Give Undeliverable Mail a Fighting Chance
It’s no surprise that one of the goals of the postal rate increase is to reduce the amount of mail that does not have high enough address quality to reach its destination. But be that as it may, “People make the assumption that they have got good, clean, updated databases,” says Mary Ann Bennett, president and CEO of mailing consultancy The Bennett Group. “Clearly they don’t, or the post office would not be forcing these requirements on people in an effort to reduce their undeliverable-as-addressed mail,” she adds.
What mailers should be doing, according to Bennett, is evaluating their existing databases to determine their delivery point validation (DPV) scores. According to the USPS Web site, the DPV process uses commercial address-matching software to compare the information that’s included on the mail piece with the ZIP+4 code database and to determine whether it exists and is within the USPS’ realm of service.
If a marketer has a large number of addresses that don’t meet these requirements, there’s still hope. For a drop of a 100,000 mail pieces, for example, “You could take [the] 95,000 that [can be] ZIP+4 encoded and mail them Standard class. The other 5,000, can [be] mail[ed] First Class to find out what happened to those addresses,” she says. A mailer need not remove these addresses from the database, at least until the reason for the drop-off is established. “The quality of your addresses are becoming much more important and they have the opportunity to save you much more money today than what they did before,” Bennett affirms. “Don’t keep an address in there just for the sake of having a higher count. Mail it First Class … [with] Standard class, it’s going right to a dumpster.”