How often should you NCOA your file?

The Post Office requires a list to be NCOA’d within 95 days of the date of the mailing. Sounds simple enough; but is this timeframe sufficient for your list? That is a hard question to answer since it really depends on the demographics of your specific list.

The USPS used to quote a consumer “move” rate of 1.5% per month. I have always cautioned my clients to take that figure with a grain of salt, because there are different move rates for different segments of society. That statistic was an average of the country at all economic levels. But most lists – yours included – are NOT representative of the “average”.

Different segments of the population move at different frequencies. Young people, students, renters, etc. are apt to move more frequently than homeowners or affluent families. Also, changing economic conditions can have an effect on the move rate of different segments of society.

In a “down” economy we see people in the more traditionally static segments of society moving more than expected. Whether it’s downsizing to save expenses or moving for new job opportunities: you have to accept that anyone on your list now has the potential to move.

So, YOUR “movers” rate depends on who makes up your list and in what percentages. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my typical client?
  • What is their age, income, family structure, etc?
  • Where are they in their lifecycle?

This type of introspection will help you determine what is happening with your list, and how often it needs to be NCOA’d.

The average cost to NCOA 25,000 records is $100.00. The average percentage of Undeliverable-As-Addressed (UAA) Standard Rate mail is 6.4%. What would it cost you in lost sales to have 640 UAA mailpieces thrown away? Don’t short-change your marketing efforts. Take an objective look at your customer base and NCOA it on a schedule that makes the most sense for YOUR list.