business handshake over blue background/apreton de manos sobre fondo azul

~ by Dimitri Garder, Global-Z Captain

I recently found myself in need of a UML modeling tool; if you don’t know what that is you should be grateful since you probably get invited to better parties than I do.  A web search brought me to a particular project’s website which looked like a good fit.  The site’s page contained a detailed description of the project along with a prominently placed “Download” button, which I obligingly clicked, only to receive a message from my Mac that the associated download wasn’t compatible with my system.  That’s strange, I’m sure the project requirements listed the Mac-OS among the supported systems.  Then I realized that the logo at the top of the landing page was for another vendor’s website altogether, and I was no longer on the website of the project I was researching.  How did I fall into that trap?  I’m normally über sensitive to bait and switch on the Internet.  Somewhat miffed, I navigated back to the original project page, and dug a little deeper, looking for the real project download link.  One click further into the page and I found what I was looking for, a Download button that was clearly the correct link; after all the look and feel of the button and accompanying text was completely consistent with the project’s website.  But again no luck, clicking the link brought me to yet another vendor’s website trying to sell me something entirely different.  Now I was really angry, how could this happen twice in one minute?  I do this for a living; I know real content from bogus marketing.  Don’t I?

Even to a professional marketer, it’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate between content and advertising.  And this is not good news, not for consumers, and not even for marketers.  It’s bad enough that misleading marketing is commonplace on commercial websites, but what’s far worse is that this is now happening with increasing regularity on news content sites and blogs.  Ads such as these are what marketers call “native advertising”; these are essentially inline ads which, rather than appearing at the top of the website and identified as advertising, are embedded subtly within the content of the web page disguising themselves as real content.  These ads are intended to appear as an integral part of the content itself, and are designed to intentionally mislead the viewer; the background and text style is identical to the surrounding copy, and not until the link is clicked does it become evident that it’s advertising and not real content.  Sometimes these ads are disguised as editorial, sometimes as reviews or as Facebook posts, and sometimes as actual news content!  So I’m reading a New York Times article, and click on a hyperlink within what looks like the story, and suddenly I land on an advertiser’s website.  Cool? Maybe to a marketer, but not hardly to a consumer.

Even Google’s getting into the game.  That yellow background that differentiates paid ads from algorithmic search results sure is a lot paler than it used to be – on two out of my four displays I can’t see it at all.  (For the rest of you color geeks, the RGB values of the “yellow” background are 255, 248, 231, which for practical purposes is white.)  Here’s an image showing text with that color value against a white background, see if you can discern the text from the background:


Can you see it?  If not, try looking from the side or top of your monitor.  I literally can’t see it at all on my display.  Not to put too fine a point on it (too late, I know), the W3C Internet standards consortium recommends color differences between figure and ground to be 500 or more.  Google’s advertising background scores a mere 31.  If you’re still reading, the yellow background’s brightness difference is only 7, compared to the W3C recommendation of 125 or more.  That’s practically “pants on fire” territory.  If traffic signs used Google’s contrast values, we would be in big trouble.

Now we all know that there’s a long history of a few bad apples in the ad business engaging in deceptive practices, but native advertising is heading in a much more sinister direction. These ads intentionally blur the line between editorial and advertising, which by itself is not new with digital media by any means.  But what’s new is that now the content providers are complicit in the lie, since the look and feel of the ad is artfully integrated with the content, intentionally misleading consumers, and with the full cooperation of the content provider (see the NPR story here for an interesting perspective on this).  Given that the media enjoy freedoms such as “fair use”, we really need to question whether the media are exercising the responsibilities that go along with those freedoms.  With native advertising, the media are clearly no longer delivering objective news, they’re now actively involved in deceptive marketing practices.

