Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

The Importance of Clean Data

By Hunter Swift on May 2, 2013

There has been much talk recently about “Big Data” which, to me, only emphasizes the importance of "Clean" Data. According to Kurt Bollacker, “Data that is loved tends to survive.” Having clean data is necessary for you to extract revenue from your most precious resource: your customer and prospect database. Clean data increases opportunities, saves money, and helps you maintain a positive reputation with satisfied customers. Luckily, there are tools available to dealers that can help keep data clean and updated with the NCOA, CASS, DNC, Phone/Email Validation and Phone/Email Append.

Increased Opportunities Come When:

The mailer you recently sent doesn’t go to the customer’s old address, as your customer recently moved to a new address. Your mailer arrived at the proper address because your data has been updated with the National Change of Address (NCOA).

Your mailer for the huge tent sale this weekend is received prior to the event, not after, because your data has gone through the CASS Standardization process with the USPS.

Your BDC or Salesperson can set that appointment instead of throwing away the lead due to lack of phone numbers.  Ensure you have appended cell numbers and landlines that are incorrect or missing in your database.

You are able to append/add email addresses to customer records, helping your next email marketing campaign be successful. 


Money Is Saved When:

You recently sent a mailer; a few weeks later, you don’t have a huge pile of returned mail sitting on your desk because your data was scrubbed against the NCOA.

Your BDC or Call Center is not wasting time calling bad numbers because your database has had the phone numbers validated.

You can now send an email to your customer/prospect instead of a letter due to the appended email addresses you now have because of email appends.

Your Reputation is Maintained When:

Your mailers are making it directly to their intended recipient, rather than being forwarded from their previous address, or thrown away by the new homeowner at the old address.

Your Sales or BDC Team is not calling on customers and prospects that are on the “Do Not Call List.”

Invalid email addresses are eliminated, effectively reducing the number of “hard bounces” on transmission. 

The email validation process helps protect the broadcasting IP from domain-level filtration and IP “blacklisting.”

 

If hundreds of thousands, even millions, are spent annually to market to prospects and get them in your database, shouldn’t a fraction of that money be budgeted to show your data the love?

 

Hunter Swift is the Manager of Market Development at DealerSocket and has been with the company since 2005. In addition to his current role he has fulfilled the responsibilities of customer support, consulting, training, and sales. He specializes in helping dealerships improve processes through the use of CRM technology. Prior to DealerSocket he sold cars and is a graduate of Pepperdine University.

Follow him: @HunterSwift

Comments

Great comments Hunter, having been in the retail Auto industry since 1980 and over the last 12 years in Auto marketing, this is the key to any Dealers marketing success. There are some proactive teams within Dealerships, that clean data as they go. Others have horrible data and do nothing about it. Having launched a large initiative with a major OEM in 2009, we would send service communications to the DMS database. The OEM records would be fairly accurate for estimating the cost, but the DMS database would be overblown with duplicate customer numbers, obsolete addresses and vehicles that no longer exist for one reason or another. This would result in a Dealer who was upset that 5 times the number of communications were sent and the bill was enormous. The activity of cleansing the DMS has to be a process that is across all departments within the facility. Every employee who handles data, must verify every customers record and de-duplicate with every customer visit. Now you can pay some DMS companies to do this, but remember this is your DMS data. Do you really want someone else to clean up the mess? I say, put the process in place, then inspect what you expect to be done and do it daily. Over a period of time it will take care of itself.

May 3, 2013

Hey Hunter, what do you tool do you recommend to dealers using Reynolds?

May 3, 2013

Postal Soft and NCOA and standard list tools used by most mailing houses. However, keep a tab on if your mail house is sending your list through NCOA every mailing. This will cost your mail house money to do so some only do it every once in a while. When 1% of the population moves a month, it is vital to have this done every time you mail.
in addition to cleaning the list for accurate addresses every month it is vital to pull you current file from your database each month. Especially if you are sending a sales letter. Don't you hate it when someone calls you to tell you they just bought a car from you and you sent them a more aggressive offer this month?

May 3, 2013

We actually just signed up with VinSolutions for Data Appends yesterday. I'm not sure who they use I just know it is a new company for them. I'm curious now however. We have about 10-years of CRM data that we have never had it cleansed so I'm looking forward to seeing some marked improvement in our ability to properly market our current data base.

May 3, 2013

Donnie,
Keep in mind that NCOA only goes back 48 months. So if your customer requested a change of address through the Post Office it will only stay in the system for 48 months. If your address was not cleansed during this time then you may not receive the new address.

May 3, 2013

Thanks Cassie. I'm more interested in the email address than snail mail address.

May 3, 2013

Ahh.

May 3, 2013

I dont know which CRMs and DMS companies offer Data Cleaning. But I do know that if you can, it is most important to clean the data out of the CRM or the tool you are using for marketing to your customers and prospects. DMS data is notorious for duplicates and bad data. Most CRMs usually take the data from the DMS and clean it up and de-dupe it. Once it is in the CRM you need a tool to update it, and continue to update it monthly to stay as current as possible.

May 3, 2013

Great post Hunter.

Dirty customer data isn't the only thing. I constantly see dirty vehicle data as well. This can affect the data posted to a dealer's website (vehicle title, meta info, URL).

This data (content) is then indexed by Google and displayed in the search results.

