This topic seems to have increased in interest in the past several years. I see it in conference presentations, white papers, and webinars through e-mails I receive daily. A lot of presenters and writers seem to think that the best way to start is to “educate” upper management on the benefits of data management, the dire things that might happen if they don’t manage data, the techniques and tools of the trade, and to evangelize about all the reasons why this is simply the right thing to do.
A data management initiative will progress through several initial phases with a goal to reach a steady managed state. Incorporating data management into your enterprise is a little like establishing a personal fitness program. You probably start with a goal, educate yourself about ‘best practices’ for diet and exercise, build a plan to reach your goal, seek out tools that will help you along the way, and ideally have knowledgeable support people who will help you to keep going until you reach your goal. But, we all know, that when we reach our goal we can’t just stop and expect to keep fit.
Responding to increased competition from internet advertising, the USPS has used data integration and low cost mailing to address the challenge. A business can target a particular postage area, say by zip code. Then on the map, you can choose from the various postal routes in the area you selected. You choose whether you want to include Business or Residential addresses, or both, and whether or not you want to include P.O. Box holders. For any postal route a box displays the number of homes/addresses in that route, the average income per household, the number of people of an edit-able age range, avg. number of people per house, and the cost for dropping your mailing at each household. Continue reading