By now I probably sound quite old to a lot of readers, whining about new technology and pining for the good old days.  But here’s my point.  Deceptive marketing may work, I don’t deny that, and it may appear to make some marketers very successful.  But the best advertisers can expect is short-term results, which ultimately serves against the best interests of marketers.  Here’s why.  Digital commerce has let the genie out of the bottle – now that consumers have become accustomed to transparent access to a wealth of information, they won’t be so willing to give that back.  Consumers have more knowledge and power than ever before.  Meanwhile, consumers are finding that more and more of their personal information is out there on the web, and they have little or no control over what’s being done with that information.  So at the intersection of increasing consumer buying power and concerns over data privacy, the implication is that long-term success in advertising is fundamentally dependent on consumer trust in the system.  Marketing to consumers by trying to fool them is only working to reduce consumer confidence, and erode their trust.  Like it or not, consumers are at the helm, and smart marketers should work with them and not against them.  Social networking has essentially proven this. Deceptive marketing may generate a sale, but at the loss of the customer.

I was disappointed to hear at the recent DMA annual conference, DMA President Linda Woolley took a hard line against consumer data protection policies, arguing that the European-style model of consumer-centric data protection policies would be the death of direct marketing.  I was truly surprised not only that the DMA would take this extreme position, but also by the number of marketers I spoke with who accepted this argument without questioning the basic premise.  Using legislative policy to reduce consumer control is at best a short-term tactic.  The DMA does not seem to understand the value of consumer trust in the marketing process, which is yet another example of how disconnected the organization has become with the real world.  When we try to justify our existence, do we say that we’re in the business of tricking consumers, or in the business of delivering value to consumers?  The basic issue is this: if you need to lie to the consumer in order to get them to purchase, you have a product problem.  We need to remember that there are four P’s in effective marketing strategy, and we need to use all four of them.

There’s nothing to be gained by eroding consumers’ trust in the purchasing process.  Smart companies know this, and fully accept that the customer is a key stakeholder in the marketing process, and they engage them in that process.  By maximizing the customer experience across all marketing touch points, the best marketing organizations in the world grow their brand, increase their market share, and gain their customers’ trust for the long term.  Isn’t that what integrated marketing is supposed to be about?


~by Paul Harris

Meet David Loshin, president of Knowledge Integrity, Inc. David is a recognized thought leader and expert consultant in the areas of data quality, master data management, and business intelligence (BI). David is a prolific author regarding BI best practices, via the expert channel at and numerous books and papers on data quality.

Recently, Global-Z had the unique opportunity to interview Loshin and discuss issues that are changing the way businesses think about data.

Global-Z – Everyone talks about the term “Big Data.” How would you define it from a modern perspective?

Loshin- The challenge for defining something like “big data” is to share thoughts that clarify the (now institutionalized) messaging that focuses on “volume, velocity, and variety.” My perspective is that big data reflects a capability for capturing many different large data sets for archival or analytical purposes using scalable technologies and techniques that are no longer beyond the capabilities of most enterprises. An example is the use of open source tools for harnessing commodity hardware to provide a scalable parallel computational resource for analyzing multiple large data sets for customer profiling. There are other aspects such as creating massive elastic data stores. There are lots of opportunities, and it will be interesting to see how more organizations take on big data within the enterprise.

Global-Z – What reoccurring mistakes do most organizations make when they begin a data quality (DQ) program?

Loshin- One of the biggest issues I see in initiating a data quality program is the perception that tools are going to solve data quality problems. In many cases, organizations evaluate and buy tools but neglect to put the right kinds of processes and standards in place, or provide the right training to staff members for using the tools.

Global-Z – Data stewards can become overwhelmed by all the continual hoops they have to jump through to make sure DQ initiatives are moving forward. What advise can you give to a team that feels like they are “stuck in the mud?”

Loshin- Having a clear vision of the expected outcomes for data governance can be a great motivating factor. Specific program objectives can be translated into milestones and deliverables, and at the same time you can define measures for monitoring observance of defined data policies. Making sure you have a plan that maps specific tasks to the deliverables and milestones will help keep you from getting stuck in the mud.

Global-Z – What common challenges do you see when organizations have to deal with international data (i.e., data from outside their domestic borders)?

Loshin- The biggest issue in the past was having access to any sources of information about international data and international data standards. This has changed dramatically in the recent years, although it still poses a challenge. Another critical governance challenge is tracking international privacy and data protection rules and making sure that the way data sets are handled does not violate any jurisdictional privacy regulations. And one more – being able to handle international data altogether can be challenging if you can’t manage Unicode character sets. That can be a really big problem.

