Without clean data, your marketing campaigns will not reach their full potential. And while many marketers believe that running their file through an address hygiene process equals a clean file, this is simply not true. Address hygiene will only tell you that the address is valid. There are a few additional steps marketers can take to improve their direct mail file before the next campaign drop.
A lot has been written and said about the positive effects of address hygiene processing for direct mail and the significant ROI it provides as it relates to wasted postage and printing. In this two part series, I will share my insights from the past 20 years of managing data processing for Yes Lifecycle Marketing on how to keep your data relevant and market-ready for your mailing strategy.
Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.
So why is address hygiene such an incomplete solution for cleansing a mail file? The answer is pretty simple. Outside of National Change of Address (NCOA), which utilizes a person’s name or a company name, all address hygiene is telling you is whether an address is deliverable, it doesn’t flag for deceased individuals and it doesn’t validate that the person associated to the address on a record is actually still at that address.
One process to cleanse a mail file is deceased flagging. Deceased flagging is exactly what the name implies – flagging for customers that have passed away. This is an individual level match to a deceased file. Typical deceased files are sourced from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and other proprietary sources. In the context of this discussion, address hygiene can tell us that we have a deliverable address, but when we layer on the deceased flag, we can potentially identify 1% or more records that have a deceased individual. Depending on the size of a mail file this could result in huge cost savings.
Another process is name validation. As mentioned above, address hygiene really only tells you if an address is deliverable. Outside of NCOA, name validation doesn’t take the extra step to validate the name associated with the address is correct. Name validation is very important for a successful direct mail campaign, especially if the customer records you are mailing are older than 24 months. The process is pretty straightforward. The full record (name and address) is matched to a national consumer reference file. If the name and address match then that is considered a validation. Matching can also include a household level match (surname and address) as a validation.
It’s important to note that although most consumer files have great coverage, they do not cover all of the people who live in the US: the typical match rate runs anywhere from 75% to 95%. You should set aside records that are not validated for analysis and should not drop them from the mailing automatically for analysis
By Eric Niebergall
Article from: http://www.yeslifecyclemarketing.com