Merry_Law~by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC

Another year has passed and it’s time to dust off my crystal ball to make my global mailer predictions for 2017. It’s been quite a year for direct marketers and the marketing landscape is changing rapidly in the age of big data.  You can view my previous predictions for 2016 here, if you’d like to see how those turned out.  Now, lets get down to business for the new year!

Here’s what I see coming in 2017

  1. Postal reform legislation will be delayed again in the U.S.  It won’t pass Congress before the new Congress takes office in January, requiring a new beginning for the process.  Postal reform won’t be high on the priority list for either the new administration or the new Congress.
  2. The future President will carry out his campaign promise to end or renegotiate various trade deals, causing uncertainty in trade relations with other countries.   This will slow trade between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  3. The international economy will remain uneven, with little or no further improvement in most sectors and regions.
  4. In the international postal world, costs for mailers will continue to rise.  USPS has not raised international postage but international fees are increasing.  Other postal operators and delivery services will raise their rates, too.
  5. Mail volumes will continue the trend of 2015 and 2016, with a leveling off in letter volumes and an increase in the volume of packages and parcels.  International package and parcel volumes will not increase tremendously, and may level off
  6. The Universal Postal Union’s Integrated Product Plan (IPP), passed at their Congress in 2016, will be difficult for international mailers and their service vendors when postal operators announce how they will implement the new requirements.  (Mail will be classified by contents—documents or goods—rather than by weight.  Small packages, under 2 kilograms or 4.4 pounds, will be in their own new class of mail.)
  7. Undeliverable international mail and its return, or non-return, will become a greater issue for mailers, as more packages and the marketing and transactional documents that accompany them are sent.
  8. Addresses based on discrete global grids (What3Words, GO Code, etc.) will be a subject of much discussion and publicity, but will not be implemented as part of any national addressing plan.  Some changes will, as always, occur to national addressing plans but will be based on current postal addressing models.
  9. Drones will be used for transport to remote areas but not as “last mile” solutions.  Successful trials of drone delivery for pharmaceutical and emergency supplies have taken place in southern Africa and trials elsewhere are also occurring.  These deliveries will become more common, although the “last mile” delivery will continue to be by current methods.
  10. Concerns about hacking and privacy will not slow the move toward more mobile, Internet and cloud-based services and data storage.  Consumers will continue to be concerned but accept the risk, with companies making apologies and providing credit monitoring when large attacks happen.  Privacy legislation in the U.S. will remain minimal.

We’ll see this time next year whether my crystal ball was too cloudy to see clearly.  Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

Bad_Habits~by Katie Favreau, Jennifer Martell & Paul Harris

We know good data when we see it, and we also know when it’s not so good. That’s why we decided to give you some insight to some of our top “Bad Data Habits” that we see frequently in global databases. Here are some of the our top bad habits.

Recieve A Free Data Assessment

  • Trying to store international addresses in a database meant for USA.

This habit is common on data capture forms that were designed without consideration for global address systems. All address systems are not the same and when you have a required “state” field in a country that doesn’t have any states, you’re bound to end up with a some data problems. Do your homework and know your market. If the database you’re creating will reach a global customer, you should consider how the data will be entered and stored.

See the example below of a good global data capture form.Global Data Capture Form

  • Proper fielding when data entering is essential.

The best example here is not requiring a “country” field. If a contact has only a street address and name without an identified country, that makes the address not correctable. Our earth has many people and without some essential data points, it’s like finding a needle in a really big haystack.

  • Excel corrupting data.

Excel is without a doubt a powerful tool. However, sometimes it’s not your friend. Simple commas can corrupt your data fields if you’re not careful. We’ve seen excel do some funky things in the past and we recommend you are very careful when storing data in excel. The more data you have, the more chances you have for excel to corrupt it.

See the video below for an example of how excel can corrupt your data with its autocorrection rules.

  • Placing contact names and business names in the same field.

This is a no-no that needs to be nipped in the bud fast. These data points should always be in separate fields. Here is an example, First Name: Paul, Last Name: Harris, Company Name: Global-Z International. You shouldn’t have “Paul Harris Global-Z International” all in one field.

  • Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassNot checking for dupes when new data is entered.

