Deduplication is a vital part of data cleansing. It is a complex but absolutely necessary procedure that allows to avert multiple reps contacting the same leads, automate marketing and sales processes, polish marketing strategy, improve ROI, save money, maintain a good company image to name a few.
Once you have made a decision to dedupe and have prepared your data for deduplication it is time to select what fields require deduplicating.
The typical data field, that B2B marketers regard as a start point for duplicate identification, is the Email address. It is a very reasonable choice that does not require much of explanation. You need to send only one copy of the Email. However, it is just the beginning.
The following are other fields you might want to add to your deduplication process to enhance your ability to grasp more duplicate records.
Cell Phone # – Today the mobile phone number has become a truly distinct identifier because:
- Thanks to modern technology, there is no need to change the cell phone number when buying a new phone or changing service provider;
- Interstate long distance charges are mostly not applied anymore;
- Today metropolitans have multiple area codes;
- Large metropolitan areas now have overlay area codes;
- Less and less companies provide company’s phone since it is inconvenient to carry more than one phone;
- When people get a new job or change the place of living, their cell phone number remains unchanged and becomes a part of our identity.
- Deduping based on cell phone number allows to spot contacts across different organization affiliations and contacts with different Email addresses. It is important to normalize the format of phone number records prior to deduping by cell phone number. It is better to standardize all your phone numbers by the international format.
Domain – Company is the other field you might consider for deduplication. In this case it is better to start deduping on Domain and not on Company name. It is not easy to match the exact Company name though Domain is a more accurate strategy to find a match.
- To get a better match you might use a root domain, e.g. in an Email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”, the root domain is “abcd.com”. The full domain is helpful when you would prefer to have divisions of big organizations separate as different accounts;
- Prior to extracting a domain, try to clean up the Email and website data;
- Use free email providers when filtering out Email addresses from ISPs (Internet Service Provider).
Company Name – After deduping on Domain you can try to dedupe on Company name since your Contacts can be associated with different companies. Here are some actions you may follow:
- Perform Company Name data clean up by normalizing it to one name, e.g. “ABCD.Corp”, “ABCD.US” and “ABCD. USA.Corp” transforms to one name as “ABCD.US.Corp”;
- Standardize the Company name across its alias;
- Apply a unique identification code, e.g. a DUNS number as the best standard.
Address – To dedupe on address, you need to start with cleaning up and standardizing of the address. Usually there is a lot of address format fluctuations in any dataset. Mapping services (Google, Bing, etc.) might be of help. Select one standard and stick to it.
You may dedupe on as many fields as you decide on depending on your dataset and business needs. When deduping, try to explore as many matching criteria as possible. For instance, you may apply the following criteria on a contact record: Email address, Cell phone, Company Name, First name, Last name, Customer_ID.