Global-Z – Five years from now, what do you think will happen to the companies that continue to ignore DQ issues?

Loshin- More and more, companies are seeing how effective business processes are really dependent on information. And those companies that understand this dependence rightfully incorporate data governance and data quality as part of their system development lifecycle. Organizations that don’t “get it” are destined to become less competitive as they lag in rapidly taking advantage of emerging opportunities inherent in analyzing their data. I see data quality management as an enabling capability that must become a “dial tone” service.

Global-Z – Your book, “The Practitioners Guide to Data Quality Improvement” is regarded a practical resource for anyone in the DQ field. What other literature about DQ would you suggest to our readers?

Loshin- I have put together a collection of books that are useful data quality resources – see which is a portal listing different DQ books that I set up for people interested in data quality!


~ by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC

International address hygiene has different meanings depending on who you ask.  Basically, address hygiene is a series of related services that improve the quality, usefulness, and deliverability of the addresses.  These may include:

  • contact name parsing, standardization, and gender identification
  • duplicate identification and merge/purge
  • address verification and correction
  • postal presorting
  • geolocational identification (latitude/longitude)
  • national change of address
  • suppression of deceased, gone away (moved) and “Do Not Mail” addresses

Some of these services require computer processing that is dependent on another operation.  For example, postal presorting can require address verification in some countries.  Discussing the details of what you want to accomplish and your plans will help you and a service provider determine the best combination of services for your needs.  Additional charges can sometimes be avoided if the various steps are all known at the beginning of the project.

Country-Specific Address Hygiene

Each of these operations takes place country by country with some services available in some countries but not in others.  Latitude and longitude, for example, may be available for addresses in some countries but not others.  Not all countries have national change-of-address systems and some are limited to consumer addresses.  Countries that do maintain change-of-address files may require that the addressee agree to provide the information to others, i.e., opt-in.

Services such as address verification and correction, postal presorting, change of address and suppression of deceased and moved or gone away addresses are dependent on files from postal operators.  The postal operators charge fees for the use of their files, with considerable variation in the amounts charged from country to country.  The way in which the charges are structured varies among the countries with processing fees, a fee per record, and licensing fees among the types of charges.  Because of this variation, it is not possible to generalize about the costs of processing.  Generally, however, it may not be cost effective to use postal operator files for a country if the number of addresses is small.

Discuss your needs with your service provider.  In particular, ask about what to expect back after the processing.  Addresses may well have more or longer lines than they did before and you need to be prepared to accommodate the changes.

International Data Hygiene: How It’s Done

Much of the processing is dependent on matching one individual entry, either a name and address record or an address record, with another.  The first step in the processing is standardization of all addresses within each country to place the same items of information consistently in the same place in each record.  In the following simple example, addresses would need to be standardized for further computer processing.

Edificio Italia50 Av. Sao Luis, 13º  a.Sao Paulo 01046-926


50 Av. Sao Luis, 13 andarSao Paulo01046-926


Edificio Italia – 13  andar50 Av. Sao Luis01046-926  Sao Paulo


The addresses are separated into their elements in stages.

Edificio Italia 50 Av. Sao Luis, 13º  a. Sao Paulo 01046-926 Brazil
50 Av. Sao Luis, 13 andar Sao Paulo 01046-926 Brazil
Edificio Italia – 13  andar 50 Av. Sao Luis 01046-926 Sao Paulo Brazil

As the process continues, the elements are placed in separate fields.

Edificio Italia 50 Av. Sao Luis 13º  a. Sao Paulo 01046-926 Brazil
50 Av. Sao Luis 13 andar Sao Paulo 01046-926 Brazil
Edificio Italia 50 Av. Sao Luis 13 andar Sao Paulo 01046-926 Brazil

The correct placement of the elements for delivery is not determined during this process but during address verification and correction.  For this particular address, the final formatted address would be

Edificio Italia

Av. Sao Luis 50, 13º andar

Sao Paulo



The criteria for determining a match or duplicate address varies, with fewer records identified as duplicates as the criteria becomes more stringent (i.e., more items must match for the entry to be considered a duplicate).  How stringent or loose the criteria should be for automatic merging or purging (removal) of address records will depend on the lists being matched and the purpose of processing.

