Postal Changes Take Shape
4. Target your mailings as never before. Your current subscribers, members and customers already have provided you with a way to mail in a more targeted fashion. Profiling and modeling your customers through demographics create a powerful tool. Measure your responses to glean data on the lists that have worked and the geographic areas that have responded.
With higher per-piece costs on the horizon, you have a strong incentive to take advantage of the numerous demographic criteria and data overlays that are available to you. The more narrowly you concentrate your list selections, the better you can shape a message in your direct mail that speaks directly and effectively to your audience, thus improving your response rates.
5. If you don’t do it already, run NCOA data against your housefile at least once every three months, as it soon will be either required or recommended by the USPS (as noted earlier). Given that one of every seven Americans changes his or her address in a given year—approximately 5 million quarterly, according to the USPS—this recommendation reflects the reality of keeping up with the relocation habits of American consumers. While this service attaches an up-front cost to your mailing budget, it converts over time into savings as your mailings hit their mark more regularly. There also are various proprietary change-of-address products available that can capture additional updated address data for those consumers who haven’t notified the USPS of a move.
6. When you do run the NCOA file, make sure you request a receipt of the address changes so that you can use them to update your files. Not every mailer remembers to do this, even though it is an important practice that ultimately helps you to qualify more mail pieces for lower processing rates.
7. If your customer file’s concentration includes areas outside of metropolitan areas, ask your vendor to run it against the LACS database. This service converts rural routes into street addresses, which inevitably will code against the new CASS changes.