Direct Mail Services – National Change of Address

Mathematically speaking, National Change of Address (NCOA) is one of the most valuable services any Direct Mail Services company can offer you. With over 17% of the population moving per year many of today’s businesses are using mailing lists that are from 17-34% useless to begin with.

Most people send direct mail using Presorted Standard postage in order to save large sums of money in postage. The backside of this is that any pieces mailed to someone that has moved are thrown away by the US Postal Service.  This is because “Presorted Standard” (old 3rd class) doesn’t include address forwarding the same way 1st-Class does.

So, if you don’t get back the return-mail pieces with yellow stickers like you do with 1st-Class Postage, your mailing list begins to expire over time.  But 1st-Class costs 50% more to send.

So if your boss says they want a better response from their direct mail, tell them NCOA can help you find where all your people have moved.  That is what NCOA is afterall. It is the national Postal registry of every change of address database of every form submitted by moving people.  Your database is compared to this database and your movers are identified, flagged and updated.

On average, even a “clean” mailing list has 3-10% moves.  That is 3-10% of your print costs, your mailing costs and your postage costs being thrown away.  At CSG Direct we let you know where your people have moved BEFORE your mailing goes out.

We are a USPS NCOA Link Limited Service Licensee and have been doing NCOA for about 5 years now.

We got into NCOA because it helped our clients achieve greater marketing results. The US Postal Service has seen great results and is making the service mandatory within 95 days of mailing. They spend too much time and money trying to find people for your .44 cents so they are making cleaner lists a requirement.

From me to you, behind the scenes a technology revolution is happening at the US Postal Service.  Make sure you are working with a vendor that knows what’s going on. There is lots to be gained when working with a Direct Mail Company ~vs~ a printer “that does mail too”.

Casino NCOA is now Mandatory

National Change of Address is now mandatory.

Something VERY IMPORTANT to consider is that almost every mailshop in the country SENDS YOUR DATABASE OUT to have NCOA done. Yes, your mailshop does too.  In my neck of the gaming world this throws up huge red flags. A big no no.

Currently, CSG Direct is the only mailshop in the state of Nevada directly licensed by the USPS as an NCOALink Limited Service Provider.  [Link]  We have been providing this service for casinos for many years and have perfected the process to make your job of cleaning up your in-house database easier.

Of course, we specialize in database marketing and gaming.

We’ve worked closely with Oasis Systems and others to help you find ways to upload your data back into your master database and save yourself weeks of data entry.

NCOALink Initiatives are Working

We are really starting to see the difference the NCOALink initiative was intended for. Each year we have seen 17-20% of the population move. Over 40% change their address annually. In the past we have dealt with returned mail and undeliverable piece percentages as high as 8-12+%. Because of this CSG Direct became a direct NCOALink limited service licensee years ago. This helped, but not as much as the USPS requiring NCOA services as of November of 2008.  Now people are taking it more seriously.

These high return rates are dropping dramatically with the new NCOA initiatives.

The US Postal Service says that Almost five out of every 100 mailpieces are UAA. When you look at UAA mail by reason, approximately 75 percent is caused by people moving. In addition, when you look at UAA mail by class, Standard Mail accounts for almost 63 percent of all UAA mail volume.”

So according to them you should be seeing an average of 5% undeliverable mailpieces.

This is the main reason why the USPS has pressed the NCOA initiatives and why we became the only NCOALink licensee in the state of Nevada.

The USPS delivered 202.7 BILLION pieces of mail in 2008. So just 5% of that is 10 billion pieces of undeliverable mail bouncing around in the system. They needed a way to eliminate that waste and the NCOA process is doing just that.  We are now seeing closer to 1% (or less) of all mailings being undeliverable with the NCOA process fully in place.  However, it is only required currently every 90 days and as we approach the 90 day cycle the mailings do tend to have higher returns.  Monthly or every-job requirements are bound to follow. An example of this requirement is the CASS process that was the predecessor of NCOALink.

