As the May 14 postal rate increase draws closer, it is essential for companies to understand the complexities of those changes. That means mailers need to get in the habit of keeping their databases extra clean, says Arnie Cohen, senior manager of product logistics for Carlsbad, CA-based marketer/mail house Modern Postcard.
As postage costs go up, it is critical that mail is only sent to fully deliverable addresses, says Cohen, adding that keeping databases updated and accurate requires a constant commitment to address quality. Getting rid of those undeliverable and outdated addresses will pay off over and over again with each mailing, Cohen says.
“If you depend on direct mail to get you a lot of business, you need to pay attention to how good your lists are,” Cohen says. “It takes a commitment that most companies do not pay attention to.”
Cohen says the best way to start is to get the customer information right the first time. Often a number of different people are inputting the customer data, and the contact center supervisor needs to make sure it is done consistently, that there are no typos, and that the correct fields are filled out.
Deliver point validation (DPV) tools are available to cross-check inputted data against the U.S. Postal Service’s database to make sure a name or an address actually exists, or if a suite or apartment number is missing. Cohen says this should be used at the time of data entry, and can be done with either a Web-based program or software purchased from a vendor and uploaded to a computer.
This is also important, because in August the USPS will mandate the use of DPV tools by all mailers that want to qualify for any presort discount.