Purchased Mailing Lists – Nobody is Perfect

When you purchase mailing lists for clients, as we frequently do, please be sure to educate your clients regarding deliverability.  No purchased mailing list is 100% guaranteed so please be sure this is not their expectation before they place an order for a list.  The best deliverability rate we have seen boasted by the best list compilers is 95%.  If you explain this to your customer up front, they may have a better understanding of what they are buying and will not be caught off guard when they receive some returns.

A customer may see a tray of returns and think it looks like a huge number, but not realize that  tray they are looking at is actually only 1% of the job.  For example, if we mail 30,000 pieces, a low 1% return rate would be 300 returns.  We could have as many as 5%, or 1,500 returns, and still be within the list source’s deliverability claim, although this is a large amount.  We would imagine that many clients may feel that if they pay for a record, they expect it to be delivered every single time.  Any returns may seem like too many to them, and we want to run all of the processes on the data we can to drop the number.  Most consumer databases are rebuilt from scratch every two months, and processed through NCOA, the deceased file, and do-not-mail lists monthly. Some people move and don’t give forwarding addresses to USPS.  Running Address Resolution Service may help correct a small number of them.  But even all of these processes will not eliminate undeliverable mail pieces.

By making sure your client is aware of this up front, you may avoid any back-end frustrations and misunderstandings.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Nancy Arter
    December 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I agree. No source of data is 100% perfect –no matter how hard the data compiler tries. Good advice!

  2. Bryan Ruffin (@Bryankr)
    December 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you, so much for this article! So often, when delivering these at my office, we will get complaints from the customer that we are not delivering all of the mailers they sent. We can only do so much. If the house has been vacated since the list was made, our hands are tied.