It’s a thorn in the side of mailers and direct marketers everywhere. And undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail can appear to be tough to avoid, with 40 million-plus Americans moving every year. The USPS estimates that at least 8% of standard mail is undeliverable thanks to an incorrect address - we're talking about either missing address data, or recipients who moved.
So what’s a mailer to do? Two words: Data Hygiene.
Data hygiene is a fancy term for ensuring clean, accurate data. Clean data is almost error-free; but dirty data contains duplicate records, outdated or incomplete records, and records that didn’t mesh well when imported together from different systems.
Data Hygiene Options: NCOA in a nutshell
NCOA (National Change of Address) is a nationwide system allowing mailers access to updated addresses that are filed with the USPS. The Post Office requires all Standard Mail (including letters, flats and parcels) and Presort-rate First Class Mail to be updated within 95 days of a mailing.
All quality mailing services are NCOA-compliant, so check with your mailing partner before signing on. If your mail service provider doesn’t follow the Move Update Standard, you can be penalized by the Post Office. But on the bright side, benefits of NCOA include:
- Reduction in undeliverable or delayed mail
- Increased ROI on your mailings
- Real-time address updates
- Postage, prep and printing savings
- USPS-compliant mailings
- Keep customer communications relevant and current
NCOA is the starting point for mail hygiene experts. The process also includes:
- CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) which standardizes addresses
- DPV (Delivery Point Validation) which confirms not only postal stops, but postal stops where someone actually lives, and
- LACSLink® which matches addresses against rural and highway routes and box numbers that were renumbered due to 911 address conversions.
It all starts with clean data
Midwest has a data department with five full-time data experts managing our customer data. We use a blend of the above systems plus a proprietary suite of tools to manage client data quality. Customer reporting, merge/purge and deduplication, mail list cleaning and processing, and database integrity … these are a few of the services your mail partner should be offering you.
Undeliverable mail can easily cost mailers several hundred to several thousand dollars per mailing. Avoid the UAA pitfalls by ensuring your data management is in capable hands.