It’s usually around this time of year that the panic starts in offices everywhere.
It often begins with “We need a clean list of contact information for the annual mailing”, and is just as often followed by an inordinate amount of stress on the part of the person who’s responsible for compiling the list.
The trouble spot, and the staffer in question knows this all too well, is that even though every organization has some kind of contact management system – maybe stand-alone, maybe integrated into something else – someone along the line has made data entry mistakes that mess up the list and what ought to be a pretty straightforward exercise. There are city names in the state field, and all manner of other chaos waiting to be discovered.
All of this, of course, will make filtering or otherwise reviewing the list more difficult than it ought to be, and may take more time and effort to generate a usable list than is available.
Monarch Finds the Problem Areas for You
Monarch offers a really unique feature for handling and isolating address information. The Address Block feature converts either a multi-line character field or several unique fields and automatically determines the logical pieces and splits them into distinct named fields.
First, you tell Monarch what types of address styles to look for in your report: US, Canadian, UK, etc. Next, select the field or fields that contain the address information you need. Finally, you select the fields that you want Monarch to generate from your initial data.
There’s also an option to generate an error code field, and including this field is always a good idea. If Monarch thinks that the address generation process went well for a particular record, it will give the error code field a zero value. But if Monarch believes that something doesn’t look right, it will supply a value of one through five. The descriptions for those values can be found in Monarch’s online help.
Using the error code field is a great way to screen your data, and you’ll find problems with the addresses in the report very quickly.
And if you do find errors, you can make corrections within Monarch. Just create a user edited style calculated field or two if you really must make some manual tweaks, or if some data isn’t just right, build another Address Block with the fields that you list re-sequenced in a way that you believe will let Monarch give you better results.
Once the list seems pretty accurate, you can use Monarch’s filtering ability to isolate particular regions, customer names that begin with the letter M, or even those within a particular zip code.
Directions for Useful Addresses
When all of that is done, it’s a simple affair to export the data out of Monarch to an Excel file or an Access database so that it can be used as an easy data source for a Microsoft Word document for a mail merge, providing personalized letters or just plain old mailing labels. After all, old fashioned snail mail isn’t totally dead yet.
You can find your troublesome address data automatically, stop working so hard to get the data right, and have your data do a good portion of the work for you. All you need to do is excel with Monarch.