“Mind the Gap” is a warning issued to British rail passengers to exercise caution while crossing over from the station platform through the train doorway. The cautionary phrase, which was first introduced in 1969 in the UK’s London Underground, is broadcast over loudspeakers and plastered throughout train stations. But minding the gap is just as meaningful today for entrepreneurs and organizations managing customer databases as it is for vigilant railway passengers.

Minding the gap is an imperative for all businesses; data gaps and blind spots could hinder your marketing efforts and limit your earnings potential. But how do you know if something is missing or inaccurate? Using a data appending service can help you mind the gap and your bottom line. Data appending entails taking your existing information about customers or potential customers and adding (or appending) additional information to those records to create complete and accurate files.

Data appending can save valuable time and money. In her book, Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data (2007) author Cindi Howson notes that managers typically spend two hours per day hunting for data – and half of this information later turns out to be unusable. That’s an average of ten wasted hours per week – and more than 500 wasted hours per fiscal year. No business can afford this.

Businesses need to find efficient and effective methods to turn their data into usable information. A data appending service will help you profitably grow your business, putting vital customer information at your fingertips and providing your staff with the opportunity to focus on their real work. And data appending doesn’t just help you mind the gaps in time and money – it helps streamline the marketing your customers will receive. According to author Jeffrey K. Rohrs, customers benefit from data appending because it allows companies to tailor their marketing campaigns and customer service communications to each customer’s specific needs (Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers, 2013).

A data appending service can also perform database scrubbing (also referred to as database cleansing) to remove or amend incomplete, inaccurate, or duplicate data. Database cleansing services can locate and merge duplicate records and add missing information including apartment numbers, zip codes, and telephone numbers. An inactive consumer email address, old home address, or incomplete address offers no value to a company. Database cleaning software saves significant time over manually correcting and updating information. Current, complete data is the new soil for growing businesses – and nothing is more germane than accurately appended and integrated data.

In his book The Data Asset: How Smart Companies Govern Their Data for Business Success, (2009) author Tony Fisher states that effective data integration can improve productivity and decrease costs by ensuring accuracy, reliability, and consistency. Matching and consolidating data creates the most accurate view of a customer, and that’s why Accurate Append matches records based upon a name and an address, while some companies match only on one or the other.

Whether you’re an old hand at business or a greenhorn, you’ll need to mind the gaps in your data. Once you do, everything else will begin to fall into place.