Bad data costs businesses, on average, £7.2 million each year. And, a large component of bad data is found in malformed, inaccurate, or simply outdated customer data. It cripples marketing campaigns, reduces customer satisfaction and trust, hampers the ability to make informed decisions, and drives up costs associated with missed opportunities. One of the most important data elements you need to get right is the ADDRESS. It’s the foundation of data-driven success. Having high quality address data means you can connect with your target customers, keep customers happy and loyal, and make informed decisions.
Because address quality is so important to your business, it’s imperative that you choose the best provider possible to verify, clean and correct your UK and international address data. But trying to decide which address management company is best can be hard. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at three of the largest address management companies, what their capabilities are, and what you get for your money.
Melissa, SmartyStreets and Loqate have emerged as major players in the industry. All three have carved out their own space with distinct features sets and solutions. But all providers are not equal. We break it down below.
|Years of Experience Since||1985||2005||2009|
|Royal Mail PAF / DPV|
|Non Royal Mail Verification|
|USPS CASS® / Canada SERP®|
|Aggressive Address Correction|
|Name & Address Match|
|Advanced Fuzzy Matching|
|Canada Post NCOA®|
You might be thinking, “can’t I just use Google Maps for address validation?” We get this question all the time. Although Google is known as an epic-scale global data gathering company, when it comes to the quality of a queried address displayed on Google Maps, it’s a different story.
In fact, Google does not parse, standardize, validate or verify an address actually exists. Aptly named, Google Maps simply plots a point on the globe where the address would exist, if it even exists at all. It can even give you directions to a possibly mythical address and tell you how long it will take to drive to this fantasy place.
Because Google Maps doesn’t verify its data against authoritative reference data their update frequency is no where near that of Royal Mail or any other international data sources like USPS CASS or Canada Post SERP. Buildings with apartment, unit, suite, floor and PO Boxes (whether they exist or not) are all geocoded to the same address, and roughly 5 million address listings are missing in the UK alone. Because their API isn’t geared toward the same needs as businesses requiring rigorous address quality, we don’t consider them a relevant address management provider to compare against the major vendors.
We don’t simply license our postal engine like many vendors do. Our proprietary address engine had been developed over 35 years, and we are constantly fine-tuning the rule sets, advanced parsing and fuzzy matching to deliver best-of-breed results. Because we built our own engine, we are not dependent on waiting for updates from mailing sources. We can immediately update our software build to fix addresses that don’t code and meet customer’s requirements for speedy resolution.
An address that can’t be corrected is worthless; a lost opportunity cost. Even the USPS has struggled with correcting some types of malformed addresses, but our advanced address correction techniques and years of deep domain expertise help rescue addresses with incorrect street name and range data, or intelligently suggest likely matches.
Our address engine is linked to multiple Royal Mail and non-Royal Mail datasets. We can verify millions of addresses that postal services may not recognise, but may be serviced by local beneficiaries like UPS and Fedex. Those millions of records can represent 1 in 20 valid UK addresses alone. Our RBDI technology provides a business/residence flag, and our AddressPlus technology taps proprietary datasets to append not only missing suite numbers, but also missing apartment numbers – a major cause of undeliverable mail.
We assign a unique 10-digit integer to every U.S., Canadian and internal address. Utilising a Melissa Address Key (MAK) number makes correcting, updating, and deduping records a snap, improves processing speed tremendously, and ensure the anonymity of personally identifiable information (PII). Although address data can change – and often does – the MAK never will, so you always have access to the most accurate and timely data about that street address.
We take data security seriously. In fact, it’s part of our culture and we treat it as an ongoing process. That’s why we invested in getting SOC 2 certified, maintaining HIPAA/HITECH compliance, and adhering to the U.S./EU Privacy Shield regulations. We are doing our best to keep our software and data secure, and we’ll keep improving the integrity of our processes in the years to come.