If you know what the two above acronyms mean, than you’re already ahead of the curve. CRM or Customer Relationship Management is generally what we refer to when we talk about products that house all of our leads, accounts and opportunities. Most of us use some form of this on a daily/weekly basis.

ETL is something different and far more technical. Extract Transform Load, refers to a process by where we’ll extract data from your existing CRM, clean it and ensure it conforms to the new CRM standard and then load it back in. It’s not a simple process and requires hours of work to get it right.

It’s a process that we’ve done many times, and it would be safe to say that we consider ourselves experts in the field.

If you’re in the market to change CRM’s or you need your existing CRM cleaned up, we’ll likely be able to help.

QR Codes and How To

Just a quick introduction to QR Codes.

Firstly, you’ll need a smart phone!

Secondly, you’ll need to download an app that can translate the QR code into the link embedded within it.

For iPhone we recommend QRReader

For Android we recommend QR Droid

For Windows we recommend Scan


Once you have this installed on your phone, just open the app, point the camera at the image and you’re done!

Is Data Management Sexy?

Not really.  But just like your first time, we all keep trying to do it better and better.

Data Management is a process, it’s an evolution of thought.  Sure, there are basic concepts that fit most scenarios, and of course there are some fundamental principles to follow.  But, each and every application is usually different.  Just like you would for a yearly skin check, it’s important to ensure that your data management is up to date and still valid in respect to how you run your business today.

It’s been said before, but it’s important to keep spreading the word…Data Management isn’t a business luxury, it’s a necessity.  Yet trying to get this message across is often difficult.  I suppose it’s due to the fact that Data Management, means different things for different people.  Just like when a client comes to be me and says, “I want my data cleaned.”  I also answer with “Sure, now what do you mean by cleaning?”  However, Data Management is really the over arching concept behind it all, with then varying disciplines underneath to make up what goes on in a typical day to day Data Management House.  As you’re all pretty much already DataTools customers(and if not, why not?), you have a bit of a head start on the rest when it comes to “Data Management”.  But as usual, there is always more to it, and generally there is someone else out there smarter then you or I.

Perhaps a Data Management checklist would help, something that you could go through periodically and then walk away knowing that you’re doing the best you can to ensure your data is as up to date as possible.  Over the course of the coming weeks we’ll go through the items that I think are important.  They will be ranked in order of importance, so let’s get started;

Point 1

We’ll start with the basics, and a fundamental before anything else is the normalisation of data.  This means that we need to have the data in a consistent format i.e. 0737871333 or +6138781333.  Ways to ensure that this is done, can in part be through the GUI of the TWINS III interface.  Other ways are to run update queries or “find and replace” on certain columns in your database.  And while we’re at it, a database is anything from an Excel Spreadsheet through to a SQL DB.  Data normalisation is also about ensuring that your data is contained within both the correct columns and that it is consistently placed there.  This may seem like a strange notation and something that just sounds like common sense, but if you have a GUI with four address fields, does your entire team know which address elements go where?

If you can ensure that you data is “normalised”, then the next steps are not only easier, but the results you achieve will be more accurate, more comprehensive and more conclusive then they otherwise would be.

What to do if your database isn’t normalised?  Well, don’t fret, but do something today!  From today, start to set out some rules for how you want to have data inserted into your database.  If you do this, then you essentially have a “Point In Time” from which all data is the way you want it to be.  Once this is done, you’ve got the foundation of your rule set from which you create the business rules to fix your older data.  Now I know I’ve just made this sound very easy, and for all intensive purposes it is.  And the simplest way to do this, is to drop the old data out, fix it, and then put it back in again.  While you’re at it, you’ll want to do a number of other things to it as well, and that’s fine, but just remember the first step.  Normalise your data first, before anything else!

Address validation, not just for Australia Posts benefit!

Hi , and welcome to an ongoing series of articles relating to Data Management tips, tricks, discussions, and best practices. We’ll make sure that the articles are of a size that you can easily digest, within 2 minutes or less, yet still provide you enough fulfilment so you don’t walk away feeling empty. These articles are written by Benjamin Jones, who is a dynamic and leading edge thinker, within the Data Management industry.

