Technology Roundup: List Hygiene Solutions
Mail that is undeliverable as addressed, called UAA, amounts to close to 6 billion pieces of mail annually that have to be redirected, either to the correct address, back to the mailer or into a recycling bin. The U.S. Postal Service estimates that it spends in excess of $1.9 billion annually to process mail that is incorrectly addressed.
To stem some of the blood loss, the USPS put mailers on notice in 2003: Those companies claiming automation or presort rates on First Class mail are required to use an approved address change correction toolsuch as Move Update or NCOAno earlier than 180 days prior to their mail drop date to ensure more deliverable mail; if they do not, their sizeable discounts will be reclaimed by the post office. Ouch!
Given the current problems the USPS is facing, notably the pending $3.1 billion escrow payment to the Civil Service Retirement System, it cannot afford to be lax about holding the line on UAA. And, really, neither can mailers. If the average list is 3 percent undeliverable, as estimated by the USPS, the loss of postage, campaign materials and response adds up to at least several thousands of dollars, says software firm Intelligent Search Technology. While you may not be able to achieve 100 percent deliverability, a good address correction tool can help you save thousands of wasted dollars annually.
The following sampling of list cleaning tools includes off-the-shelf, custom and ASP software models; you'll also find two online, pay-as-you-go cleaning services.
From DataTech SmartSoft, this CASS-certified software tool corrects, parses and standardizes codeable address records, in addition to appending carrier route, ZIP+4, line of travel details and delivery point barcode information. It queries the USPS National Database to provide the most current address ranges and perform single address look-ups. The software offers a Windows-based interface, and a variety of connection options are available for users who want to integrate the software into proprietary or third-party applications.
Contact: (888) 227-7221; www.smartsoftusa.com.
Address Doctor Enterprise
Address Doctor's Web services tool is most accessible, providing address correction support around the clock. The online tool transliterates address information, parses data into the right fields, and corrects address elements that are wrong or missing. Supported by postal data from 240 countries, this application handles 40 different character sets and all international address formats. Three Web usage scenarios are available: Real time, which is suited for integration into a Web site or CRM/ERM application; Batch, which processes several hundred thousand records per hour; and Fast-Completion, which is suited for call center data entry support.
Contact: www.address doctor.com.
CASS- and PAVE-certified, AlphaMailer from Envelope Manager Software allows users to correct address records via an Internet or modem connection to the USPS Address Matching System for processing of up to 2,500 records per minute. The Windows-based software features built-in access to move updating information via the Internet, too. Users can presort First Class and Standard mail automation letters, flats and postcards; line of travel and carrier route information can be appended for deeper sortation levels. It also offers a configurable address database for custom use.
Contact: (800) 576-3279, ext. 140; www.envelopemanager.com.
Bulk Mailer 5
A full-feature mailing list management application, Satori Software's Bulk Mailer 5 offers a three-pronged address quality tool: address correction, Move Update compliance and duplicate record elimination. Addresses are standardized, enhanced with ZIP+4 and other missing data elements, and CASS certified. Mailers can add a delivery point validation tool that verifies whether addresses meet the USPS' requirement for delivery. An Internet interface provides access to USPS FASTForward data for move updates. In addition, users can employ multiple search methods to identify and eliminate dupes.
Contact: (800) 553-6477; www.sartorisoftware.com.
Intelligent Search Technology's CorrectAddress product standardizes, parses, fixes and completes inaccurate address records in both real time and batch mode. It appends ZIP+4, line of travel, carrier route sort and delivery point barcode information. The CASS-certified software also is able to recognize the addresses of major corporations for fast processing. Users may purchase a geocoding add-on tool for added functionality. A multi-platform solution, the software can be used as a stand-alone product, or the address verification and standardization functions can be integrated into enterprise applications. Users also can automate the software to run daily or weekly batch jobs.
Contact: (800) 287-0412; www.intelligentsearch.com.
Two modules in the dfPower Studio software solution from DataFlux allow users to perform list hygiene. dfPower Verify offers address standardization, completion and verification functionality. dfPower Quality takes database cleansing one step further with matching technology, transformation routines and identification logic to help identify and eliminate duplicate records, as well as correct non-standard data representations, indeterminate data types, etc. Other dfPower Studio modules allow users to integrate and manage data enterprise-wide. And, of course, this application integrates seamlessly with other DataFlux data management tools.
Contact: (877) 846-3589; www.dataflux.com.
