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By now, you have heard a lot about Informed Delivery. National Postal Forum solidified this as the “next big thing” for marketers and communicators of all types. And now, you can specify additional images and links for every mailpiece going to a household that has enabled Informed Delivery.
What does this mean for BCC Software users?
Mail.dat V17-2 contained the first actionable specification from the USPS, and you will see the new, extended abilities in a mid-month web update for all users with the Mail.dat option.
By clicking the “Informed Delivery” checkbox on the “Segment – Container” page of the Mail.dat wizard, you will activate the new Informed Delivery page in the wizard. This screen allows you to populate all the information you need to drive your Informed Delivery campaign.
The functions in Mail Manager reflect what the USPS is able to support today. A future element, called “Replacement Image Target URL,” will be available in a future update, when USPS supports use of that function.
Even better, there is no additional fee from the USPS to take advantage of Informed Delivery, so you can add value to your mailing campaigns without incurring extra postage or USPS associated costs.
If you have specific questions about how to start utilizing Informed Delivery, contact the USPS. For more information on how to use the features, or how to start using the service, refer to the USPS guide.
If you are a Mail Service Provider located near the northern U.S. border, or if you have customers that need to get mail into Canada, getting the correct list prepared and ensuring the mailpieces are received by all of the intended recipients can be challenging.
But soon, BCC Software’s Mail Manager will be able to help locate the 1.7 million Canadian moves per year. This means the mail you send will get to the right person at the right address.
In the next couple of months, BCC Software will be adding Canadian NCOA to the Data Marketing Services wizard so that you can utilize the feature within Mail Manager. Get your customer’s lists headed to Canada with complete, correct and current addresses before you spend valuable postage dollars.
Keep your eye on future eBulletins for more news and information about Canadian NCOA.
While thousands of American individuals and families move every day, only 60 percent of these moves are reported to the USPS. So, what about the other 40 percent? BCC Software’s Data Marketing Services Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) tool will be available through the Data Marketing Services Wizard on BCC Mail Manager later this summer. PCOA is an excellent tool for finding moves that never got filed with the USPS or that go beyond the 48-month USPS standard.
It works by capturing information about moves from multiple sources like magazine subscriptions and credit card companies. This data is then combined and compared to your list, ensuring you now have complete, correct and current addresses.
PCOA payment options include job-by-job invoice, prepaid credits, or a subscription service similar to the one available for NCOALink® processing. The service is based on the combined intelligence of multiple sources for the most accurate and precise results. For more information on this new feature, please call your sales rep at 800.337.0442 or email email@example.com for more information.
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Are your customers requesting presort services that you just can’t accommodate with your current BCC Software Mail Manager or Mail Manager LE subscription? For some operations, there is simply not enough demand for certain mail classes to justify purchasing the powerful sorting options for BCC Mail Manager.
To help you win more of these jobs and continue to grow your business, BCC Software offers presorting options through our Professional Services team for Bound Printed Matter, Parcel Select, Library Mail, Media Mail, and Customized Market Mail classes. Your business can deliver ‘one-off’ services for a nominal fee, making it affordable and fast with a 24-hour guaranteed turnaround time.
The process is as easy as completing and returning our Package Services Form, along with your list, to ProfessionalServices@bccsoftware.com. Once payment is received, BCC Software will process the presort, returning the list to you within a .zip file containing an updated copy of your BCC Mail Manager packaged list.
Our Professional Services Engineers are on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
If customers begin requesting these services more frequently, you can add any of these mail class options to your license at any time. With some of these options, the investment pays for itself in as few as four jobs. Contact your sales representative for more details.
Informed Delivery is a relatively new service from the USPS, which provides residents email notifications with scanned images of what they will be receiving in their mailbox that day.
Informed Delivery has the power to further enhance the influence of mail and the mail moment. There are currently about 3 million program subscribers.
