What should you do with records that are flagged as potentially undeliverable during the CASS Certification process or while being run through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database? It depends upon the type of error that CASS or NCOA identifies

Addresses with Questionable Delivery

CASS Rejects and NoPlus4 Records: If there’s a major problem with the records – there’s no street address or the zip code is in the wrong state – it should be removed from the mailing. However, if the zip code is in the right city but CASS couldn’t append the zip+4 code, don’t automatically drop the record; the USPS postmen and postwomen tend to be very knowledgeable about their areas and may well know where to deliver it. Look at the flags or footnotes CASS appended to your file and choose the records to drop based on the severity of the error CASS noted. You can also mail these records under a separate code in order to test the responsiveness to your particular appeal or offer.

Nixies: There are two types of nixies and they each should be dealt with separately.

    • An “NCOA nixie” is someone who filled out a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service but did not provide a forwarding address. You may be able to identify a forwarding address for some of these NCOA nixies through a Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) database, but those who do not come up should be dropped from your mailing as they will not be delivered.
    • A “potential nixie” is someone who resides on the NCOA database and during the matching process the match wasn’t exact enough to provide a new address but was close enough to consider they may have moved. The USPS footnotes these potential nixies so you can determine the circumstances that caused them to land in this category and you also may pick up some forwarding addresses through the PCOA process.

What to do with your remaining potential nixie addresses? In order to make a good business decision regarding whether to mail these names or not, you will need to test them. Mail them and track their responsiveness. Most of our clients have determined there is value to mailing these names, but only your results will tell you the best way to deal with potential nixies.

Feeling a bit confused about the many decisions that managing your mailing list requires? You are not alone! If you’d like to put our decades of data hygiene experience to work improving your direct mail’s ROI, please call John Bell at (310) 372-9010.


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