Part of FirstLogic's Information Quality Suite of products, IQ8 works with both customer and operational data. On the customer side, the tool can identify, standardize and correct U.S. addresses and international data for more than 190 countries. It reads and writes Unicode data to standardize addresses in Kanji/Katakana. Free-form text and data elements can be parsed into the correct, standardized fields. In addition, users can select data enhancement options such as geocoding and move updating to ensure accurate,
deliverable customer address records.
Contact: (888) 215-6442; www.firstlogic.com.
Another Web-based service, Mailnet Service's Listcleanup.com provides users with as much or as little address cleansing as desired. Mailers can select from a range of services, including CASS, CASS with Delivery Point Validation (DPV), Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS), geocoding, NCOALink, Delivery Sequence File (DSF) processing and more. Popular services are bundled together for quick-selection options; bundled services include running files against the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference suppression file. All NCOALink processing services include address standardization before records are processed against the USPS NCOA database.
Contact: (866) 363-0006; www.listcleanup.com.
Mail Manager 2010
BCC Software's full-feature mailing list management solution offers mailers myriad address correction functionality. Mail Manager 2010 enables mailers to encode ZIP+4 and line of travel data at up to millions of records per hour. Working off a master U.S. address database, the tool auto-populates records with city and state data when the ZIP code is entered (or vice-versa), and performs automatic updates of misspelled or incorrect city or street names during ZIP+4 coding. Depending on users' needs, the address standardization feature can be turned off. Six bi-monthly updates can be downloaded from the Internet or from CDs. You can perform Move Update processing, such as NCOA, FASTForward, LACS and DSF, through BCC Data Service, or opt for your own FASTForward license and access to real-time move data. Other Mail Manager 2010 features include a de-duping tool, the ability to create custom list layouts or select from one of 10 standard templates, and multi-threaded background processing that allows users to run multiple tasks at one time.
Contact: (800) 453-3130; www.bccsoftware.com.
MAILERS + 4
This Windows-based postal automation software from Melissa Data verifies and standardizes address records, adds ZIP+4 codes, identifies and eliminates duplicate records, performs postal presorting, and prints postal forms for discounts. With the SmartMover add-on tool, users can link to Move Update services to match against the USPS NCOA database. The DPV add-on tool assesses each record's deliverability performance by verifying each address element for accuracy. And the GeoCoder tool offers latitude and longitude coordinates, in addition to Census tract and block numbers at the ZIP+4 level, for enhanced deliverability.
Contact: (800) 635-5477; www.melissadata.com.
Service bureau Anchor Computer has packaged its data processing solutions into a software product called MarketGenius. Features include AddressForward, which allows users to link to the FASTForward database for address updating; Address-Verifier, real time updating and verification of address information; MaxDup, which identifies and eliminates dupes; DPV, to verify the deliverability of each address record; MaxCoder, which provides CASS certification of ZIP+4 coded records; ZIP+4 Online, which analyzes and corrects address elements based on USPS data; and a handful of additional data layout, analysis and consolidation tools.
Contact: (240) 631-2100; www.anchorcomputersoftware.com.
A front-end address verification tool, Quick Address Pro from QAS is designed to speed the collection of complete, accurate addresses during customer interactions. The software uses the USPS address database and fuzzy matching to look up an address with only the ZIP code, first few letters of the street name and a house or apartment number; prompts and picklists allow the call center representative or other user to identify the correct address information. The software provides only standardized addresses, but the record layout and format can be customized by the mailer. A multi-platform tool, QuickAddress Pro can be integrated with custom-built databases or CRM systems. In addition, mailers can purchase support for international
addresses; a Web version offers online merchants the ability to verify addresses for Web transactions, while a Batch version provides address correction services for legacy data.
Contact: (888) 727-8330; www.qas.com.
Group 1 Software's Universal Coder software product validates, corrects, standardizes and enhances address records for more than 220 countries and dependencies. A multi-platform solution, Universal Coder can be integrated into Web-based, client/server applications or Web services environments. Address information can be input randomly, and the tool will determine the appropriate country, record format and necessary address information. It normalizes and determines the proper case for address elements, regardless of a database match. A wide range of multinational and accen-ted characters can be processed. It also will parse, standardize, validate and match address data to conventional postal formats. Additional postal information can be appended for improved delivery, including delivery point barcodes and carrier route codes for U.S. mailings and delivery installation codes for Canadian mailings. Plus, global address data processing can be handled in a single pass.
Contact: (800) 368-5806; www.g1.com.