Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Name and Address: Keys to the Kingdom

Should name and address always be combined?

In most situations analysts need the ability to track people over time. Whether it is to assess contact strategy, compute life time value, or simply report customer file growth a consistent means of identifying unique individuals is required.

Often name and address are used in tandem to identify specific individuals, but that is neither a foolproof strategy nor always appropriate. One example: In the cable business the concept of 'homes passed' or those with a piece of coax in the wall is critical because it relates to large capital expenditures. Thus, the network folks usually don't care who lives at a given address but only whether that address is wired. Conversely, marketers are more interested in people because they consume products and services. They particularly want to know when they've moved so they can select the appropriate services.

A common customer table which contains both names and addresses falls somewhat short of satisfying business needs. A better solution rests in separating names and addresses into separate master lists. The intersection of the two, i.e. people who have access, represents the target universe.

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