In short, it will only get better, but it is only as good as the people that fill out the change of address forms.

Cup-more-than-half-full: At least with direct mail you know EXACTLY how many people did not get your message. With every other medium you will never know.  If I run a TV campaign I HOPE everyone sees it, I KNOW they don’t all see it, but I will never KNOW how many did.  Same with radio, print, billboards, E-mail, newspapers, etc.

Direct mail is responsible and accountable marketing. :)

Get More Information on NCOALink here at CSG Direct, Inc

Excel is NOT a Database Marketing Program

As a mathematical mind I would normally praise Microsoft’s signature product and how it has revolutionized so many industries. I myself use it on a daily basis and I have written several programs around it.  I feel right at home using it. But it’s not how I use it that has me concerned.

Excel has ruined more mailings than anything else in our industry!!!

Besides the fact that Microsoft registers this program as the default for almost every available type of file you have, Excel also figures it knows your database better than you.

Excel is NOT a database program! However, it has found its way into the database world and destroys projects daily across our country, and probably the world.
Exell sort option

First of all Excel does not hold record integrity. You are able to sort single columns and immediately scramble your database. It is common for a customer to sort the [Last name] field prior to giving us the data. They do this to see if they are in the database.  But then I end up getting a piece of mail saying Michael Smith instead of Michael Hemphill.

Secondly, it interprets your zip-codes as math. 95841-2205 = 93636 right?  wrong!
Excel is meant for Math, it is after all a spreadsheet program.

Don’t get burned by Excel by managing mailing lists with it. Consider yourself warned.

So much Direct Mail Information to Cover

I really should have started this a year ago. So much has been happening that is HUGE.
I will cover as much of it as I can without sounding like I am talking about the past all of the time.  Here is a small list of stuff we’ve been powering through:

URGENT POSTAL ANNOUNCEMENT – Postage Rates 2010

USPS NCOA LetterWe just received final written confirmation from the US Postal Service that any mailing that has not had addresses move-updated will be charged a $0.07 per piece more.

Scan of letter here

The Deadline is January 4th, 2010.

Move Updating is the process of comparing your database to all the change-of-address forms on file with the US Postal Service.  This is done electronically by CSG Direct during the mailing process. However, we are not able to process it for you if you have not submitted the required PAF form to us.

We help our customers earn discounts all the way from .44 each down to .067 per piece. All Direct Mailers are now required to Move-Update their mailing list within 95 days of mailing to get these discounts.  We can help you with that process!

We’ve been an National Change of Address vendor for over 5 years now. These requirements have been coming for a long time now and they are finally upon us.

From the text of the letter: “On January 4th, 2010, we will treat both First-Class and Standard Mail to the same assessment for non-compliance. Both classes will be assessed a $0.07 per piece additional charge on pieces determined at acceptance to have an error rate above a 30% tolerance level, based on sampling.”

More NCOA information
even more NCOA information

NCOA Quote

NCOA – National Change of Address Forms

NCOAThe US Postal Service has not officially locked down penalties for not processing NCOA yet, but we all know it’s coming any day now.  The original deadline was May 11, 2008. We have been an NCOA Licensee since 2005 so we were way ahead of the curve.

There is a new US Postal Service PAF Form now that allows for direct data entry into the form so handwritten errors are gone.

Everybody needs to fill out this new PAF FORM so we have it on file for the US Postal Service; it is good for 1 year.

National Change of Address (NCOA) has been a huge bump in response and accuracy with out customers direct marketing. We reduce the number of pieces you need to send to get the same results. That pleases the budget and everyone involved.

In the past 17% of your database would expire per year as your customers moved. Keeping up on customers moving was extemely expensive or just plain impossible. Now this new service keeps you database accurate and helps you market smart.  It truly is the best service the US Postal Service has created in decades.

Let us show you all the benefits of a CSG-cleaned database by getting a direct mail quote from us.