To increase recipient engagement, improve response rates and increase ROI, it is proven that using direct mail with other channels, not instead of, is very effective. Marketers are continually looking to find techniques that pair well with mail as part of an integrated campaign.

In July of 2018, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) joined forces to form the largest trade association in the US devoted to serving all aspects of marketing. Of interest is the ANA/DMA’s “Response Rate Report,” which shows marketers how their campaigns compete across different industries and media channels. According to the 2018 Response Rate Report, Direct Mail response rates have hit a new high, almost double those reported in 2016 and 2017. House lists boast an average nine percent response while prospect lists result in an impressive five percent response.

As mail becomes more targeted and personalized, timely and accurate delivery is paramount. Therefore, reducing Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail is vital for maximum results.

While there are various reasons a mail piece may be deemed undeliverable, it is important to focus on the address quality related reasons, such as whether or not the addressee has moved, or if the address is incomplete, incorrect, or illegible. Aside from ensuring timely and accurate delivery to the right audience, having quality data and records that are complete, correct, and current optimizes postage costs, increases ROI on marketing campaigns, and produces measurable results.

Staying on Top of This Issue

Integrating data quality services is the answer to this conundrum. Sophisticated software vendors offer address quality solutions designed to ensure that your lists and databases have complete, correct, and current addresses. NCOALink, the USPS database of address changes to residential and business addresses, contains only those moves that are reported to them, and only an estimated 60% of US residents file a permanent change of address in a timely manner, if at all.

That translates to nearly 40% of annual moves, as many as four billion addresses, that are not filed with the Postal Service! Although this is an alarming statistic, there are alternative methods to locate those in question and why incorporating multiple data quality solutions is so important. Ensuring a customer’s data is compliant with USPS® regulations by utilizing CASS™ and NCOALink® is now only the first step.

The importance of data quality becomes even more apparent when examining the habits of Millennials – adults who range in age from 21 to 37. In 2017, Millennials accounted for the largest share of home purchases, yet they rarely filed a Change of Address with the USPS. While this group may check their mailboxes a little less frequently, according to a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General, Millennials are more likely to visit a physical location based on a direct mail piece than other generations. With that in mind, it becomes even more crucial to ensure that mailings reach their intended target by leveraging additional tools.

To find moves that are not filed with the USPS and to ensure you are able to reach those customers, utilize tools that use third-party databases to find and confirm addresses for consumers who have moved. It’s also important to use correcting tools, which compare lists of submitted addresses and compare them to up-to-date, private database sources, repairing incorrect or incomplete records.

Premier software vendors make it easier than ever before to seamlessly use these data quality services so that mailers can execute effective campaigns. Plus, these unique services are just a few among many that improve data quality. Mailers can save money, reduce waste, and gain confidence in the mail by utilizing a comprehensive data quality services as a preventative strategy to combat UAA.

Anita Pursley is Senior Manager, Industry Affairs, BCC Software.