The Changing Mailing Landscape: 2007 Postal Rate Case

In our first article, we emphasized the value and importance of doing everything possible to reduce the impact of this postage increase on mailers. Chief among the strategies proposed were the benefits of co-mailing to improve postal qualification and reduce postage, the importance of address hygiene and the benefits received by +4 coding more records, and getting the mail piece to the right person at the correct address.

There is a wealth of advanced data management/integration solutions mailers should be using to reduce or eliminate unproductive duplicates being mailed.

For example, for every 1 million records mailed, if 1% duplicates are mailed, that is 10,000 duplicates, and if the advertising cost is $.50, that is $5,000 in wasted advertising.

Here are some capabilities a mailer should be looking for with their service provider in doing a merge/purge and identifying duplicates:

  • Full name and address matching vs. matchcode (components of the name and address are used to create a matchcode, which essentially becomes the matching key).
    • When matchcode matching is done, generally 1% to 3+% valid duplicates can be missed.
  • Cross-compare first, middle, and last names.
    • It is surprising how few duplicate identification processes can do this.
  • Identify duplicates in which the first digit of the last name is not the same.
    • Again, it is surprising how many duplicate identification processes require that the first digit of the last name be the same.
  • Identify duplicates in which the person is the same but with two different address forms.
  • Female married/maiden name.
  • Use customer data integration (CDI) persistent linkage to identify duplicates that name and address-based merge/purges will never identify.
    • The goal of this CDI linkage is to track a specific individual over time at their different addresses and their different names (if applicable).
    • CDI linkage services require specialized external data assets not available on almost all internal systems.
    • By integrating large amounts of data along with complex business rules and algorithms, accurate determinations can be made about whether or not the names and addresses from two different records are actually the same individual.
    • Using this linkage will allow mailers to identify individual-level duplicates in which the name could be different and the address could be very different – in different cities, counties or even states.
    • On average, an additional 1 to 2% additional duplicates can be identified, which, based on the example above, translates to a $5,000 to $10,000 in wasted advertising savings on the additional duplicates that are dropped.

Mike Yapuncich is vice president of Solutions Support for Schaumburg, IL-based Experian Marketing Services. He can be reached at

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