With NCOA, It’s OK To Procrastinate

When do you run your mailing list against the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) file? You may be doing it too soon.

The USPS estimates that on average, 1.2% of all addresses change within two months. So Jim Leone, vice president of business and product development for mailer IWOC Direct, recommends you run your files against NCOA as close to the mailing’s point of entry as possible. The later in the production cycle, the better the results.

Instead of doing it in the first 15-60 days of the marketing initiative, Leone says you should run NCOA in the pre-production phase at the latest possible time before the first drop. Then for each drop, run NCOA again to coincide with the drop dates.

Speaking last month at DM Days in New York, Leone says his company’s multi-drop mailings have had a range as broad as .5% to 7% of addresses changing from start to finish.

The example he used was a mailer who had drops during an eight-week period. The week one drop resulted in 1.2% of the pieces being returned due to bad addresses, while week eight had 3% of the mailing returned.

“And this particular client was doing aggressive list hygiene as a part of its mailing process already,” Leone says.

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