Archive for August, 2008

Enhance and advance

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I’ve written before (see Using reference sources in data quality maintenance) about the benefits of matching marketing data, particularly organisations, to external reference data with regards to data quality improvement. We’ve just signed an agreement with Dun and Bradstreet to match a core subset of our database with their global database and enhance it with key attributes, such as industry, size and enterprise relationship. The plan is to refresh the matched data on a monthly basis so that we always have the most up to date view.

The data we’re enhancing consists of customers from the last few years together with Sales’ key prospects. By developing a better understanding of these organisations, we can not only target them more effectively, for instance by undertaking industry selections, but also better understand the interrelationships between organisations. We may have received a lead or have an existing relationship with a subsidiary that could be leveraged into the parent organisation, for instance. Our marketing activity can become more advanced, in terms of targeting and segmentation, as a result of this intelligence.

De-duplication is also a key benefit, as I’ve said before, as D&B are able to match using previous names and alternative trade styles together with other sophisticated techniques, that highlight duplicates that were otherwise not evident. Again, this can bring together otherwise hidden relationships and opportunities.

The drawback with D&B is that they’re quite expensive, and matching/enhancing hundreds of thousands of records is prohibitive. Although we’re enhancing our core data, some of the benefits I’ve outlined are lost when working with a subset; we don’t know if the records we’ve chosen are duplicated or have a relationship with others in the database. I’m hoping to discuss with D&B the idea of matching our entire database (an inexpensive activity at a few cents a record) and then enhance only those in which we’re interested, specifically those related to our core dataset. This isn’t a standard service D&B offer, and it can be a challenge to have them move outside their usual modus operandi, but hopefully they can be persuaded! I’ll let you know how I get on.