There is an elephant in every business – and it’s trampling company profits, scaring away customers and blocking valuable insights. What’s your company’s elephant? Is it returned mail? Fraudulent transactions? Bad business decisions? Beware, these problems all stem from one big beast – bad address data.

It’s time to address the elephant. Effective communications, predictive analytics, fraud prevention and ultimately, your bottom line, all depend on how well you name and tame your beast. Let’s see how facing address problems head on can help conquer company pain-points and lead your business into a more profitable year.

Behold, the Bottom Line

77% of companies believe their bottom line is negatively affected by bad data. The other 23% may be in denial. Think about your company’s business initiatives – what does undelivered mail cost you? What about missed opportunities to connect with clients? How many man hours are spent on cumbersome fraud prevention? Or, how impossible is it to find key insights within your data?

Let’s try to quantify these elephants. Consider the “1-10-100 Rule”. The $1 is the “prevention cost” – the amount it costs to verify the accuracy of a record at the point-of-entry. This is the least expensive way to ensure data captured from the start is clean and validated – before it enters your database. The $10 is the “correction cost” – the amount it costs to clean bad data in batch, after it enters your database. The increased cost reflects the negative impact to your business the longer the issue is left unresolved.

And finally, $100 is the “failure cost” – the increased amount represents the costs businesses will pay if nothing was done to clean their bad data. It’s a failure at this point because it’s too late to do anything – a complete lost opportunity.

Simply put, bad data means higher costs and lower profits.

Verify & Update Addresses to Personalize Communications

It’s common for customers to provide the wrong address – albeit intentionally, or by accidentally mistyping information. But even when an address is entered correctly, it can go stale over time. In fact, 40 million people in the U.S. alone, or 14% of the population, move each year.

If you want to maintain communication with customers and prospects, an address verification process should be in place. Melissa’s Global Address Verification solution can verify and standardize addresses at point of entry for more than 240 countries. And if you have outdated address data, you can utilize a change-of-address service to update addresses in batch.

Fill in Missing Pieces for a Complete Customer Profile

Having correct customer addresses not only means direct mail reaches the intended recipient, but also helps you gain insight for improved communications. Melissa’s Data Append Services take a small piece of your customer’s profile and create a whole picture by filling in the blanks. From a single address – a customer’s full name, phone number and email address can be added into their profile. Reaching customers via their preferred method of communication, as well as creating multi-touch campaigns, are proven strategies that boost response rates.

An encyclopedia of information about a single person, company or an entire household, demographics (psychographics, business firmographics and property data) can also be added. With a complete picture of your customer, creating more effective and personalized messaging becomes easier. You’ll also be able to identify unique attributes of your best customers, so you can micro-target prospects just like them.

Make Analytics More Impactful with Location Intelligence

Business decisions based on faulty analytics can cause lost sales – or more long-lasting effects like reputational damage. Yet accurate address data can be easily transformed into location intelligence that leads to smarter choices. Melissa’s GeoCoder® helps leverage the power of clean addresses by converting them into exact longitude/latitude coordinates.

Those points can be plotted on a map to help you recognize geographic patterns that would normally go undetected. That information can be crossed referenced with key demographics and used to develop targeted campaigns for clusters of prospects that have similar attributes.

GeoCoder also provides information like census tract/block number, voting district or country name with FIPS code to help optimize route planning and resource allocation, utilities management and risk assessment.

Other additional benefits of geocoding – improved logistics, decreased shipping costs, the ability to power retail store location and local search lookups, and more precise targeted marketing.

Fight Fraud – the Easy Way

Having an identity verification process in place hinders money-laundering schemes, identity theft, chargebacks and many other forms of fraud. But most processes are time consuming for the company and the customer.

Melissa’s Personator® Web Service verifies identity by confirming the given name matches the address in real-time, and more. With Personator, you can easily tailor the service to your specific sign-up process and risk management requirements to ensure fast onboarding or e-commerce checkout while still protecting against fraud and money laundering. Personator also ensures compliance in the areas of Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

Name it and Tame it

The first step towards taming the elephant is to name it – determine what’s costing you money, clients and insight. Global Address Verification is a perfect start. It will verify and standardize international addresses at point-of-entry so you can increase ROI, reduce fraud and realize better business decisions.

After 34 years of data quality and address management expertise, Melissa knows it all starts with a clean address. We’ve helped tens of thousands of organizations around the world realize the true potential in their data by first cleaning up outdated and inaccurate addresses. Then, we can assist in transforming your address data into comprehensive customer profiles, fraud prevention initiatives and predictive analytics to drive better business decisions.

Ready to name and tame your elephant?

This article was originally published in the Orange County Business Journal – Tech & Cyber Security Solutions on June 24, 2019. Visit OCBJ.com for more information.

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