Address validation plays a number of roles in the business, foremost ensuring AMAS compliance. Secondary to this, yet equally as important, is its role in effective data management. Through the use of 3rd Party address tools, we can “batch” process our databases offline and ensure a more effective and comprehensive approach is given to our data management, without any need for human interaction. These fully automated processes are easily integrated into existing database systems, and provide a wealth of additional information and surety.
Address validation;

  • allows us to standardise our data.
  • ensures all possible address points have a DPID.
  • provides conformity to AMAS standards.
  • provides a “leg up” to our de-duplication methods.
  • allows us to export the data with multiple address elements.

When we think of address validation, we usually think of an activity that will save money, when sending out direct mail, or a process that keeps the address data in our systems “clean”. We do this, to ensure that we can append a DPID to as many records as possible, which in turn allows us to apply a barcode to the data, and ultimately save money on Direct Mail.
Once you have your address data validated and normalised, the job of actually managing your data becomes a great deal easier. For a number of cases, you’ll be able to de-dupe directly on this data using basic SQL statements. You’ll be able to match this data to existing data sets, or new data sets as they come into the environment. And when it comes to any type of Migration work, then the old adage of “Rubbish in, Rubbish out”, really hits home.
So as you’ve seen, all this highlights the opportunities of becoming a fully integrated and automated component of your day-to-day data management practices. It’s something that every business should explore, as the benefits to ensuring compliance within your databases are easily measurable.

Now is the time…

Now is the time to schedule your Data Validations, Data Normalisations, Data Dedupes and CRM Data Cleanses! Miss the tide this year, and you’ll be waiting another 12 months for the same boat to dock.

Right now you’re coming up, generally speaking, to a “Lazy” period in your database. You’re looking down the barrel of low transactional activity, additional persons away, and a prime time opportunity to really do some good within your Database! Essentially you’ll be able to take the Database down for a period greater than might be tolerated during other times of the year. Of course, this will not be true for all, but it’s certainly worth considering for most.

The Data Company (TDC) is well placed to perform anything from rudimentary validations, such as “Are my customers and prospects still residing/opearating where I think they are?” through to more comprehensive normalisations, removal of duplications at Company/Name + Address/Phone (or any other combination) and validations. Our more comprehensive processes would ensure that all Address points are ratified to Australian Post standards. We use AMAS certified products and this will ensure that not only are the address points “valid”, but it also means that when it comes to searching for duplicates within your dataset, everything is in a succint format. This increases our chances of finding duplicates, and further increases the accuracy of the matching. Add to this process, a comprehensive match against our Residential or Business Masterfiles, and we can accurately ensure that either the Person or Business, still resides/operates where you think they do(or has the same phone). And if they don’t, we’ll update the details on your dataset, to reflect the “truth”.

We have both the experience and the power to handle your data professionally, securely and quickly, ensuring that your down time is limited to what you can tolerate.

Think of it this way, do it now and let the database reward the business with increased revenue opportunites, or miss the boat and wait another 12 months for this same opportunity to arrive.

The scoping of your needs and ultimately the presenatation of your personalised proposal is quick and painless. It’s what we do, so we’ll guide you through each and every step from A to Z!

So don’t delay, jump to our contact form, or call us directly today to find out more!

Do you take Data Management seriously enough?

Maybe you do, and if you’re here reading these articles, then you probably are!  Yet some companies out there don’t even have a person/team dedicated to this task.  And if that means that you outsource this aspect of your business, then GREAT!  But, I fear that this is not the case.

I was speaking to a colleague of mine, who currently works for a Tier One International Organisation.  We were discussing the “day to day” investment of the company they work for in Data Management.  It was sadly just that one person…and we’re talking about a 10 figure annual turnover organisation.  Back in the day, when I worked for a name brand Time Share organisation, we took Data Management very seriously.  So seriously, that we had a dedicated team looking after the data. And this team was only for Marketing!  I lead this team from the inception of that department, until I left, and we were considered the “goto” hub for anything Data related within the department.  It wouldn’t matter if you wanted to Direct Mail to a particular segment, or if you needed some quick wins on the board to those persons who have interacted with you before.  Whatever the marketing team needed, we knew how to extract it for them.

Once you have access to a resource such as this, you will seriously not look back!  Let the data geeks play with the data, and you won’t be sorry.  So long as you have someon that can traverse the Marketing to IT language barrier, then you’re set!

Are you taking Data Management seriously enough?

