How to solve deliverability issues in direct mail records

I’ve recently been getting questions from many direct mail marketers all wanting to know the same thing: What should I do about my undeliverable records? Typically 2% to 4% of records within input files for direct mail campaigns have deliverability issues. While these percents may seem low, they could equate to millions of dollars annually for some companies.

What is the best course of action for the highest ROI?

There are a number of services providers that have proprietary processes to correct approximately 20% to 50% of records that are not +4 coded or have a missing/invalid secondary (apartment) number. However, even after this hygiene processing, there will most likely still be 1% to 3% of records with deliverability issues. Now the questions become: Should all of these be mailed? Should none of these be mailed? What is the best course of action for the highest ROI?

Even though a record has deliverability issues, it doesn’t mean it won’t get delivered. Here are two examples:

Jane Jetson
124 Main St
Saint Cloud, MN  56301

Jane’s address is not +4 coded because 124 Main St is not a valid delivery point. However, 123 Main St. is valid and is, in fact, where Jane Jetson actually lives. Because of this, there is a strong likelihood this mail piece will be delivered.

Fred Flintstone
456 Oak River Run Apt C3
Saint Cloud MN  56301

Fred’s deliverability issue is an invalid apartment number.  Instead of C3 it is 3C. In this case, there is also a very strong likelihood this mail piece will be delivered.

The goal for marketers is to identify and drop records with deliverability issues performing below breakeven to ensure they only mail to the most effective set of records. Over the past year I’ve worked with a top 200, top 100 and a top 50 retailer whose breakeven deliverability analysis saved them each between $900,000 and $1.7M annually.

How would it affect your budget if you had similar results? If direct mail is a critical part of your marketing ecosystem today, read more about breakeven deliverability analysis.