Some Things to Remember when Capturing Data

The Creating Lists category of the Media & Marketing Centre's Mailing and Database Management section contains plenty of good advice on creating your own list through capturing data.

This help sheet summarises some of the key points your group or organisation should remember when capturing data to create your direct mail-out list.

  • Legal issues and privacy.
There are legal limits and legislation constraining what sort of data you can collect, how you can collect it and how you can use it. More information about the Privacy Act and other privacy legislation can be found by Clicking Here.
  • Re-assure people giving you their information.
Some people are understandably wary of disclosing information about themselves. When collecting data from people you must be able to offer assurance that you will be using it solely for the purpose of improving your communication with them. 

  • Treat other people's information with respect.
Make sure measures are in place which guarantees the security of your list
Do not let everyone see the information and definitely do not distribute it or on-sell it to others (unless you have express permission from the person on the list to do so).

  • Only collect the data you need.
Collecting too much data is a recipe for confusion.  An over-stacked and complicated database can negatively impact on its overall quality and jeopardise future direct mail initiatives.

If you use questionnaires to capture information keep them short and to the point. Better to get pertinent information than none at all.  Few people have the time or inclination to fill in a questionnaire the size of the national census!

  • Test the data collection devices before using them.
Run your data capture devices, like surveys or questionnaires, past colleagues before you use them.

Make sure they are easy to read and fill out and that they include opt-out or privacy disclaimers if needed.

  • Get the details right.
Finally, make sure you check and re-check the information you receive in your data capture to ensure the details are correct.

Make sure the spelling of people's names, their street address, the suburb and its postcode are correct.  Sending a letter to someone with their name spelt wrongly is bad enough, but if the address is wrong you've wasted everybody's time.