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Marketing Agency Validates Contact Data with Melissa Data

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
July 2005 Issue
  By Kevin Parker
Review of: Data Quality Tools Suite from Melissa Data

Melissa Data - Data Quality Tools Suite

REVIEWER: Kevin Parker, senior marketing database specialist for Digital Evergreen.

BACKGROUND: Digital Evergreen is an interactive marketing agency that creates online business strategies, Web applications, direct marketing and relationship marketing initiatives for its clients.

PLATFORMS: In terms of hardware, we use the clustered IBM 345 Server Series, RAID 10, 3GB RAM. Our operating system is the Windows 2000 Advanced Server, while our database management system is the Oracle9.2.3 and SQL Server 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We have multiple sources of data from different origination points. Some data is keyed in at a point-of-sale system, and some data is collected from client Web sites and lead programs, etc. The flow of data is constant. Our challenge is to keep the data flow moving while maintaining good data quality standards. This data is used to derive business intelligence that helps shape how we devise marketing strategies for our clients. To deliver the quality without impacting the data flow, we needed a solution that would allow us to standardize and clean data on the fly without impacting the performance and availability of our data. Our solution was to design a data pipeline system that uses a mix of native SQL server features coupled with the Address Object, Geo Coder Object and Name Object from Melissa Data to ensure clean and standardized data, which is utilized in every area of our organization.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Data Quality Tools Suite provides us with the ability to cleanse and standardize our data. Having clean data provides a lot of confidence when using it to help shape and recommend marketing and communication strategies to our clients. We are able to reach more customers with more relevant content because of the data quality we achieve using the suite.

STRENGTHS: The main strengths of the Data Quality Tools Suite are its speed and flexibility. We are able to use the objects across several in-house data quality applications in different ways to achieve and maintain the data integrity standards our business requires. The suite is very plug-and-play, and we are able to pass data through the objects at various points in a data flow in real time. This capability is very valuable to us and increases our operational efficiency. There's no need to import data, then run the data against an external application, then import the clean data into our warehouse.

WEAKNESSES: The main weakness of the suite is that it is platform dependent. We would like to see the suite available for server platforms other than Windows so we can integrate and automate the data pipeline even better. Another area that could be improved is how the address data is updated. The current implementation requires a bimonthly database update to keep the hygiene features fresh.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We reviewed several products including Postalsoft, DataLever and Merge/Purge Plus from Group 1 Software. The main reason we chose Data Quality Tools Suite from Melissa Data was because we knew what we were getting from the firm, and the price was in line with our budget. The other products we reviewed had similar functionality and boasted excellent processing speed and database integration capabilities, but the pricing was high for what we needed.

DELIVERABLES: The Data Quality Suite serves us in many ways across our business. We mainly use the suite to cleanse our customer data, which helps our targeting accuracy for direct mail campaigns and post campaign response analysis. We also use the suite to help us check third-party data vendors to ensure they are providing clean data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We've had a good relationship with Melissa Data. They have always been there to help when we've run into issues or had questions during implementation. We feel we have a partner in Melissa Data, which is important to us.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand. We have people with varying skills, some more technical than others, and it is a credit to Melissa Data for understanding the consumers of their products when writing their documentation. It is easy enough for management to read and understand while being thorough and detailed for our more technical programming staff members. Melissa Data provides examples and sample code to help speed the learning curve.

Data Quality Tools Suite
Melissa Data Corp
22382 Avenida Empresa
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688



For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Data Quality.

Kevin Parker is senior marketing database specialist for Digital Evergreen.

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