Listen to “Lien In: The Power of Informed Delivery” to hear more about Informed Delivery first-hand from industry experts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I subscribe and start using Informed Delivery? Answer: According to the USPS Informed Delivery website, your ability to sign up for Informed Delivery is dependent on living at an eligible residential address and the ability to verify your identity. You will also need to create a personal usps.com account if you do not already have one. To sign up, follow these instructions:
- Go to informeddelivery.usps.com
- Click on “View My Mail”
- If you already have a personal usps.com account, sign in. If not, create an account.
- Once signed in, go to My Preferences. Under Account Management, you will see a box for Informed Delivery. Click “Manage Your Mail.” Please note: If you do not see Informed Delivery in My Preferences, it is likely that Informed Delivery is not available at your address. Please check if Informed Delivery has reached your area by using the ZIP Code lookup tool on the USPS website.
- Opt in to Informed Delivery by selecting the check box, and confirm your address
- Complete the identity verification process (if you have no already done so)
- Click the blue “Informed Delivery” button to continue to your dashboard
Question: What is the cost for Informed Delivery? Answer: Informed Delivery is free for USPS customers and carries no additional charge for Mail Service Providers (MSPs).
Question: How do I use it? Answer: You can view your mailpieces in a daily email sent to your address, your online dashboard at informeddelivery.usps.com where you can see that day plus the previous six days, or the USPS mobile app, available for both Apple and Android devices.
Question: What is the app called? Answer: The app is called “Informed” and it is available for download through both iTunes and Google Play.
Questions: Can the digital content be personalized? Answer: By default, images of the mailpieces are grayscale. However, colored images of mailpieces can be provided. Colored images will also show up at the top of the email for consumers. The USPS recommends bold, clear call-to-action statements for better response rates.
Question: When will Informed Delivery be available for Flats or Periodicals? Answer: Currently, the USPS does not image flats and periodicals. However, they do support representative images for both to be included in the Informed Delivery notifications.
Question: Is Informed Delivery available for businesses? Answer: Informed Delivery currently only provides residents their mail notifications, and is not available for B2B usage.
Question: When will Informed Delivery be available for P.O. boxes? Answer: The USPS is looking to expand Informed Delivery to P.O. Box customers in the future.
Question: How do I learn more about Informed Delivery? Answer: For more information, visit https://informeddelivery.usps.com.
The USPS is looking for feedback from consumers and MSPs alike. Please visit their website to provide feedback on this service and what you would like to see in the future.
Informed Delivery will be available through BCC Software's Mail Manager beginning mid-August. Get more details and to learn how you can utilize this tool here.
The USPS has recently clarified the meaning of Carrier Route R777, also known as a Phantom Route. This code is used to flag physical addresses that exist but are not eligible for delivery. As straightforward as this may seem, these results do not follow the traditional guidelines used to identify undeliverable addresses, causing some confusion.
With that said, let’s examine how undeliverable addresses are currently identified:
- BCC Software often recommends a combination that includes the Z4-Return Code, Z4-Delivery Point and Z4, DPV-Confirmation to easily identify bad records.
- Typically, any Z4-Return Code except 31, 32, 36, 37, 38 or 39, are undeliverable addresses.
- If the Delivery Point is empty or the DPV-Confirmation is set to N, it is likely undeliverable. It is worth noting that a RC=31 can get a DPV of N, meaning the address is in a valid range, but has not been assigned to a specific +4 or Delivery Point.
The difference with these Carrier Route R777 returns is that they populate the Z4-Return Code field with a 31, the DPV with a Y, and append a five-digit ZIP Code—contradictory to the idea that a DPV=Y will always receive a nine-digit ZIP Code. This is due to the way the records are marked in the CASS data.
Data Marketing Services users, please note: A Carrier Route of R777 may be returned from any process that includes CASS encoding. Knowing this, you may want to modify procedures for finding undeliverable addresses before and/or after processing.
The information needed to identify undeliverable addresses is located in an unusual place. The first indicator is the Z4, DPV-Footnote field, where the software will place an R7 – an indicator that the Postal Service does not deliver to that location. The second indicator is in the Carrier Route field, which will contain R777. These are both noticeable returns, making such addresses easy to find in your list.
