The most important part of every advertising campaign is being able to reach its intended audience. For direct marketers, finding the right viewer becomes even more important as each impression has a postage fee. For marketers to be sure their advertising dollars are landing in the right mail boxes, they must stay current on National Change of Address (NCOA).
Why is NCOA important?
Essentially, the NCOA allows mail items to be forwarded to a person or company’s new address. This database allows people to inform the post office of their new location and ensures that all mail sent to their previous address will find its intended recipient.
Though this system is quite efficient, there are a few setbacks. The NCOA requires precise information from multiple sources and cannot be completely accurate due to the fact that not all people or businesses file for a change of address. Whether a business is no longer operating or crucial information was not filed; certain potential customers end up not seeing their intended message, because the wrong information was on file.
Direct mailer marketers must stay on top of these changes by following the Post Office’s NCOA updates. The post office is only allowed to update address changes for a period of 48 months. After that, it is the direct mailer’s responsibility to make sure their list is up to date.
Closely following NCOA allows direct marketers to lower advertising budgets while also ensuring that the right messages are reaching the right people.
How having the right information can see a bigger return on investment.
An accurate NCOA database requires customers to enter the right information, otherwise, the mail becomes undeliverable. Undeliverable mail costs the USPS, on average, 1.5 billion dollars a year. In order to curb this expense, the USPS will now only provide presorted discounts to direct marketers that update their mailing list every 95 days.
Just as it is important for mail service providers to keep updating their list, it is equally as important for list owners to ensure that their databases are current with correct addresses. NCOA is a great start, but it is imperative that customers update their mailing list, as well.