Data Management and PAF
What is PAF?
Royal Mail hold a complete list of registered addresses for all addresses in the UK, (we at Mail and Print hold this database) it means that the discounts will only be allowed if you meet a minimum address accuracy to this database.
There is a cost to checking data to this database, which is a good idea as it makes the mail more deliverable to the end recipient, however if you have called your house “Maple Cottage, 34 Mews Road and not registered the address as Maple cottage then cleaning against the database WILL remove the “Maple Cottage” part and some people get very upset if this gets changed.
Flats are also affected by this significantly, if you have bought a house and converted it to flats and not registered the flats then it will be changed back to the original house address, if the house was registered as Flats and then converted to a house and not re registered then it will normally be changed to Flat 1 at the house address. – OK this may not be a major problem but it will cause some issues. By the way did you know that flats in Scotland are referenced by the flat number and the floor, so you may see 2/4 Flat, at the address, excel sometimes can change this to a date format because it is trying to be clever….. when it isn’t really.
Address cleaning and data issues
If you have your database in excel, access or another CMS or database system, when the data is entered with the best will in the world it will not be 100% correct unless you are using a plugin from the PAF database. I expect that when you have entered your data online you have been asked to put the post code in the select the house name or house number – this is looking up from the PAF database so the address will be accurate on the system. Not all business are able to have this technology and can be quite expensive for a small business, so the answer is to post clean it before mailing.
What other issues are there with data?
This list can be endless, it can be as simple as needing to create an accurate Salutation “Dear Mr Harvey or Dear Martyn” with a label name (used on the top of the mail piece address) Mr M D Harvey or perhaps Mr Martyn Harvey.
Perhaps the data has been entered onto your system in one field as “Mr Martyn Harvey” and using this for a salutation just does not work as “Dear Mr Martyn Harvey” so we can split this up and generate the two separate fields to make the mailing look more accurate
How PAF is maintained
Some other areas that may affect the accuracy of your data
- Post codes not accurate
- Carriage returns and line Feeds
- Correct case – Proper, Title or lower
- Creation of Salutations and Label Names
- Multiple lines on one field
- Spaces in front or at the end of the data
- Unicode data
- Countries in the post code or county fields
- Extracting out the overseas data to mail more efficiently
There are additional processes to enhance and benefit your data increasing theread, open and delivered rates.
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