The Intelligent Mail barcode made its official debut last September, when the U.S. Postal Service announced it would start accepting mail bearing this unique tracking code. Also called the 4-State Customer barcode, or 4CB for short, this tool is a data-rich code that allows mailers to track the movement of mail at the individual piece level. And as of 2009, it will be required for all automation-class mail.
While the 4CB offers mailers unparalleled ability to track mail throughout the postal system, and thus provide the insight needed to optimize delivery, this device can be leveraged to assist mailers interested in improving their direct marketing operations in other areas. According to a whitepaper, The Era of Intelligent Mail: A New Barcode Transforms an Industry, written by David Lewis, president of mail tracking and deliverability solutions firm trackmymail.com, mailers might want to consider the 4CB for the following reasons:
Other Reason #1: It allows marketers to assign a permanent number to individual customers, using the code to track all communications with each customer. For example, a marketer would be able to “keep a record of what a customer was mailed, when they received it, if it got delivered, if it got forwarded or returned, and so on,” Lewis explains. Armed with this history, customer service staff would be better informed when handling customer inquiries and the sales team would be able to follow up at the appropriate times with leads.
Other Reason #2: It allows mailers who set up internal tracking systems the ability to locate mail pieces before they enter the mailstream or even when reply mail comes back out of the mailstream into back-end processing departments. This insight can help marketers mail smarter by identifying payments, renewals and other response to reduce unnecessary communication.
Other Reason #3: It allows mailers to more quickly identify mail that has been redirected, meaning forwarded to a new address or returned for various reasons. Thus, marketers can take immediate action to update their mailing list so that any database marketing efforts or mailing efforts are developed with the most recent customer information.