Mailing List Deduping

The process of deduping is an easy way to improve the quality of your mail list, and increase your ROI. Having a quality list means that you will send fewer pieces of mail overall, sending mail only to those you intend. Before removing duplicates, take into account these considerations:

The quality of your list

The quality of any list is always dependent on the care taken when data is entered. Misspelled names, nicknames, or abbreviations will make your deduping job more difficult. For example, John Public could be entered a variety of ways:

  • Mr. John Edward Public
  • Johnnie Public
  • J.E. Public
  • Jon Publick
  • J. Edward Public

If names are not entered carefully, you will have difficulty knowing if the above names are variations of the same person, or all different people. This will depend on how strict the match criteria will be for your mailing.


Your mail campaign goals

Consider the overall goal of your campaign. Are you going to send mail to all individuals at an address? Will you send one piece per business or one piece to each employee at the business? What about different families that live at the same address? Your answers will determine the best dedupe scheme to employ.

Dedupe strategies based on your campaign goal

  • One per Person: Avoid sending multiple mail pieces to an individual by removing records where the first name, last name and address all match.
  • One per Family: If you wish to send just one mailing to a household, remove duplicate records that share the same last name and address.
  • One per Address: If you do not wish to send more than one mail piece to an address, use this to flag all records with the same address.

Your match criteria

Which match criteria will you employ? Matching software is able to discern the use of most nicknames and knows that Bill and William are the same individual. Following common nicknames, the use of proper rules being employed makes a big difference.

Match criteria for deduping

  • Exact: Will match all elements including Zip Code (first 5 digits), Street Address, and Name fields
  • Tight: Will match Zip Code exactly, loosen the criteria on the Address and allow for known matches in the Name field as in the case of nicknames.
  • Medium: Will match Zip Code exactly, loosen the criteria on the Address and allow greater variance in the Name field.
  • Loose: Will drop the Name field scrutiny even farther to allow for misspellings and other nuances.

It is best to take the time upfront to make sure that the correct logic is being used for your mail lists. In doing so, you will help ensure that your mailing will provide the results you hope for!

For more ideas about deduping and mailing lists, click here. Have questions about deduping? Contact The Badger Group!

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