is a time when many people clean out their cabinets, basements, spice drawers, closets. It is a time of reflection, for letting go of some of the past while planning for the rest of the year.
I think we should do this at work too. Take some time to spring clean the data in your database. While you may regularly look at the segments that bring you the best ROI or your most active customers, I bet you have many other contacts in your database—hidden names, useless names, forgotten names.
If your database cost is based on size, that is a great reason to get rid of old, unusable names. Even if it is not, random blocks of names can add clutter and confusion as you examine what is in your database. And it can skew perceptions to how big, how usable, and how targeted your customers/prospects lists are.
Separate your data in 3 groups, just like when you clean out your closet. Here is a sample idea of how you can group your data:
The Keep Pile
- Customers active within the last 2-3 years.
- Recent prospect lists added to your database.
- That email opt out list, as much as you might want to get rid of it.
- Contacts that target any new products you plan to create this year.
The Giveaway (or clean up) Pile
- Recent (within 2 years) contacts with missing demographics. This can be appended.
- Contacts missing email or mailing address, or phone numbers. This can be added from outside sources.
- 3+ year names with bad mailing or email addresses.
- Segments of your file that you no longer serve.
- Outdated purchased lists that you no longer have permission to use.
- Duplicate records or data that cannot be merged.
The keep and purge pile definitions will vary based on your targets, your universe, and most importantly, your future needs. But this a simple start to really LOOKING at what is in your database.
Who knows? You may find lists you can re-engage through this process. Remember, it is cheaper to convert old customers into current ones than it is to replace them. It’s like finding that clothing treasure that you find in the back of your closet. Update it, re-purpose it, and it is usable again for very little cost.
The journey continues.