Making a small effort to clean-up your database now will pay-off in a big way later. If you look carefully at your customer database, you will most likely find a high number of duplicates. Creating duplicates is easy and often happens when a customer contacts or orders from you more than once. Enter the human element—a missing period, an alternate spelling or any oversight at all. Now, you have a new entry.

What are the consequences? Your print and mailing costs go up. You only need to mail your postcard, your flyer or your catalog once. Not to mention the undeliverable addresses that you pay to deliver directly to the trash can. Even worse, you alienate your customers. How do you think Margaret Smith-Kline feels about receiving three copies of the same piece? Not only does it fill up her mailbox, it also makes it clear that you don’t know much about her. She’s just duplicate lines in a database. You end up spending more and increasing your carbon footprint for no benefit.

Luckily, the solution is simple, and the benefit can be huge. Do a quick clean-up of your database (cleansing, match and consolidation), and you might be surprised just how much money you can save. In a Webinar sponsored by DIRECT magazine, Baseline Consulting, a business and IT consulting firm, recently shared how one of its customers went through this process and identified 50 percent of its catalog mailings as duplicate, sent to the wrong addresses, undeliverable or mailed to the wrong prospects. By updating their list, the company slashed its print and mailing costs by 50%. Imagine what a similar process could do for you.