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Identity Resolution Helps Produce the Most Complete and Accurate Marketing Lists
Marketing Lists Provide the Data That Is Essential to Maximizing Sales
For many businesses a critical factor for their competitive edge and success is to identify their most promising targets in the form of marketing lists. What’s most important in building effective marketing lists is the completeness and accuracy of the information collected by companies relating to potential customers.
Cleansed and Aggregated Data Is Essential
A marketing campaign, whether it’s digital or via direct mail, can be greatly enhanced by having the highest-quality cleansed and aggregated customer data. Companies conducting marketing campaigns are constantly working to enhance the value of their customer lists – whether they are for companies or individuals. They collect all the data they can from many sources and try to include many attributes, in particular, demographic information, where the goal is to market only to people possessing certain characteristics, e.g., of a certain age and with children (or combinations of other attributes).
Companies also need the most accurate and complete customer information possible. In particular, since digital marketing deals with multiple channels such as email and social media platforms, it’s critically important to consolidate the information coming in through those channels. Achieving this will result in the increasingly crucial 360 degree view of a customer.
Although there are many differences between digital marketing and direct mail, they share this common requirement for deconflicting and consolidating customer information.
Up-To-Date Data Is Critical
Direct mail campaigns need information such as addresses so that, in one use case, they can target their direct mail to locations within a certain distance from a business. Achieving this goal is facilitated by having the best, most complete address for a customer.
Digital marketeers face a situation where a previous customer may come in through a new channel (email, web site, call center, etc.) and provide somewhat different identifying information, such as a new address or phone number. In other cases, a previously known customer may show up with somewhat different names due to misspellings, nicknames, word order variations, or missing components. Companies need a way to consolidate information so the customer can be identified as a repeat and handled as gracefully as possible.
Identity Resolution Is an AI-Based Technology That Helps
Obviously, creating high-quality marketing lists requires very advanced capabilities to cleanse and consolidate multiple data sources. For example, a business contemplating a direct mail campaign always wants a list with a minimum of duplicates (US postal rates vary according to bulk). Items from different sources, such as personal names or street addresses, have a strong tendency to vary and therefore need to be consolidated.
Producing these consolidated marketing lists is a highly complex task, but there is an automated technology that can help: Identity Resolution. It provides highly accurate matching of names and other attributes. It is based on AI techniques trained on real-world data that contains many examples of actual variations.
How Identity Resolution Meets the Challenge of Building Marketing Lists
A particular challenge for creating highly accurate and complete marketing lists is that of variation among personal names and the resulting difficulties in matching and merging records. Personal names may differ due to the following, as well as other, phenomena:
- Word order variations (Park Sol Mi – Sol Mi Park)
- Initials (John Benjamin Robinson – J. B. Robinson)
- Nicknames (Edward – Ted/Teddy)
- Missing components (Sebastian Rodriguez Marin – Sebastian Rodriguez)
Modern identity resolution techniques have to be robust in the face of these potential name discrepancies, not only individually, but in combination. They must also scale to meet the challenge of building large marketing lists from many different data sources.
Addresses also have their challenges:
- 1 Willow Oak Court One Willow Oak Ct.
Here there are two differences that need to be consolidated (1/One and Court/Ct.).
Of course, there can be more complex situations involving variations in different data types:
- Jen Smith, 5 Fair Lakes Court, Chatham Mass.
- Jennifer Smyth, Five Fair Lakes Ct., Chatham MA
Here is a case where there are different data types involved in a complete record (personal name and address) that both vary. Identity Resolution technology will calculate a similarity score for each data type and then produce a combined score for the whole record. A combined score for the record is needed because by themselves the name Jen Smith may or may not be the same person as Jennifer Smyth (note the spelling difference Smith vs. Smyth), but the strong similarity of the addresses indicates that they are.
Other items requiring matching typically include names of businesses. These attributes exhibit different patterns of variation: corporate names will vary, for example, on the presence or absence of a corporate designator such as “Inc.” Also, some business records will contain the full form of a corporate name and some just an acronym. All of these phenomena, and many others (including, of course, simple typos), need to be handled in order to consolidate records.
In sum, Identity Resolution is a critical technology to accurately consolidate and build effective marketing lists for both digital marketing and direct mail.