Archive for January, 2007

Tracking address changes and out of business companies

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Over lunch a little while ago, I bemoaned the lack of international business change of address and out of business data. Whilst UK Changes has a strong UK based offering, it doesn’t extend to Europe or beyond. I was immediately corrected though, and told that such services do exist in other countries, if you know where to look.

Having been told “where to look” we set about running some sample data against various datasets to establish the extent of moved and deceased businesses. We tested the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands with several other countries also available.

Inevitably, the methodology for each country was different, with results presented in varying formats. You begin to understand US colleagues’ exasperation when contemplating working across Europe! This variation though is as much to do with how business data is obtained in each country. Whilst in the UK Companies House maintains a list of incorporated businesses, in France all traders are required by law to register. This of course makes it very much easier to track smaller businesses than in the UK.

The results themselves, whilst not altogether surprising, were still very interesting. Broadly grouped into movers with and without a new address and those businesses no longer trading, the match rate for some countries was quite high. This obviously suggests significant potential wasted direct marketing expenditure as well as distorting database metrics. Further analysis is clearly appropriate, but at a fairly modest cost of about £15,000 to tackle the countries tested, this could represent a worthwhile investment in data quality.