Using Merge/Purge to combine files, eliminate duplicates and apply Exclusion lists

This tech note is the second of a series of three, which describes using Merge/Purge to combine lists and remove duplicates. Merge/Purge is an Add-on available for use with Bulk Mailer Professional and Business.

Suppose you have one or more lists from which you want to create a mailing and also have one or more exclusion lists of names and addresses, which should not be mailed. You may want to eliminate duplicates based on custom criteria and combine fields to create a more complete record for each individual, family or business record. Follow these steps to combine the lists and eliminate duplicates in Bulk Mailer using Merge/Purge.

Beginning a Merge/Purge

Note: In order to achieve the best results, Bulk Mailer will automatically run address correction on all records prior to performing the duplication search. This standardizes the address format to provide for better matching.

The Processing Mode screen.

  1. To begin Merge/Purge processing, go to the Address Quality page and click the Start button below the Merge/Purge header to launch the Merge/Purge Wizard.  If you currently have a mailing open, you will be asked to close it before beginning Merge/Purge processing.
  2. On the Welcome screen, click Next. This will display the Processing Mode page.
  3. Select Combine Files and Eliminate Duplicates, and retain only those records that do not match an Exclusion record on Processing Mode screen. Click Next.

Selecting the Primary Records

The Primary Records screen is where you select the external files that you want to consolidate. You can use mailings for this process, but you must import them like any other file type.

The Primary Files screen.

  1. Click the Add File button to launch the Import Wizard.
  2. In the Import Wizard, highlight an existing template and click Finish or create a new Import template by selecting New Import Template. Click Next.

    For further details on creating an Import template, see the Import/Export section of Chapter 3 in the Bulk Mailer User Guide.

  3. The priority of the files is determined by the order in which they are listed on this screen. You change the order by using the Up and Down buttons to reorder them. The priority of the files can be used as a matching criterion later in the wizard.
  4. Repeat these steps for each file that you want to add, then click Next.

Selecting Matching Criteria

This screen lets you choose how Merge/Purge will identify matching records. Select one option for matching logic to determine duplicate records. The options are Individual, Family, Business, Address, and Custom.

The Matching Criteria screen.

  • Individual – Uses Address and both First Name and Last Name.
  • Family – Uses Address and Last Name.
  • Business – Uses Address and Business.
  • Address – Uses the Address field only.

If you select the Custom option, click the Define Criteria button to make your selections. This will bring up a separate screen where you can determine what criteria Merge/Purge uses to find matching records. Click OK to return to the Matching Criteria screen. Click Next to move to the Record Consolidation screen.

Specifying Record Consolidation Options

On this screen, you can choose how you want to consolidate Family and Individual matches. For matching records that have the same last name but different first names, you can choose one of the following:

The Record Consolidation screen.

  • Select Use name from highest-priority record, if you want the first name to always default to the one in the highest priority list.
  • Combine first names with any of the selected characters.
  • Replace names with any of the selected phrases … and place in the last name field.
  • Replace names with any text, such as Resident … and place in the last name field.

For matching records that have different last names, choose one of the following:

  • Select Use name from highest-priority record if you want the last name to always default to the one in the highest priority list.
  • Use Combine names with any of the selected characters and place in the last name field.
  • Replace names with any text, such as Occupants … and place in the last name field.

Click Next to move to the second Record Consolidation screen.

Specify Consolidation Options for Duplicate Records

This screen lets you determine how Merge/Purge will handle information from duplicate entries. Choose from the following consolidation options for duplicate records: 

The second Record Consoidation screen.

  • Address – Select Use highest-priority record if you want the address to always default to the highest priority list where it was found. Use Look for secondary address data to use the record that has secondary address data over a record that contains only the primary address.

Note: Secondary address data is defined as a Unit Designator and Unit Numbers, such as “Apt A5” or “Ste 500.”