Imagine your customers searching for a "corvette coupe" and the data on your website is displaying "corvette cpe".

This can happen anywhere down the line of vehicle information, whether it be the make, model or trim of a vehicle.

Keep your vehicle data clean too!

May 6, 2013

Comments 1 - 9 of 9

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Hunter Swift's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • How quickly can you say "YES?"

    At Autosoft we pride ourselves on customer service and have done so for over 25 years. So when a current customer’s service manager walked out without notice, the general manager was at a loss for what he was going to do. The parts manager just joined the team, the old advisor quit and the new advisor wasn’t due to start for another week. That left him with a brand new crew with no experience and a service department without the ability to wait on customers!!! Out went the phone call to the local business development manager… “can you help?” Read post

  • New Craigslist listing issue

    Craigslist has had a change in layout and search abilities for awhile but there is a major issue in their new filters. Dealerships are missing a ton of searches when a customer is filtering down the search. The image I included in this post shows how consumers now have the ability to search by type: truck, sedan, convertible, wagon, and other criteria....but a lot of dealers feeds are notRead post

  • Google Penguin 3.0 – What Does It Mean For You and Your Website?

    On Friday, October 17th 2014, Google announced another Google Penguin algorithm update. The purpose of this algorithm is to minimize the presence of websites who take part in spammy link building practices in search engine results pages (SERPs).Read post

  • Driving sales executive summit ....what did you think?

    I just attended my 3rd driving sales executive summit. This was by far the best one yet. We had a chance to learn from some of the best internet marketing people in the business. The keynote speakers were very informative and easy to follow.  The topics they covered were relevant and cutting edge. I especially liked the info that Jared shared with us about customer experience. He shared some eye opening information. The best way to set ourselves apart from other dealerships is to provide a better customer experience. The breakout sessions were great this year as well. I especially liked the one that Allyn Hayne from Launch gave. It was titled blurring the lines between social media and seo. It was great! He shared some of the most recent changes with google. If you did not see this session make sure that you watch the video when it is released by driving sales. While I know that this conference has an expense …it is well worth it. The time out of the store is hard as well but the...Read post

  • Leveraging the Incremental Sales Tracker to Master your Domain

    Many of the dealers I work with suffer from a similar urge when it comes to managing their dealership marketing budget. Their impulse is to move money around, cut spending or even change vendors— sometimes on little more than an urge. I admit, sometimes it can be a tough itch to ignore. How many of you are using a bot or a spreadsheet and looking at analytics from multiple vendors who all want credit for every sale you make? It can get frustrating. But before you resort to any drastic measures, there’s a way you can become master of your dealership domain and lord of your marketing manor.Read post

    By Cobalt on October 28, 2014

  • Flick Fusion Releases InstaVid, An Automated Video Production Service That Helps Auto Dealers Move Metal Faster

    Urbandale, IA--October 27th, 2014--Flick Fusion (www.flickfusion.com), the industry's leading video marketing provider, today released InstaVid, an automated video production service that instantly creates and distributes new and pre-owned inventory videos for auto dealers. In many dealerships, the average time it takes to get photos of inventory for listings and videos is two to three days. InstaVid eliminates that wait time so the dealership can immediately benefit from video SEO and reduce the time that vehicles sit on their lot.   "InstaVid helps dealers move metal faster," said Brian Cox, President and CEO of Flick Fusion Video Marketing. "Within hours of a vehicle arriving on a lot, dealers can have videos of that vehicle all over the Internet, generating immediate video SEO. Why wait days to market your inventory when you can begin to attract video views and website visitors instantly?"   Many dealerships don't create any inventory videos or listings for new vehicles. Havi...Read post

  • Auto/Mate Announces the Successful Completion of First Annual User Summit for Auto Dealers

    ALBANY, N.Y. – October 27th, 2014 –Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) announced the successful completion of its first annual User Summit for auto dealers. Dealers and managers from around the country attended the summit on September 19th in Albany, NY. The User Summit was designed for Auto/Mate's dealer clients to learn the newest features of Auto/Mate's dealership management system (DMS), as well as best practices for implementing new technologies into dealership processes. Additionally, attendees enjoyed networking with peers and fellow Auto/Mate users.   "It was really nice to have so many of our customers in one place and to get their feedback and input on various aspects of our software," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "The Town Hall meeting that we hosted was very informative and we came away with a greater understanding of our clients' needs than we could get in any other way."   The two most popular sessions...Read post

  • Customer Loyalty Isn't Dead. It Can't Be. It Simply Needs a Revival.

    There is doom and gloom in the statistics. Fewer people are staying loyal to a single brand of vehicle. Fewer people are staying loyal to a particular dealership. We've been hearing about it since the rise of the digital age and it can push dealers to focus on generating new sales and service customers at all costs. Since we're a vendor that specializes in search and social marketing, one might think that this is the type of shift in the industry that we would embrace. The reality is that our roots as car people and our focus on being a partner for our dealers supersedes the benefits we receive from the trend. We want our clients to succeed and the lowest hanging fruit - customer retention - is the one measure that we see slipping through the fingers of so many dealers out there. One of the things that we've been investigating is the (seemingly) lost art of turning the one-time sales mentality that has been growing in our industry into the good ol' "customer for life" paradigm that...Read post