In the 1990s, my favorite speaker at the National Postal Forum (NPF) was Paul Green. In addition to being a fellow Irish-American from Greater Boston, Paul shared my passion for the mailing industry. Most of all, Paul loved to talk about addresses – and their critical role in the print-mail process. No matter how well-designed, beautifully printed or efficiently created, unless a mailpiece gets delivered to the right recipient, it’s a waste of money.
Paul’s experience with addressing started much earlier. He worked for an insurance company that was one of the first adopters in using software update addresses. The goal was to review the computer database and validate that addresses were compliant with United States Postal Service (USPS) standards. Paul was so essential to the success of the project, the software company hired him.
At the NPF, Paul spoke about how to implement a good address hygiene program and reduce returned mail. He supplemented the numbers, regulations and acronyms with a style that approached evangelicalism. In fact, he started each class with, “In the beginning (pause), was the address.”
Paul may be retired, but his message remains valid. Having the correct mailing address is the keystone to a successful print-mail operation. And this is true whether we’re discussing transactional mail, advertising mail or parcels. To effectively communicate with your customers, you must have a professional address management program.
An effective address management program isn’t an isolated occurrence. Instead, it involves deploying tools and getting feedback throughout the customer communication process. The goal is to keep the customer interaction loop intact and continuous.
Over a series of blog posts, we’re going to discuss the different elements, tools and processes that help a company produce a document with the correct address – that the document goes into the correct envelope – and the mailpiece is delivered by the USPS at the correct time. Topics we’ll cover include:
- Collecting and updating addresses
- Ensuring the right address is printed with the right content
- Validating that the right address is on the envelope
- Tracking timely delivery to the right address
- Processing returned mailpieces
- Top 10 risks associated with poor address management
And it will begin….with the address.