Whether the records are in-house files or rental lists, whether the records include marketing prospects or purchasers of products, and how recently each record was updated, as well as other criteria, might need to be considered.  If the results from a deduplication will be used for a mass marketing mailing, you might choose to retain the potential duplicates.  If the purpose is a thorough cleaning of duplications from a database, you might remove the more obvious likely duplicates such as nicknames and likely typographical errors.  If names are of high value, such as people at a major purchaser, you might decide to call the company directly to determine or confirm correct recipient names.

Obviously, some of these steps can be expensive and time-consuming.  The best way to reduce the costs is to follow good data quality practices with correct and valid addresses at the point of first collection or entry. As new entries are added a check for an existing entry with the same name, or same title for business addresses, will prevent some duplication.

Correct Contact Data Is a Good Investment

Address verification and correction can increase the number of pieces that will reach their destination.  Given the high cost of international mail (processing, printing and postage), reducing the number of pieces that do not reach their destination is smart business.  This process compares the address in the file against information files on valid addresses and postal codes within a country.

Since errors and address changes will occur over time, regular hygiene will reduce the undeliverable and incorrect addresses.  Some countries change postal codes regularly, particularly in urban and fast-growing areas.  Streets may be renamed to honor particular people or events, new building numbers may be instituted, or provinces added to the preferred postal address format.

Because of the wide range of changes that occur, address verification and correction can be useful both in reducing undeliverable addresses for all files and in improving delivery times.  Addresses with all elements present and in correct position can be delivered more quickly.

National change of address (NCOA) processing helps improve delivery rates in countries where it is available.  How comprehensive NCOA is depends on the country and most countries do not have a national database of this kind, particularly for businesses that move.  Where files exist, a fee may be charged for registering a new address or for mail forwarding.  As mentioned earlier, NCOA files may require the addressee to agree that the information can be provided to companies other than the postal operator.

Some countries provide files of individuals or businesses that have moved or “gone away” or are deceased in addition to change of address files.  This effectively removes addresses where delivery is not possible to a particular addressee.  In addition to “gone away” files, “do not mail” files, sometimes called “Robinson lists”, with the addresses of individual who do not want to receive marketing mail are available in a number of countries, either from the postal operator or from a private organization.

Some of the additional services listed above, such as gender identification and geolocational identification, can increase the information available for business planning and allow for better targeting of marketing campaigns.  Taken all together, the various processes in address hygiene can reduce the cost of postage and printing, while retaining the effective addresses in a file.  The amount saved is often greater than the expense incurred in the processing.

Where the items will be mailed must also be considered.  Using a remailing service that posts the mail in a number of different countries requires that the mail pieces meet the many different local addressing standards and postal sortation requirements.  And, of course, other local requirements must also be met, such as weight of pieces and envelope sizes.

Related Articles:

Personal Names Around The World

Data Integration



by Graham Rhind, GRC Database Information External

When visiting a data quality software supplier’s site recently to download a white paper, I noticed that the country list on the sign up form didn’t contain South Sudan (which became a new country on 9th July 2011) or the new territories which came into existence when the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved on 10th October 2010 (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten).


I shot off a tweet to the company concerned and they told me they were using the United States’ Department of State list. That list had added South Sudan but had failed to make the changes required by the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. In the meantime that list has removed Netherlands Antilles and added Curaçao, but does not yet have entries for Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius or Sint Maarten.

Most companies rely on external sources for their country names and code lists, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, both of which use lists which exclude most of the world’s territories ; or the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Even if you manage your own lists for internal purposes, you may be dependent on an external third-party source for public-facing interfaces. One common one is online shopping/credit card clearing services. It is not uncommon to come across e-commerce sites which have not updated their lists for many years, like the one illustrated. We assume that we can trust services like this to get things right, and we don’t check often enough to ensure that the systems are as up to date as they should be.

