Monday, October 7, 2013

Are you getting the best postage rates?



The best postage rates - Automation and Presort - for large volume mailings require certification that your mailing list has been matched against NCOA (National Change of Address) within 95 days of mailing.  If you do not have this certification, the only way you will still get the best postage rates is to have "Or Current Resident" below the person's name.

What is NCOA ?   When people move, they fill out (or should anyway) a Change of Address (COA) form for the Post Office so that their 1st Class mail gets forwarded to the new address. Your mailing list is matched against the Change of Address (COA) records that will indicate COA orders sent to the U.S. Postal Service by individuals, families, and businesses.   Luckily, most  lettershops run mailing lists through a NCOA process prior to mailing, but not all do - this is something you should verify with your lettershop.

Why does the Post Office require NCOA matching?  According to their statistics, 45 million people move every year.  No matter how often a mailing list is updated, there will always be a certain percentage of your mailing that reaches households where people have moved.  Plain and simple - delivering mail to addresses where people have moved costs the Post Office money.  And, ultimately, it costs you a lot of money as well - producing a mail piece, paying for printing and postage for something that might not ever be delivered if the person who is on the address label have moved.  Best case is that if mailed 1st class, the mail will be forwarded.  But, is it best for you to have mail forwarded to someone that may have moved to a whole new area?  Or is it best for your mail piece to get to the people who are currently living at the address. 

If you are mailing something that is subscription or member based, it would be best to have the mail follow the person who moved.  But, the majority of mailings are intended to reach a base of people living within a geographic area and even if the person whose name is on the mail piece moved, it would be better for the mail piece to stay at the address rather than being undelivered or forwarded.

 Should "Or Current Resident" be on your address label?

Won't putting "Or Current Resident" make my mailing look like junk mail?  The only real answer to this is to test it.  In my opinion however, if your offer or message is relevant to a specific geographic area, it will rarely matter unless it is something formal like an invitation.

The question you should be asking yourself is..... is it more important for my mail piece to be delivered to a specific address that is in my geographic area - or is it more important that the mail piece follow the person regardless of where they live.

You can read more about NCOA and Move Update requirements at:  USPS - Guide to Move Update

DBS can help you mail smarter -- call us to see how we can help.