When it comes to Change of Address processing, the U.S. Postal Service offers two National Change of Address solutions, NCOALink 0-18 month processing and NCOALink 0-48 month processing. Both products are based on the same underlying database and are subject to the same stringent name and address matching algorithms.
In its Best Practices White Paper on Address Hygiene, East Greenbush, NY-based database marketer I-Centrix identifies one key difference between these products: the amount of move history contained in the file. The NCOALink 0-48 month process provides 48 months of move data and assigns nixie return codes to records that are almost, but not quite, NCOA hits. NCOALink 0-18 month process is the same, except it provides 18 months of move data.
Given this information, when should a mailer use the NCOALink 0-18 month process and when should they use the NCOALink 0-48 month process? The answer boils down to price and return on investment. I-Centric recommends the NCOALink 0-18 month process be used with every merge/purge.
Furthermore, a house file should receive regular NCOALink 0-18 month processing.
The NCOALink 0-48 month process does, however, have its place. I-Centric recommends running an initial house file build through the NCOALink 0-48 month process and then running your house file through again one time in each subsequent year. This hybrid COA processing strategy accomplishes two goals. It keeps COA processing charges down to a minimum and maximizes address hygiene quality.
If done regularly, the NCOALink 0-18 month process can afford the same hygiene results as the NCOALink 0-48 month process and improve the accuracy of your customer information at a significantly economical price.