Duplicate data becomes unmanageable fast. A quick check before a new record is entered in a database will prevent much anger and confusion in the long run. Nothing slows you down like doing a look-up on the name “John Smith” only to find you have 13 different “John Smith” records and all of them have conflicting information populated in the fields.

Recieve A Free Data Assessment

 

lists_globe~by Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing

Global-Z International would like to make you aware of a significant change in rules governing personal data transfer between the United States and the European Union (EU).

EU law requires that companies exporting citizens’ personal data do so only to countries providing a similar level of legal protection for that data. In the case of the U.S., the exchange of personal data has been covered by the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, which the European Commission ruled in July 2000 provide adequate protection.

The new ruling, handed down on October 6th, 2015, has made the current Safe Harbor agreement invalid.

We want you to be aware that:

  • Global-Z has had Safe Harbor Certification since 2001.
  • Global-Z has been monitoring personal privacy issues and we are aware of the European Union Court ruling.
  • We are working with our legal advisors and the US DMA to monitor developments including the activities/response of the US Department of Commerce.
  • Global-Z does not expect this ruling to impact our operations or our services to our customers.
  • We are confident that the strong contracts and the strict privacy practice we have in place meet the legal protection requirements of the EU.

We want all Global-Z customers, prospects and partners to be aware of these developments and be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you advised of the ongoing developments. The US Department of Commerce is meeting with EU counterparts to discuss possible solutions.

Feel free to contact your Global-Z representative if you have any questions.

Canada~by Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing

It’s no surprise that data privacy has become a big concern for many global companies. That’s why Global-Z goes above and beyond to assure your data remains secure and private, while allowing our services to add significant value to your global data.

Canada Post, our partner for providing Canadian National Change of Address (NCOA) services, recently announced some changes to their rules for NCOA processing. These policy changes would have had restricted us from returning some of the valuable fields we normally give to our customers after NCOA processing, specifically the Change of Address Notification (COAN) type and the Record Type fields. When we heard of the new policy change, we began to collaborate with Canada Post in order to reach a solution that will allows us to provide our customers with these valuable fields while keeping the data safe.

“Our relationship with Canada Post is strong,” said Dimitri Garder, Executive VP of Global-Z. “We have successfully worked with Canada Post to create a better solution that fits their need, and fits the best interest of our customers.”

“It’s predictable that many data vendors will change policies in the future,“ stated Doug Robinson, Global-Z’s Chief Technology Officer.  “Our job is to look out for everyone’s best interest as best we can.”

Want more information about Canadian NCOA services? Please contact us.

Lock~ by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC

All predictions are based on the experiences and the personal and professional environment of the person predicting. For me, this includes international work with addresses and personal data and with postal operators internationally. Any predictions are no more than guesswork on the most probable trends for the next year. Here are mine for 2015.

1. The economic recovery will continue in the U.S. but remain uneven in the rest of the world. In the U.S., the recovery will be uneven between regions and industries. Government revenues will lag and, hence, infrastructure improvements will be slow or neglected. Uncertainty in international relations will retard growth, particularly in Europe.

2. International growth in e-commerce will continue, with more use of mobile devices for all types of access. There will be a move to m-commerce and m-marketing as separate specialties. The development of systems to support the movement of smaller packages around the world will lag and be a break on the growth of this commerce.

3. “The Cloud” will continue to grow, with more companies moving to Cloud storage, Cloud computing, and Cloud file-sharing. A cautionary note to this is data protection and security. As more access is available the security risks increase.

4. Hacking will become a greater problem with more breaches of secure data kept by large and smaller companies and all levels of government. No system or network that can be accessed remotely is completely safe. If someone can think up a security scheme, someone else can figure out a way to circumvent it.

5. Big Data will continue to become more useful and accessible to a broader range of companies, as software development to analyze large data sets and the techniques to use the results become more widespread.

6. Privacy will become a greater concern for consumer activists, government regulators, and politicians. The reaction of consumers will remain mixed depending on the particulars of each data collection and the age, experience and area of residence of the individual consumer. Hacking and data breaches will generally increase the demand for more privacy protections.

7. More countries will introduce addressing systems with postal codes. Most of these will be in Africa with a smaller number in South America. Unfortunately, these official systems will not be adopted quickly by the residents and post office and descriptive addresses will remain the norm.