Data Marketing Services users, please note: We recommend adding these fields to your template(s) for processing as well.
These records can be easily found through a Selectivity such as (Empty([DP])), which will find any record without a Delivery Point assigned. Another option would be to use the ZIP Code field, (Len(Raw([ZIPCODE])) < 9), to find any record with a ZIP Code shorter than nine digits. You can also find these records by using DPV Footnote includes R7 ([DPVFN] Includes “R7”) or Carrier Route equal to R777 ([CRRT] = “R777”).
Data Marketing Services users, please note: These suggested Selectivity’s would be beneficial to use when reviewing your DMS results.
As always, please contact Customer Support at 800-624-5234 or Data Marketing Services at 800-337-0372 with any questions or concerns.
By Matt Mahoney, Vice President of Sales at Racami
If you want your operation to survive the next five-plus years, then you need to pursue comprehensive operational automation. I’m talking about both the digital and physical work that you do to produce and deliver customer communications. As a service provider, your operation is striving to outpace competitors. As an in-plant, you’re finding ways to offer more value while simultaneously cutting costs. You have seen the decline of competitors and the outsourcing of jobs. You are facing the transition from supporting the reliability of one or two channels to competently handling the fluidity of omni-channel marketing. With all of this, you’re wondering how you can solidify your successful future in the marketplace.
The complexity of communications is growing, government regulations persist and technology is advancing, forcing you to address these issues to maintain viability. Automating the digital and physical work is now a necessary part of justifying the communication and achieving customer satisfaction. Print and mail used to be easier—now it’s a high-risk game of customer preferences where only the most capable operations are thriving.
If you’re a believer in this philosophy, then you’ve implemented automation to tie together the clusters of independent systems to process data, create communications, manage inventory, schedule and track production across facilities, push messages through multiple delivery channels, and create reports without human involvement. Whether you call it an ADF, ERP, MIS, a workflow engine, a process manager, a dashboard, or a CCM system, you’re employing better ways of doing things.
As vital as these advances are, automation can cause issues or fail you with little warning, causing an automation upset. Whether this is due to computer glitches, bad data, natural disasters, hackers, or a construction crew severing a data cable, it can wreak havoc on your ability to deliver. When this happens, you and your team must act.
That’s when you realize that these three things are very important to mastering your automated workflow
- You must monitor the workflow to identify problems when they occur
- You must provide people the ability to perform the work in the absence of the automated system
- You must have the proper redundancy (a.k.a. a backup system)
Your most common issue that requires staff involvement is identification of component failures. For example, someone running a printer or inserter finds a problem with the printed pages. That failure happened in the digital workflow, but was not caught until later in the process. Your team works on pinpointing the issue and that often involves rerunning the job and watching it go through each step. This can take longer than the production schedule allows and you miss the deadline. You need a better way and that’s where a workflow monitor adds value.
It’s one thing to automate the workflow, it’s another to monitor it. You want a system that watches over the automation and measures the health of the process. A good workflow monitor audits each step, making sure things are happening in the proper sequence, on schedule, and that each task is performed properly. Your staff uses a GUI or dashboard to perform triage and, when necessary, overrides the automation system when the workflow monitor reports abnormalities. Your IT professionals and others troubleshoot the problems while production progresses manually.
The workflow engine with workflow monitor are supplemented by the command-and-control dashboard. Both your staff, and customers do their jobs better when they have access to information about customer communications. They want to know more than “…was the job printed and mailed?” They want to know the content, timing, and delivery channel for the communications. They want to know where a communication is in its lifecycle. They want to manage production bottlenecks. They want to adjust consumer preferences. They want to know all sorts of things and affect the process at any stage where they are allowed to do so. The command-and-control dashboard serves this purpose.
