According to the US Postal Service, more than 44-million Americans change their addresses every year. That fact alone suggests it is impossible to keep your database 100% accurate. And consider this: According to e-maillabs.com, for first quarter 2005, e-mail deliverability was just less than 85%. How can you have a “perfect” database when 15% (or more) of the e-mails in your system won’t deliver properly? The simple answer is, you can’t. As consultant Alan Weiss frequently exhorts, “Life is about success, not perfection.” The same can be said for your databases.
So what should you consider “successful”? That will depend on your customer base and other needs. For example, if you have businesses or other institutions as your members (trade assn), then you should be able to keep track of a very high percentage of those business addresses (more than 95%, in my opinion), because businesses move very infrequently. On the other hand, if your primary membership is college students, you can expect a much lower rate of accuracy, as most college students change addresses at least once per year, if not more often.
Having said that, here are some steps you can and should take to ensure the highest possible accuracy of your organization’s data:
One hundred percent data accuracy is impossible. Accept that, and focus on where you can be successful, not perfect, in your data management.
This article originally appeared in the September 2, 2005, issue of Association TRENDS. Copyright 2005 Association TRENDS. Reprinted with permission.