8. Shipping and postal costs will continue to increase, even with the extraordinary reduction in the price of gasoline. (Nobody predicted that happening!)

9. Mail volumes will level off. The decrease in volume of letter mail will slow. Parcel volume will increase but the increase will be more moderate than some predictions. Together, they will stabilize over the next few years to a new normal.

10. There will be no relief for the USPS and other financially-strapped Postal Operators. The reasons vary depending on country and region. In the EU, government subsidies have ended and many postal operators have not adjusted to a competitive environment. In other places, governments continue to be reluctant to fund postal operations or are themselves dealing with budget shortages. Or, as in the U.S., political realities prevent action on postal matters. This will lead to the collapse of postal operators in some countries.

Best wishes to you all a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Our friends at GrayHair Software invited Marty Shaw to speak on a panel about global addressing at the 2014 National Postal Forum. We have the video highlights from the “AskGrayHair” forum posted below. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWL_H2b3n4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxkua1Cbp2w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_g1hxQIHdk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6NSxccsiSA

 

 

~by Paul Harris, Sales and Marketing Assistant

Merry Law, Address Data Quality Expert

Global-Z recently had the opportunity to catch-up with our longtime friend Merry Law. Merry is the President of WorldVu LLC, the editor of the Guide to Worldwide Postal-Code and Address Formats and author of Best Practices for International Mailings.

Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Global-Z: Why is it so important to for marketers to have good address quality anyway? 

Merry: Correct addresses are important in two ways: delivery (of course) and perception.

For delivery, a completely incorrect address or one that can’t be understood is not deliverable.   This can mean an invoice, a marketing offer, or a product doesn’t arrive.  Each of those creates different problems and costs before the mailing (printing, packaging, postage) and after the item doesn’t arrive (following up, reshipping products or processing refunds, and so on.)

If the address is decipherable and gets delivered, it can take extra time to get there.  (That can means delayed payments with invoices, slow order streams with marketing offers, or customer complaints with products.)  A poor address also sends a poor message to the recipient about your company.  The company is not professional, is ill-informed, and doesn’t know what they are doing.

 

Global-Z: It’s almost comical to highlight the importance of mail being delivered correctly. Do you think many marketers are ignoring address data quality issues, or do they not have the resources/time to deal with it?

Merry: Yes, isn’t it! I think many marketers and other mailers aren’t aware of all the resources available for verifying and correcting international addresses or don’t know how cost effective those services can be.  Some mailers tell me that the cost of the address hygiene services are often made up for in savings from wasted printing, postage and processing required by undelivered mail.

The same is true of the time element. The amount of time a staff is involved in dealing with returned and undeliverable mail can be greater than the staff time required by the address hygiene process.   And, the old issue of who pays for the hygiene comes up, although we know that the artificial silos between marketing, IT, and other departments on issues like address quality are counter-productive.

There’s sometimes an issue of convincing top management to invest in address hygiene.  Companies like Global-Z help demonstrate how you will benefit from address hygiene.

 

Global-Z: In 2013, you made predictions about the future of marketing. Looking back, which trends do you think will continue this year?

Merry: I think my predictions from last year have held up pretty well, although the growth in international has been a bit slower than I expected.  The restrictiveness of Canada’s legislation on email privacy was a surprise but I don’t think we will see other countries follow this path.  Indeed, the Canadian government is seeing some problems with the strictness of the regulations.

The exploration of big data and integrated, multichannel marketing (by any name) will, I think, be the ones that get the most attention from marketers this year.  The USPS discount offers for qualifying mailings that integrate digital into a mail piece are a wonderful development.  These have now been continued and expanded.  (See here for details.)

 

Global-Z: How would you describe the current state of the direct mail industry?

Merry: While there’s been a tremendous shift  to move away from mail over the last decade, there seems to be a recent move back to direct mail.  Mail works.

Internationally, there are generally fewer legal and practical limitations on sending mail than there are on email marketing.  Mail also reaches everyone, everywhere.  Studies suggest that people spend more time looking at a piece of printed mail than they do looking at an email.  As all marketers know, those seconds matter to the response rate.

 

Global-Z: What’s new at WorldVu? Are you working on any new projects that you are excited about?

