Co-operative Address Database ProposalBy
Last week in Miami we delivered a speech on the need for addressing systems at Triangle’s Mail and Express Americas conference. This will be posted together with slides later this week.
After the speech, the logistics manager of one of the express companies with substantial business to Latin America asked me if I knew of COA and data hygiene tools for the region. I admitted that there was very little out there because the governments either don’t have address systems, or have the data but won’t release it.
I’m happy to be educated if I’m wrong, but I only know of Argentina and Brazil, and the latter is very tight with it. ( I have since learned from Loqate that they have data also for Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Colombia.)
I asked how many companies served these regions and I was surprised to learn that there are “a lot”. Which reminded me of what has been done in other industries. It’s called “co-opetition”, or co-operating with the competition. The best example is the catalog industry’s co-op database. Co-op members, competitors all, contribute to a data company (now Epsilon) the name, address, and kind of purchase of their customers. The purchases are generic in description: apparel, auto, vacations, etc. Contributing members can draw on the database for prospects to mail to. The manager of the database gets compensated by all members, who make up the rules. No member knows the exact purchases made by the prospects it draws, or who the contributor was.
Would a co-operative address database like this work in the express industry for address data? Would it work in the postal business across borders of countries with systems, but no databases? It would not be used for marketing leads, but for address hygiene. Everyone contributes name and address of latest successful deliveries, and can query the database on undeliverables to look for a COA, or in advance if an address looks odd. The hit rate would improve with time. For many countries, this might become a “crowd-sourced” address system.
Moreover, in countries without “standardized” address systems and forms, perhaps the ongoing collection of examples of addresses from individual countries could serve as proof of “templates” of addresses that could be suggested to countries as starting points to developed systemized address databases. After all, if you want to insure people will use their addresses correctly, why not look to how they are using them “by instinct”.
We’ve posed this thought to the GADA Steering Committee and will post the thoughtful responses we have received. We welcome thoughts and comments. All you need to do is register!