Validation, normalisation, cleansing: each of these terms helps us to better understand what exactly a validated postal address means. The characteristics of a validated postal address are in fact numerous and go beyond the simple concept of “correctness”. Validation has a much broader and deeper meaning and generates benefits far greater than elementary operations of simple checks. To understand precisely what we are talking about when we hear of a validated postal address, we first try to analyse the specific operations referred to during the normalisation or validation processes. In this case we distinguish between basic operations, common to the main address validation software, and advanced operations, peculiar to some of the most advanced standardisation programs that can be activated at the user’s discretion
BASIC VALIDATION OPERATIONS
The postal address, in the vast majority of cases, is copied or inserted into data entry systems (see the forms of a website) in a form that we could define as raw. The set of data making up the address usually has gaps, errors or inconsistencies, due to oversights, haste, wrong information and so on. This scenario gives rise to the need for a precise and effective revision, in order to have data and master data available for marketing, shipping, operations, etc. It is precisely this revision that is called postal address validation. Below, we see the typical phases involved in the validation process:
The address is checked item by item. If there are incorrect data, for example the name of a street written with an extra letter, or the street number attached to the address without spaces, the error would be immediately corrected or, in the absence of valid alternative options, highlighted in the final report.
- Obsolescence check
The address is analysed from the point of view of updating the data. If a municipality or town had changed its name, the software should compare the information contained in its database and update the address accordingly.
The address must contain consistent information. If an address shows the name of a street associated with an inexistent number, this inconsistency is immediately corrected, or reported if necessary.
The address, although correct, up-to-date and coherent, could have gaps of various types. For example, a gap is a missing street number, or an incomplete street name. The validation allows enhancing the address and brings it to a final completeness stage.
ADVANCED VALIDATION OPERATIONS
The operations listed so far represent the backbone of any validation process. However, more specific requirements require complementary actions, indispensable for extrapolating ancillary information useful in various ways. Let’s examine the options available for even more targeted address validation.
The address, if correct and updated, uniquely identifies a precise point on the map. This point is in turn associated with numerical spatial coordinates, or latitude and longitude. More advanced validation software adds these coordinates to the request and geolocates them on the map.
Target country formatting
In every country of the world there is a different postal system, with its rules and its settings. The formatting and the arrangement of the data of a French address are therefore different from the formatting of an Egyptian address. Expressing the address in the target format is one of the advanced validation operations.
The address can be written in hundreds of different languages. The fact that the output language often has to match English or major languages requires real-time translation of the validated postal address.
The address can be useful not only to carry out postal shipments, but also to handle and manage the data collected. In this case the software proposes two or more variants of the output depending on the settings entered before the query.
MASSIVE ADDRESS VALIDATION (DATABASE)
So far we have seen what validation of individual postal addresses really means. However, it should be clarified that there is also the possibility of validating entire databases, obtaining the same level of cleanliness and accuracy of the data. In this case we talk about massive address validation, also known as batch address normalisation. More addresses are validated, up to hundreds of thousands of units simultaneously. It goes without saying that in cases of massive validation, further verification actions such as data deduplication take place. This procedure allows identifying any duplications, combining them if allowed in a single postal address. The result is an optimised database, without ambiguity and without inconsistencies.
OTHER FORMS OF VALIDATION: FROM PERSONAL DATA TO EMAILS
If validation by antonomasia is that relative to postal addresses, in recent years new requests have emerged regarding secondary validations which are no less important. In this section we give other validation methods useful for a small or large business in various sectors.
Profiling the customer with automated computer systems has become a common goal even for less structured companies. Knowing the correct name and surname and associating it with further data, such as contact details, represents a milestone of considerable interest in order to increase the chances of success of one’s commercial and promotional strategies. Let’s think, for example, of the benefits of knowing the correct name when brochures and catalogues destined for mailing are printed. Clearly reporting the correct name will facilitate the interaction of the potential customer, resulting in a higher ROI than with an anonymous communication.
Email address validation
Email addresses are most often transcribed through a contact form, in conjunction with the newsletter subscription and so on. In these and in other situations the email address, just like the physical address, risks being copied badly, with typos or errors. Email address validation eliminates at the root the negative consequences of such an approach, verifying individual email addresses or even databases with hundreds of thousands of records. Careful checks guarantee the validity and accuracy of the scanned address, with obvious positive repercussions in the case of DEM campaigns, sending newsletters, funnels and more.
Telephone number validation
Telephone numbers are also subject to typing, copying and repetition errors. Both for single numbers and for archives with many records, it is possible to rely on validation software to perform in-depth remediation, thanks to which we have a correct and updated output file, immediately usable for SMS marketing, customer care and other operations. Telephone number validation can obviously be combined with postal address normalisation, so as to construct an all-round database, perfect for dealing with any type of work and wide-ranging marketing.
The Egon software is at your disposal for the validation of postal addresses, names, email addresses and telephone numbers. Available for over 250 different countries, Egon is the most reliable answer to those wishing to enhance internal resources and minimise waste. Try our free demo now and without commitment!