Kick Off the New Year with a Clean Marketing List

Start the New Year Off with a Clean Marketing List

It doesn’t take long for your marketing list to get messy. Mistyped emails, undeliverable addresses, and duplicate records can add up quickly. While cleaning up your data list may not seem like a high priority, not running data hygiene can lead to marketing waste, poor results, and selecting the wrong prospects. Don’t let bad data get in the way of reaching your sales and marketing goals this year. Let’s look at some of the benefits of having a clean marketing list and a few steps you can take to refresh your data. 

3 Benefits of a Clean Marketing List

Reduce Marketing Waste 

One of the biggest benefits of using a clean data list is reducing your marketing waste. Think about how many people on your direct mail list are receiving multiple catalogs with every mailing. What about the customers who moved and you haven’t gotten their new address? How many people are you marketing to who have never responded? Updating your data list can save you thousands of dollars by simply removing outdated or duplicate records. That’s money you could be spending on targeting new prospects or increasing your advertising efforts on repeat customers. 

See Real Results 

When you have a clean marketing list, you get real results. Using cluttered data leads to targeting inaccurate records and people who are never going to respond. This means your response rate is actually diluted by a percentage of your list that is worthless.

For example, let’s say you are sending your spring catalog to 100,000 homes, but 9% of your list is inaccurate. The campaign yields a 2% response rate with 2,000 homes making a purchase. If you were to clean up your list and remove the 9,000 bad data records (9%), you would be targeting 91,000 homes. Your response rate would actually be 2.2%. Not to mention how much money you saved by removing 9,000 inaccurate records from your list. Clean data lists reduce your margin of error and take the guesswork out of calculating results.

Expand the List 

If you want to expand your marketing reach and increase your mail list, accurate data is essential. This will let you identify who your best customers are and then find look-a-like prospects. Messy data will skew your customer profiling results. Not only will your marketing decisions be based on inaccurate information, but you will also be targeting the wrong audience.

Clean Your Marketing List with These 5 Steps

NCOA Processing 

In 2021, the United States Postal Service processed over 36 million address changes which averages out to over 100,000 address changes a day. That’s quite a few new addresses to keep up with. In order to make sure you have the most up-to-date information for your target audience, you can run NCOA processing on your data list. This process runs your marketing list through the USPS National Change of Address database and updates your records to the current address. 

Duplicate Records 

It’s not uncommon for the same customer to be on your marketing list multiple times. Deduping is the processing of flagging duplicate records and removing them. This data hygiene step does more than flag identical records, but it takes into account name changes, address changes, even typos to identify the correct record and mesh the information together. Additional copies are then removed. 

Deceased Processing 

Sometimes, you have people on your list who have passed away. Deceased processing will identify those individuals and remove them. 

Data Formatting 

Every now and then, people entered data into the system incorrectly, so it’s good to keep an eye on your formatting. Did a customer accidentally put their email address where their first name should be? If so, you might be mailing a postcard to instead of Liz Michaels at 123 Jones Street.

This step is also a helpful when combining more than one data list. Sometimes, you have the same information on your data lists, but the field names are slightly different. For example, List A might have “Last Name” while List B might have “Surname.” If these formats don’t line up, you will have a difficult time pulling reports and processing your data for mail or email lists. Take time to create a standard data format for your company and move all of your data lists into that format.


Good data hygiene will examine your marketing list for typos. If enough accurate data exists, the record can be updated with the correct information. If not, the mistyped record can be flagged and trimmed from the list.  

Distance Updates 

Have you mapped out the people on your marketing list? How far away are they from your store? If you have one time customers who live 60 miles from your store while the rest of your customers live within a 5 mile radius, you might want to trim those outside of your target area. 

Data hygiene can be an extensive process, but it’s an important aspect to help you reach your target audience and see accurate campaign results. Updating your list will not only save you money but can also increase your campaign response results.  

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your list, create a standard data hygiene process for your business. Next, schedule the cleaning process to happen on a regular basis.  

If you need help updating up your files, reach out to our team. We would be happy to help you start off the new year with a clean data list.