When de-duping duplicate contacts, email address is usually used a unique identifier. After all it is the easiest way to identify if there are duplicate contacts. However, today most tools do not allow for a duplicate email to be entered into the system, making it seem like you have no duplicate contacts. There are three reasons why emails may not always be used as a unique identifier:

  1. Personal Email Address Vs. Professional – In B2B Marketing, you will be surprised what percentage of your database consists of emails with personal domains such as yahoo, gmail and so on. (Hint: to check what percentage of your database contains personal email address, simply download your full list and filter by gmail, yahoo and hotmail to get an idea). It is not surprising to have employees use their personal email address when doing research on prospective companies, while putting their corporate email address when they are reading to move on during the sales cycle. Therefore, it is advisable when de-duping to find duplicates also by first/last name and organization name if available.
  2. Direct Mail & Household Marketing – If you are in business which sells items to be used by the whole household you may want to have your unique identifier be the physical address and not email address. For example, there are three people being insured under the same household but all three emails are found in your database. The same applies for direct mail marketers, while sending an email does not cost much, direct mail does, therefore, for these businesses it may make sense to de-dupe based on the physical address.
  3. Job Hopping – With people changing jobs every few years, a unique email identify may make it difficult to identify if you have already have an established relationship or not. Therefore, it is advisable to check if an email has bounced or if the sales rep has marked a contact as no longer there. You are now able to look for the new email for this person or revert to the personal email address for future communications.

These are just some reasons why de-duping contacts based on email address is not enough, and why some companies may wish to use a different unique identifier to the email address. To identify duplicate contacts or dedupe your CRM, contact StrategicDB, a data cleansing company.

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