The False economy of doing it yourself…

Long has it been thought that an internal hire, or team, is always best suited to handle the ongoing data needs of a business.  It’s often seen as a reason to create a position that could then serve multiple uses within the business.  No doubt, there are certain situations when having a “Jack” of all trades in place can fulfil a need in the business.  But, is this the most effective use of those monetary resources?  On average, you’d generally spend $45,000 + on costs, to hire and keep a good basic Data Administrator.  For this money, it would be reasonable to expect that the person would be able to provide rudimentary assistance to the Marketing arm, and provide a resource for smaller ad-hoc projects/left of field requirements.  If with this spend, you achieve that…then I would suggest you’re doing very well!

So let’s look at the flip side of that equation, and see what that spend would yield in real world terms for an out sourced Data Management(DM) solution.  For starters, you’d spend a few dollars up front to get all your ducks in a row.  This would entail data normalisation, cleaning, validation, hosting etc.  From here, you would then have an asset that is ready to send to market.  If you knew what your target market was, and it was a case of just providing some selection criteria/profiling, then it would be reasonable to expect that 1-2 hours of DM be required each time you market.  If you’re marketing each week, then the cost could be as little as a few hundred dollars.  If you were only marketing monthly, or even less frequently than that, then it would be reasonable to assume that the costs would be comparable relative to your frequency.  You’re likely to have fork out for some storage costs, but with the cost/MB of storage dropping like a stone, then it becomes negligible in the big picture.

So let’s assume that you market weekly;

2 hrs/wk = $330

$330 x 52 weeks = $17,160

If you only marketed to your prospects/customers monthly;

2hrs/mth = $330

$330 x 12 = $3,960

Furthermore, let’s assume that you allocated $10,000 to setup/validation/cleansing.  You then market weekly, and a quarterly update/validation/clean of the data costs $3000 (as the code should already be done), you’ll spend;

Initial setup = $10,000

Weekly Charges = $17,160

3 x Quarterly Charges = $9,000

Total = $36,160

Saving = $8,840pa

This saving could then be used in the business to fund alternative promotions, or just looked upon as $8,840 that you don’t need to make!

Let’s be clear here, this saving is not just monetary.  As you’ve also ensured that your data remains clean and accurate for the entire 12 months.  You’ve leveraged the might of an organisation that does this day in day out, and you haven’t had to stress about “Jack” doing as he’s told!

So why aren’t you doing it?  Are you that much of a control freak that you can’t let go?  Do you have trust issues?  Well you should ensure that you have some control, you must be able to trust that what your DM solution is doing is correct.  These aspects are vitally important to your business!  The best way to achieve this though, is to ensure you have open dialogue at all times, and that the communication is a two way street.  Just remember, your DM solution can’t help you, if they don’t know what your challenges are!


I can’t believe they did that…

A challenge that we “Data Managers” face each day, is what to do with lists/data that is finding its way into our databases, when it’s not comprehensive enough to deal with.  Often the case could be that you have only part of what would be considered a “Contactable” record.  This could mean that the phone number is missing, the address is incomplete or in the case of Business data, it hasn’t been categorised effectively as to which industry the organisation fits in.

Often securing budget to send this data offsite for vendors to fix, isn’t always a viable solution. So, what could you do internally to increase the quality of your data?  Some simple approaches would be to market to that data with the information that you have available.  Such that, if you have a name and phone number, but no address, then you could put together a telemarketing campaign centred around procuring additional information.  Conversely, if all you had was an email address, then a campaign that gave those contacts the opportunity to win something, and all they had to do was to update their details, might appeal.

Data Management, as serious as a heart attack!

Data is really the key to success of any organisation, and I’m sure that most companies get that.  And I’m also confident that a number of them treat this topic with the respect that it deserves.  But, I also bet that if the “Data Team” doesn’t report directly to the Marketing Managers within the organisation, then the quality of the data will often take a back seat.  When a Data Team is encompassed within the bounds of an IT operation, the main objective is usually “Up-Time”.  Only when that same team is tasked with writing the reports, do they start to care about the quality of the data coming into the database.  Up until then, it’s seen as someone else’s problem.

So help me, one and all, to combat the lethargy in business when it comes to Data Management.  Join me, and become a solider of….hang on, this is far too militant!  But look, you get the drift.  Data Management is important, cause without it your;

  • Reports will be worthless
  • No projections will be meaningful and
  • Your customers/prospects will laugh at you.

Data Quality

The Data Company was founded with a single goal in mind, to be a market leader in all aspects of Data Management.  With this principle in mind, we’ve continued to partner with DataTools Pty Ltd, whereby we strive to create appropriate and relevant content for their fortnightly articles.  You can check out all of our articles @