Relying on other organisations for your country lists is problematic. To start with, unless you are aware of global changes (and too many people aren’t), or you check the list every day, you won’t notice changes as they happen, as with the data quality company I mentioned above. Secondly, maintenance of country code lists is not the core business of the United Nations, the World Bank and so on. They maintain a list in order to facilitate their own business – and that is rarely likely to coincide with your business. Many of these organisations are very heavily politically dependent or influenced, such as the United Nations or ISO (which doesn’t include Kosovo in its listing, for example), whereas you are likely to need to manage the reality of the situation on the ground, with less emphasis on political niceties. Finally these lists are often updated only long after a country has come into being – it can take ISO many months to assign a country code – whereas you will ideally need to be ready to make changes to your data before the country comes into existence.

When you are managing international data your country code is likely to be linked to other data, such as currency, international telephone number access code, address format or postal code structure, which is not taken account of in country name lists being maintained purely for political purposes. Using lists which exclude Kosovo, for example, which is a de facto entity and has language, currency and addressing differences with Serbia, will cause problems for your data quality.

Maintenance of country lists and codes needs to be given more thought and more attention. If you’re not in a position to manage your own lists, take a look at the one we offer free: External. It may not suit your needs, but it is one of the few lists created without a political agenda, which is updated ahead of requirement, and with name and address data management specifically in mind. Using a correct and up to date country lists will improve your data quality and can save you from considerable embarrassment.


Graham Rhind is an acknowledged expert in the field of data quality. He runs his own consultancy company, GRC Database Information, based in The Netherlands, where he researches postal code and addressing systems, collates international data, runs a busy postal link website and writes data management software. Graham speaks regularly on the subject and is the author of four books on the topic of international data management.

~ by Christoph Scholze, International Sales Manager, at Deutsche Post Adress GmbH & Co. KG.

Importance of Data Quality

In many companies, data quality management is considered as a possibly necessary but rather annoying and expensive entity. Although many believe this to be true address data quality does not end in itself. A return is not only considered a waste of postage, but that a customer can not be reached and thus will not consider a vendor for the next purchasing decision. Hence, not reaching the customer will ultimately lead to a loss in sales, which again results in lower revenues.

Holistic Address Management

This is not new. In the last couple of years, more companies have started to care about their data. Data has been cleaned and sometimes also updated in advance to mailings. Therefore, a mailing list or customer database has been sent to a bureau service provider who processes and sends a cleaned file back. But how does a company know what processes are necessary? How to decide which data to clean in which way? How to extract the data from the database and how to reintegrate them again? Furthermore, what is the reason for the bad data quality? Is the customer regarding purely symptoms or the cause as well.

All these questions lead to the fact that, in the past, bureau service providers were mainly producing ‘data tons’. They sold their product, cleaned the database, but left their customer alone with that raw data and without any advice on how to improve the overall process or what to do with the data.

This brings us to the conclusion that address data management should be seen from a more holistic perspective: to deliver a solution for the challenges of address management to the customer. The solution provider should solve the problem and implement the solution into the customer’s systems.

One way to do this is to consider the customer lifecycle and to think about where to deal with an address and how it may change over time. Therefore, six stages on the customer lifecycle were developed:

  1. First and foremost, a prospect needs to be approached. This can be done by mail, telephone or email – but in any way one needs updated contact information.
  2. After a prospect has been successfully approached and reacts with a requirement for further information or a purchase, the new customer’s contact data – name, address, telephone number – need to be captured correctly and efficiently. If mistakes occur at this stage it may be extremely difficult or even impossible to correct this later.
  3. The contact details – captured correctly and stored in the database – now have to be managed and the right systems to host a database need to be chosen. The data need to be extracted and reintegrated into the database. For all of these processes business rules need to be defined.
  4. Customers move or marry, streets get renamed or telephone numbers become obsolete – data can change over time. Thus, a database needs to be updated regularly to capture those changes and to be able to still reach a customer. Therefore, updating routines and frequency need to be applied – another business rule.
  5. If an address can’t be updated because there is no new known address or a person has died, it is necessary to stop mailing to that address.
  6. Some ‘undeliverable’ addresses might be so valuable it could be worth actively researching them, to find a good customer or maybe a debtor. Those records need to be chosen – again something to be defined in the business rules.

Not all companies see their challenges for data quality management in those same stages. Thus, they need to be adjusted to suit individual needs.

A solution process consisting of four phases helps to approach each stage. First, the customer’s requirements need to be identified. Then a workshop should be held where information can be gathered to develop recommendations and a solution for those identified requirements. Thirdly, the solution for each stage should be implemented and the fourth step will ensure a trouble-free operation with regular monitoring in the future.


