I want to buy a mailing list but I don’t want to pay for the contacts I already have. How complicated is appending and de-duping?

No one likes to waste money paying for the same thing twice.  But if you already have data, how can you add to it without paying for the same contacts again?

Appending is a useful service which mailing list companies offer. It has its limitations but it can save time and budget and it allows you to quickly refresh the data you already have, without spending budget needlessly.

But, it is not something that you can do in your office on your PC. You have to trust your mailing list supplier with your data and allow the data company full access to it. Mailing list companies are happy to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements if you are worried that a mailing list company might take your data and sell it on (but any established company won’t – by your own admission your data is out of date, so why would they want it?).

So the first step is to email over the data to your list supplier.

The second step is to accept that mailing list companies are only using computers and matching software. Your human eye will pick up more errors in the list than the computer which only has fuzzy logic in its armoury. The question is, would you rather wade through the data yourself, or give the job to a computer?  A human eye will get you closer to your perfect list, but will take far more time and effort.

The key problem we face in not achieving perfect lists is that your old data might have out of date or incorrect company names. Without a match on a company name, matching software cannot work to its maximum capacity. An example of a non-match is your database has M&S plc which does not match our Marks & Spencer plc. Without a match, the software does not see the two records as the same company and skips the record without making the correction or appending the data. It becomes an unknown.

So for best results, quickly run your eye over the data, paying particular attention to company names and updating the ones you know to be incorrect.  If your data contains the company names CityLink (no longer trading), Cadbury (now Mondelez) and Lloyds TSB Bank (now split into Lloyds Banking Group and TSB Bank), these will not be matched and so cannot be corrected. If you want to keep up to date with the big mergers and acquisitions see our page of M&A News here or subscribe to the Electric Business blog.

When you email your data to us, we can run your data though all or any of these processes:

  1. Verify your data
  2. Remove known incorrect contacts using our Leavers Database
  3. Add in any missing email addresses or phone numbers (appending)
  4. Add in new contact names and companies that are missing from the list

The next blog will explain these processes in more detail, but whatever you choose you will end up with a leaner, fitter file of data and you won’t have spent budget on a brand new list.

We have a menu of appending and updating services for your mailing lists and email lists here.

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