A few months ago, I posted my question “Is quality address data still relevant?” to the LinkedIn community
In my post I pointed out that organisations are trying to shift communication to email (and other forms of electronic media) in order to save costs.
Given this shift, some may argue that address data is no longer relevant.
The responses from the LinkedIn community highlighted the numerous reasons to improve your address data quality.
Better customer insight to support marketing and sales.
This was a driver I mentioned in my original post, but was confirmed by a number of contributors.
Francesca D’Angelo points out that the best marketing approach will blend multiple channels. “… even in marketing a complete shift to new media channels is unlikely and the best is always to find the right mix: in an environment where you would target via normal post only a portion of clients you would definitely want to be sure that those ones are reached.”
Richard Lee comments that “… in this age of knowing your customer and instantly marketing services and products to them, correct data is essential.”, while Tim Delhaas says that for Big Data – “without correct geographical data, one cannot obtain the complete (market) picture.”
Milan Kucera talks about the value of address data to derive demographics information “Address can be use for example for segmentation. At this case again there a quality requirements to this entity (address as a whole including its specific structure for different countries). Again, if it is required by process and especially for a process regulated by acts than high quality of this entity is required.”
Spatial data used to be the domain of the GIS department. Increasingly, spatial data is moving into the marketing and operations departments as organisations seeks to base their planning on the physical location of their customers.
Accurate geocoding is dependent on quality data that can be linked to an appropriate reference data set. Manual geocoding is simply not an option for tens of thousands or millions of records.
Improved customer experience
Of courses, billing is not the only essential communication that may require post to be delivered.
Carmela Couderc adds to the conversation “Another aspect of the question is quality communication with customers. There is still a segment of the population that is not online or does not trust online communications. I know my parents aren’t the only ones out there!”
Milan Kucera suggests that so many business processes depend on quality address data that “business should include a verification of critical information into the business process.”
Quality address data is necessary to support billing
To quote Michelle Williams “Most organizations are aiming to put all their customers on email billing at least, not to mention email advertising material – and this is the cheapest option.
But in my experience the percentages are still on the low side for billing, and the email address rate of change for some companies is high, as people come and go from companies on a regular basis in AP areas – and generic email addresses are still not overly popular.
The only way to ensure you can keep the money coming in is to have the correct street address for every customer – as a backup.”
A number of people commented on the legal implications of shifting to electronic media.
Francesa D’Angelo again: “don’t forget that despite anyone is willing to move on social and emails, many admin stuff in a lot of countries (at least in EU) still require usage of “old” media like standard post or faxes.”
Tim Delhaas “Local law imposes that the invoice should quote the correct legal company name and address, no matter what communication method is chosen”
In South Africa both foreign and local legislation, particularly for anti-moneylaundering (AML) and anti-terrorism (FICA / RICA) require organisations to verify physical address in order to trace suspected criminals.
Logisitics, Delivery and Servicing
Merry Law agrees. “Quality mailing addresses are still relevant. In addition to all the points (made previously), the increase in international e-commerce is another reason that accurate, deliverable addresses are needed. Goods must still be shipped to the purchaser”
Robert Uscroft “Accurate address data will remain very relevant until we have replicators and Transporters like on Star Trek in every home. how else would you get your parcels and goods delivered and how would people who have never visited you before find you?”
Chrsitopher Balduck “For logistics & legal purposes it’ll stay relevant (at least for a while). Furthermore location data (e.g. Site, floor etc.) are relevant in different contexts like end user services,… .”
Master Data Management
I picked up on the value of quality address data for MDM and matching in my original post. Quality address data provides many dat apoints that can help to identify related custoemr records – both for house holding and for individual matches.
Francois Potard agrees – ” address is a structural element of some master data that you absolutely need to capture what is the record about”
Of courses, from a master data perspective we may have many address types : Post Address, Physical / delivery address, Billing Address, Legal address, Service address and many more. An ongoing drive is to link address data with other channels of communication – such as telephone numbers or email addresses.
We can improve your address data quality
In spite of these drivers, address data quality remains a real challenge for many organisations.
Our approach combines technology and process to deliver rapid value.
Image sourced from https://www.flickr.com/photos/jhandbell/14155209556/