  • Business Select Use highest-priority record if you want the Business field to always default to the highest priority list where it was found. Select Use longest form of the name to use the record that has the longest Business name. For example, “Satori Software” would be preferred over “Satori Inc.”
  • User-Defined Text – Select Use highest-priority record, if you want the User-Defined text fields to always default to the highest priority list where they were found. Use the Combine with pull-down list to select a character to place between combined records entries. For the Use available fields option, see the note below.
  • Phone – Select Use highest-priority record if you want the Phone Fields to always default to the highest priority list where it was found. For the Use available fields option, see the note below. 
  • Numbers – Select Use highest-priority record if you want the User-Defined Number fields to always default to the highest priority list where it was found. For the Use available fields option, see the note below.

Note: The Use available fields options allow you to retain information from matching records even when it differs from record to record. For instance, matching records may have different phone numbers in the User Defined Phone Field #1. By selecting Use Available Fields, the consolidation process will move the phone number from Phone Field #1 in the second record to the next available User Defined Phone Field (#2 or #3 etc.) in the primary record – thereby retaining both phone numbers in the final merged file.

  • Consolidate email and Web site – If selected, Merge/Purge will populate blank fields in the higher priority records with Web site and e-mail addresses from lower priority records, if available.
  • Consolidate subscription data – If selected, Merge/Purge will populate blank fields in the higher priority records with any subscription data that you may have entered or included in your records.

Selecting Exclusion Records

The Exclusion Records screen adds files in the same way you add primary files.  However, priorities do not apply to exclusion files. Records in the primary files will be excluded if they match a record in any exclusion files. 

The Exclusion Files screen.

  1. Click the Add File button to launch the Import Wizard.
  2. In the Import Wizard, highlight an existing template and click Finish or create a new Import template by selecting New Import Template. Click Next.

    For further details on creating an Import template, see the Import/Export section of Chapter 3 in the Bulk Mailer User Guide. 

  3. Continue adding files with the Add File button until you have added all of your files. Click Next.

Selecting Output Files

This screen is where you will create a single, consolidated file – Retained Records – and optionally output files of Eliminated Records and Exclusion Records. Consolidated files can be saved in any of the file formats supported by the Export Wizard.

The Output Files screen.

  1. Click the Choose button to launch the Export Wizard.
  2. In the Export Wizard, highlight an existing template and click Finish or create a new Export template by selecting New Export Template. Complete the rest of the Export Wizard as usual.

    For further details on creating an Export template, see the Import/Export section of Chapter 3 in the Bulk Mailer User Guide. 

  3. If you select the option to Output duplicate primary records, those records will be saved in the same file format and to the same folder as your retained records file. Merge/Purge will add “-dup” to the end of the file name you selected for the retained records.
  4. If you select the option to Output primary records that match an Exclusion record, excluded primary records will also be saved in the same file format and folder as your retained records file. Merge/Purge will add “–excl” to the end of the file name that you selected for the retained records.
  5. If you select the option to Output Exclusion records that match a Primary record, these records will also be saved in the same file format and folder as your retained records file. Merge/Purge will add the characters “–miss” to the end of the file name that you selected for the retained records. Click Next.
  6. On the Merge/Purge Wizard Summary screen, review your selections and then click Finish.

During the Merge/Purge processing, you will see screens display and close automatically as each function is performed. The Progress screen will display throughout. After the processing is complete, the Progress screen will display a brief summary. You can Print, Preview or Save As PDF the detailed summary reports. Bulk Mailer creates two reports with every Merge/Purge process. These reports are for your reference only and need not be printed or saved unless you choose to do so.  

Merge/Purge Summary Report

This report summarizes all the selections that you made in the Merge/Purge Wizard and provides statistics for how the records in each of your source files were affected by the Merge/Purge process. The files used in the Merge/Purge process are listed in List ID number order along with “x” to identify an exclusion list, and “i” to identify an inclusion list.

The Merge/Purge Summary report.

Merge/Purge Deleted Record Report

This report lists every record that was deleted and indicates that it was a duplicate with the Code, “D,” removed (when using exclusion files) “R,” or not included (when using inclusion files.) “I.” For this type of Merge/Purge, the only entries you will see in the code section is “D” or “R,” as we are not using inclusion files. For information on how to use inclusion files, see the tech note, “Using Merge/Purge combine files, eliminate duplicates and apply Inclusion lists.”

The Deleted Records report.

  

 

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Address Management, Duplicate Management, Merge/Perge