Merry:   I have been doing more writing and speaking.  I am speaking more often on best practices for international mailing.  I recently presented a paper on The Value of Addresses, discussing their economic and financial value, at conferences in France and the U.S.  It’s an interesting topic that’s often neglected by both companies and by governments.  Perhaps if addresses were a balance sheet asset, top management would better understand the need to spend on address hygiene and maintenance.

tfma_2014

It’s that time again! We are getting ready for the 2014 annual Technology for Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A) conference in London. This year’s show will take place at Earls Court and the event will be co-locating with multiple different conferences.

This year the Global-Z team can be found in the Global Marketing Alliance (GMA) lounge. The lounge is located on the right side of the exhibit hall near the Direct Marketing Theater and Data & Marketing Theater (view floor plan here).

As always, we are looking forward to seeing you at the 2014 conference! Please Contact Us to schedule  a meeting during the show. We would love to talk to you about all our Direct Marketing and Data Quality services. We are also providing  live demos of our Real Time data processing capabilities.

See you in the swinging city!

________________________

Want to enjoy yourself before the show? DMI Magazine will once again host the Global-Z co-sponsored networking social the evening preceding the TFM&A, on Monday, February 24th. We’ve got all the details here for you.

survey_results

We want to hear what you think! Please take a moment to tell us how important it is to measure and define  “demand attribution” for your business or organization in the coming year. Our polls allow us to collect aggregated/anonymous results that we will share with our subscribers in follow-up GZ News issues.

Also, remember to follow us on all our Global-Z social media accounts (linked at the bottom of this page) to keep updated on the latest GZ News and industry related topics.

Take Our Poll Here

 

Gary_Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~By Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Recently, Global-Z had the unique opportunity to speak with Gary Palmer, Director of Information Alchemy ltd, an independent marketing information consultancy and services provider which helps organizations take control of their data resource and extract from it maximum value through data-driven marketing and customer insight.

Gary works in the United Kingdom, and he has twenty years of experience in getting real business value from data resources. He spoke with us about the impact of bad data quality, information management and the future of data-driven business decision making.

We hope you enjoy our interview with Gary.

Global-Z: Why do so many organizations have a hard time starting a data governance program?

Gary: Part of the problem is that data is pervasive, and responsibility for it diffuses. Very few organizations have assigned a clear accountability for managing data. What they should be doing is finding the particular functions within the context of their own company and industry who stand to gain most or suffer worst according to the state of the data. Then they should back this vested interest with a strong official mandate to establish and maintain governance over this vital resource.

Global-Z: Has the European economy had a negative impact on businesses ability to finance and focus attention on data quality issues?

Gary: It has been proven enough times that firms who maintain marketing budgets are the ones that assume strong positions as the recession ends. Good data quality  can enhance and unleash one of the few remaining sources of unique competitive advantage. After all, only you have your customer data. Sadly, the economic conditions have become an easy out for organizations wary of what is, to be fair, a relatively new discipline. The brave few acting now will reap the benefits.

Global-Z: Let’s pretend you are a CEO of a large direct marketing company, where would a data quality initiative fall in your list of business priorities?

Gary: Poor data quality is invariably a symptom of broken business processes – so fixing that would have to come pretty high. Then an initiative to leverage the potential of the cleaned data set to deliver unique customer insights has to lie at the core of strategy for any direct marketing driven organization.

Global-Z: In the future, how do you think data analytics and tracking will affect the consumers experience when buying products and services?

Gary: In the past, marketers have had a bad habit of using analytics to spot the next opening for launching new promotions or products. This is like talking to a person who is mentally rehearsing their next utterance rather than actually listening to what you are saying.

In the future, I hope we will  see a switch to using tracking and analytics to genuinely listen to customers with the aim of readying the organization to service their expressed needs.

Global-Z: What is the most challenging part of your job?

Gary: The most challenging part of my job is overcoming the idea that data is arcane, nerdy, boring or not worthy of anyone’s attention.

Data is a resource inevitably generated by all organizations that can be a source of friction or fuel, heat and light. When data is used properly,  it can turbo charge any organization.

Global-Z: What do you like most about your job?

Gary: I like seeing organizations discover and use new capabilities based on the clean, well maintained data resource they have after I finish a project with them!