By: Gary A Seitz
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FACTORS THAT IMPACT ADDRESS QUALITY You know that the goal is to reduce UAA mail, so what factors should you focus on? By Gary A. Seitz
ast September, we published an article with an in-depth look at Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail, where it comes from, and how to fix it. After the article had been published, we received an interesting follow-up question: What factors impact address quality? There are two answers to this question: factors in the collection of address data at the front end, and factors that affect the addresses at the time of your mailing (at the back end). We’ll take a brief look at both. COLLECTION OF ADDRESSES THAT IMPACT QUALITY Each year, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) collects, compiles, and publishes its Statistical Fact Book. It’s a definitive source of benchmarks for datadriven marketing.
MARCH-APRIL 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com
The report indicates that nearly 75% of businesses believe inaccurate data prevents them from finding new customers, increasing sales, and providing good customer service. It also leads to a poor decision-making process and costs millions in wasted marketing expenses. On average, US organizations believe 25% to 33% of their data is inaccurate. Despite advances in automation, data is still manually typed into computers, user interfaces, and web applications every day. Sometimes it’s entered internally by sales or customer service, and other times it comes directly from your customer. Whatever the case, these inaccuracies are from people who simply make a mistake — they mistype or misspell. When on the phone, these errors may even come from a misunderstanding of key words (do they live on
Arbor or Harbor; N. Field Rd. or Northfield Rd.). Other times, transposed characters and digits (especially in a house number or ZIP Code) can be entered incorrectly — something is left out, like a number or address component, or they enter the right value, but just in the wrong space. Some data entry may not always be a mistake. How often do people give incomplete or inaccurate information to safeguard their privacy, or simply to get something free (like your latest whitepaper)? You’d be surprised how often that theme park character from Orlando appears in web-based requests and forms. If a field is missing, the data is forgotten or skipped (like an apartment number), or an alternate field is used — an extra name in the address field, a phone number in the company field, and so on. Whether