Data Enhancements/Data Overlays

Once you’ve got a postal and email database that you know (to the best of your abilities) is clean and deliverable, what’s next? Your database lets you know that there is a person, an address and possibly an email that are all valid, but that’s really all you know about that particular constituent. Political marketing, however, is all about reaching out to people on issues they can relate to and act upon. So if all you know is their name and a street address, then everything else about them becomes a guess. 

Today’s data technologies have opened up new possibilities and greater opportunities for pinpointed, niche-level targeting to very specific audiences. Gone are the days of basing marketing solely on a modeled, hopeful mix. Now, data is all about solid action statistics and quantifiable habits. At the very basic level a data overlay can provide you with demographics like age and gender. You can also find out if someone is a parent, owns a home, owns a car, is a gun owner and what their lifestyle and interests may be. Taking it to the next level, you can also match purchase history to get an even better idea of their interests as they relate to actionable habits.

Mobile Marketing

One of the topics I have purposefully omitted in this overview is data hygiene as it relates to mobile sms marketing.  There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to successful mobile campaigns that my advice would be to partner up with a reputable and very experienced provider. When you embark on a mobile marketing project, you need to consider how the message will be broadcast, the provider, the opt-in process, the actual type of phone and more. While there’s a lot that can go right with a mobile campaign, there’s also a lot that can go wrong. At the very least, be certain that your sms database constantly contains updated and recent provider information so that you can segment out the list for deployment.

Where and How?

Now that you know you need it, how do you make it happen when it comes to data hygiene and overlays? Basic CASS certification software is easy to obtain and can be installed for use in just about any CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) software.

When it comes to NCOA and PCOA, this is best left to the pros. Be certain the provider you use actually does the “scrub” on premises and isn’t turning around to then send your file out to a third party. When time is of the essence, you don’t want to be waiting weeks for a data turnaround each time you need to clean the file.

This is also true of any provider you utilize for actual data. Be sure they are updating the file at their location so that they can provide you with accurate data—not data that was cleaned months ago.

It’s the same with data overlays and data appends. Be certain that the provider you team up with can actually get you accurate information on the file. While nothing is fool proof, you don’t want to be sending a mailing about Social Security to a 20-year-old recipient.

The bottom line is that the more you can find out about your targets, the better job you can do of sending messaging that will not only be of interest, but will be truly rousing. Having a database that’s ready for a momentary response to a current development, news story or issue will put you in a position to portray yourself as being on top of anything that comes your way.

Carol Lustig is CMO of Media One, a database and direct marketing firm with a specialization in U.S. registered voter data, constituent data, data hygiene, and data enhancements. Contact her at