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4 Critical Steps to Data Hygiene: Keep your data accurate and actionable!

Whether you are marketing to prospects or delivering critical, data-driven communications to your customers, keeping your data clean is critical to success. The typical data file decays at 3% – 5% per month. That means in just 12 months, 40% or more of your file will have out of date, inaccurate information.

Here are four critical processes you, or your data management partner, should do to help keep your data clean and current:

Address Standardization/Validation

Address quality is vital for every organization, yet is often overlooked in our increasingly digital world. Missing, incorrect, out of date or even improperly formatted addresses can impact virtually every area of your business, as well as your customers and prospects. For example:

  • Customer bills and statements can be delayed and sometimes never delivered.
  • Your customers’ information security can be put at risk if sensitive, personal information is delivered to the wrong address.
  • Companies can incur unnecessary costs. It’s not just the wasted postage, but the materials produced as well.

These issues can easily be addressed with current address standardization and validation processes.

CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) Processing       

CASS processing will allow your programs to qualify for postal discounts and can significantly increase the quality of your data file.  The output of a properly run, current CASS process will:

  • Match addresses in your files to the USPS National Address file to verify its validity
  • Append missing address information, and create a USPS compliant address
  • Correct misspelled address elements
  • Correct upper/lower/proper casing of names and address elements


GeoCoding, or appending latitude and longitude to your files, allows you to accurately locate one location relative to another. It’s a useful technique, particularly when you want to drive traffic to specific business locations.

What’s more, GeoCoding your file allows you to append census data (including age, population, race, house values and annual earnings) to your files that can be used to target the right audience for your campaign.

NCOA Link Processing (National Change of Address)

Over 40 million people move each year according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Depending on who your customers and prospects are, the rate of degradation of your data files will vary, but no one’s data is immune. Plus, in order to qualify for certain postal discounts, your file must be updated through NCOA every six months.

Your vendor should ensure that your files are regularly matched to the USPS NCOALink to identify individuals, families and businesses that:

  • Have moved and have provided a forwarding address
  • Have moved and have not provided a forwarding address
  • Do not match 100%, but are a “close match” to a record in the NCOALink database

Keeping your records as current as possible will ensure that more of your marketing materials reach their intended audience, saving money and improving marketing performance.

Find out more about Kaye-Smith’s data management and processing services by calling your representative or email us at .

Contributed by John Davila, Kaye-Smith Data Group Manager

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