Perhaps the most indispensable process of updating addresses is NCOALink®. Best reserved for address maintenance and capturing recent moves, NCOALink® processing is an excellent way of improving the deliverability of direct mail. Since all updated addresses found from this process are returned in USPS Standardized format, they immediately qualify for postal discounts.
NCOALink® also provides the date of the move that is associated with an individual, family or business and plays a critical role in the process that should be considered when updating your alumni database. The type of move is also an important factor before making any permanent changes on your system that could send you down the wrong path towards reaching your constituents. And finally, the NCOA match return codes and DPV® footnotes that are often overlooked provide detailed reasons on specific records that miss the mark.
The experience that BCI has gained from processing NCOA for clients over the past 20 years can help you avoid many of the most common errors, and enhance your upload process with new logic that assures you are not making mistakes that overwrite accurate address data with older, misdirected information. What could be worse than replacing current addresses you’ve obtained on your own with new NCOA addresses that are wrong. It happens!
Astute data managers are well aware of the pitfalls and realize the limitations of NCOA. Systematic date stamping of new address data is one of the surest ways to avoid the risk of wiping out existing data that’s hard to come by and perhaps impossible to replace.