Ultimately, the answer to mastering your automation is to blend computer based automation with human interaction. Most roles in an organization can be automated to some degree, but not entirely. It is the combination of a good workflow engine, workflow monitor, and command-and-control dashboard that keeps you in the race and ensures your future success.
In general, direct mail produces response rates that are much higher than email and other online advertising. If you make direct mail personalized, it can generate awareness and sales leads, drive traffic to web sites, improve cash flow, or increase donations. But it does cost more than its digital alternatives, and often the postage cost can be greater than the cost of the mail piece itself. That's why taking the necessary steps to not only create a quality mail piece but also to deliver it at the lowest possible cost can improve a marketing campaign’s return on investment and your growth and success as a trusted service provider.
Today's direct mail and transactional mail service providers cope with a number of challenges. Customer-supplied data files for mailing projects come in all different formats and can vary from job to job. Today's digital production inkjet presses enable marketers to vary the content on every mail piece to enable personalized, targeted messaging to segmented audiences – or even an audience of one! That's great for the marketer but does make handling and organizing mailing projects more complex. Without the right tools, service providers may find the data and mailing portions of the work very time-consuming.
In addition to more complex and targeted campaigns, marketers are also looking for tracking reports to know which pieces were delivered to which recipients and when they arrived. Direct mail providers know about applying Intelligent Mail® barcodes (IMb) that enable mail piece tracking, but they may not know how to retrieve and interpret USPS® tracking data.
Lastly, USPS standards and processes are always changing. It takes time and resources to keep up with the electronic documentation, submission, and scheduling requirements needed to take advantage of USPS programs and discounts.
Direct mail providers can benefit from comprehensive and flexible document enhancement/post-composition tools that allow them to extract and send address files to BCC Mail Manager™ for cleansing, apply accurate address standardization to the mail piece and qualify the mail for the lowest postage rates.
Optionally, users can reformat and rearrange data on pages, add the capability to source information from multiple input files, merge many short run files together into longer, postal-optimized runs, eliminate duplicates or break files into subsets, add business rules logic to trigger individually targeted messaging based on demographic, gender, income, etc.
Add Purl’s, augmented reality or QR codes. Include marks to track individual documents within the print shop, and then capture all of this information via a historical reporting database. All these options and more can be accomplished as part of an automated workflow process. Talk to Canon Solutions America to learn more.
At BCC Software, we recognize how heavily customer retention relies on consistently delivering what you promise to your customers. But in a demanding industry, how can you ensure properly formatted, printed and addressed communication pieces every time?
Here’s where Data Preflight comes in—a direct mail proofing software option available exclusively through BCC Mail Manager™.
With Data Preflight, you can meet, and exceed, your customer’s expectations, plus save your company time and money in the process.
Data Preflight’s direct mail proofing tools ensure the quality of your data is spot-on before a single drop of ink hits paper. It works to proof all information so that addresses and personalization are correct and current, eliminating the need for reprinting on your end.
It also eliminates the hassle of working with tedious expressions, indexes and selectivities to build accurately addressed and personalized items with a few simple clicks.
Considering how Data Preflight could work for your business? Here are some other key benefits of incorporating this option into your BCC Mail Manager software:
- Reduces time spent on samples and sign-offs created based on customer criteria
- Prevents printing outside of the designated area on mailpiece
- Identifies incomplete records before printing
- Prevents expensive errors due to overprint of copy on mailpiece
- Prevents unexpected data conditions from creating imaging problems downstream
- Easily incorporates into automated workflows
- Produces detailed reports for analysis prior to machine setup
With Data Preflight, you are able to promise and deliver your customer the perfectly formatted printed materials they expect. It makes a big difference for their business, and leads to customer retention for you. Plus, it eliminates cumbersome and time-consuming quality assurance procedures that were necessary for ensuring correct mail pieces were sent off to the USPS®.
Fill out the form below, or contact your account representative to add this option to your mailing software today or to schedule a brief 30minute one-on-one demonstration where you can see how this option can benefit your business.
Schedule a Demo