Views From the Data Desk

Uncategorized | August 27, 2019

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Did you know that the Royal Mail have a set of guidelines that they publish for the benefit of all that stipulate quite simply how an address needs to look on mailing items?  Well they do, and whilst these are ‘guidelines’ we try, as best we can, to follow them – purely because we’ve found that by doing so our customers get a better response rate and benefit from higher postage discounts on more items.

With the addresses that we create on the letters being driven by supplied data, there’s a lot that can go wrong so with a little bit of ‘dark magic’ and custom tools we’re able to turn most data sets into a form that comply with these specifications.

This is what an address should look like:

Mail and Print
Berwick Hill Dairy
Berwick St Leonard
Salisbury
Wiltshire
SP3 5GN

But often, based on the data that we are supplied we have the following issues:

All data in a single column creates an address that looks like this:

Mail and Print, Berwick Hill Dairy, Berwick St Leonard, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 5GN

Which not only will fail because its’ too long to fit into a window, will look terrible at the top of your letter!  My guess would be that there’s no chance that the recipient will even consider opening this – even if they receive it!

Commas in the data will most likely create an address that works, but it doesn’t conform to the Royal Mails specifications.  This will create an address that looks something like this:

Mail and Print
Berwick Hill Dairy
Berwick St Leonard, Salisbury
Wiltshire
SP3 5SN

Now for something a little different, house numbers separated into a column of their own.  This also does not conform to the guidelines, so we have to ensure that this is corrected to look like this.

10 Sample Street
Sample Town
Sample County
Postcode

With the number in its own column, that address will look like;

10
Sample Street
Sample County
Postcode

It’ll get there, it just doesn’t look good and might not qualify for postage discounts.

There’s loads more examples and as a ‘Data Man’ I could go on about returns, foreign characters and various corruptions that occur when data is exported from systems – loads to think about, all of which we fix using a little bit of magic, but if you are contemplating creating mailing data yourself ask this question;

“What will the address look like once its printed and is that in a format that you would open should your letter come through your letterbox?!

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