An holistic approach to address data quality management ensures high data quality and, hence, availability of customers. This increases not only the customer value but also leverages the total value of a company since sales volumes and revenues can be increased too.

Deutsche Post Adress, with its international Business Unit POSTADRESS GLOBAL, is a pioneer in this new field of address quality management on an international basis. This year, POSTADRESS GLOBAL has released ‘International Data Quality Solutions’  – an holistic approach to address data quality management, as outlined above.


Light has indeed been shining on Greece in the news a significant amount in recent months. Not all of the news has been favorable; from rolling labor union strikes to the International Monetary Fund and Eurozone governments providing Greece emergency short- and medium-term loans worth $147 billion so that the country could make debt repayments to creditors (source: World Factbook).

Not all the news out of Greece is cast in this negative light. A number of Global-Z clients have been seeing significant growth and opportunity in this important Southern European market so they came to us for help. As client demand calls for research and development into markets for which Global-Z was previously providing formatting only (i.e., not address validation) we listen. The result? We now have a Greece module thanks to our hard-working R&D team. That is, not only can we format postal data to the standards of the Greek postal authority-Hellenic Post-but much more.

Here are the main features of the new Global-Z Greece module:

  • The new module supports address validation and correction on both Roman-text (English) and Greek-text names and addresses (ονόματα και τις διευθύνσεις).
  • Global-Z’s proprietary software utilizes up-to-date data containing 1,200 postcodes, 11,000 towns, cities and districts, and over 13,000 streets and building number ranges in the largest towns and cities in the country.
  • New capabilities also include name parsing, genderization, phone and email standardization.

While results vary from data set to data set, validation rates can be expected to be in the 75% plus range. Currently street-level data are available for the largest towns and cities.

Contact Us to test Greece today!

By Stacy Berver


It’s a fiercely competitive environment for marketing consultants and although consultancy is only one of many services that DM360 offers, we’re taking to heart many of the lessons we learned in our years as employees of arguably one of the best direct marketers around, Agora Inc.

Celebrating our 3-year anniversary in April, we’ve achieved success beyond what we imagined possible when we set out to help companies expand their international marketing presence… and almost all of that success has come from word-of-mouth referrals from our friends and contacts in the industry.

What that means, is that we’ve been very lucky – we’ve needed little to no advertising and marketing budget for the past three years.

This month we’ve unveiled a new marketing venture…or adventure as I like to call it. It took us way back to our Agora days and reminded us that creating a product, let alone marketing it, is a tremendous amount of work.

To take advantage of our experience and learn how to successfully market your business. Check out our DM101: Direct Marketing Training and Education Program.


With ever-growing stores of international client and prospect data there are creative business needs to augment and analyze that data that we hear about continually from you, our forward-thinking clients. One such demand has been increasingly to determine a geographic coordinate from another geographic identifier such as a physical address. Global-Z’s R&D team has heard and responded to your request for:

  • Customer and prospect location identification;
  • Customer database geographical analysis;
  • Targeted geographical marketing, e.g. seasonality targeting or radius targeting relative to one or more retail locations;
  • Asset location tracking and identification;
  • Reduction of transportation and logistics costs through distribution analysis;
  • Sales force optimization;
  • Risk analysis;

With these and a host of other application requiring geographical identification of a physical address we’ve released Global-Z’s International Geocoding Service.

Currently deployed for Canada and the United Kingdom our International Geocoding Service continues to grow in direct response to our clients’ individual needs and business objectives. Contact Us today to schedule a free test of our new International Geocoding Service to help you hit the mark in 2010.


As postal authorities around the world continually enhance their services, incorporating greater efficiencies and effective services for their customers, many changes occur. Canada Post has updated a number of their mail preparation and discount guidelines, so we wanted to be sure highlight a few of the Letter Carrier Presort (LCP) updates here. Sourced from the Canada Post website, please be sure to visit the site directly, and speak with your Canada Post rep for any specific questions you may have as they may affect your business. As always, we’re happy to help in any way we can, so don’t hesitate to contact your Global-Z representative.