Experian Unveils Enhanced Mail-Tracking Product

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Experian, Orange, CA, has introduced ePIN+, a service that allows companies to track how their direct mail programs are doing and who is responding to them.

The service is based on the U.S. Postal Service's Destination Confirm and Origin Confirm system. This system, introduced in 1997, allow customers to track outgoing and incoming letter-sized mail electronically by using upgraded barcodes -- or Planet Codes --that collect location and time data about mailings as the letters move through the USPS's automated mail-processing system.

Destination Confirm lets mailers know when and if customers received their bills, credit cards or advertising mail, thereby allowing them to synchronize telemarketing programs with the delivery of their solicitations, track customer response time to an offer to the exact day, and track sensitive documents through the mail process.

Origin Confirm notifies a mailer when a customer is returning a mail piece so they can know who has responded before a hard copy is actually delivered. This helps them manage cash flow and accounts receivables more efficiently and provides opportunities to evaluate the success of ad campaigns and offers before responses even come back in. It can also aid in the staffing of inbound processing, fulfillment, or call centers.

ePIN+, which links Experian's demographic and lifestyle data with the system, can interpret who received the mailpieces and who is responding to it, and then perform real-time profiling and modeling on the responders.

Marketers can learn information such as who is responding to a specific mailing, how many days a mail piece has been sitting in a USPS Bulk Mail Center before it enters the mail stream; or which mail pieces passed through the next stage of postal automation. Marketers can access this data via the Web.

"ePIN+ allows mailers to know what's out there and what's coming back in, and also who its from and what it is, " said Bob Rosser, director of new business development at Experian.

ePIN+ is currently available and being used in several small beta tests around the country. The costs vary based on the amount of information someone wants.

"Not everybody is ready for name-level reporting," said Rosser. "Some people really just want to know what the story is with their mail, just the 30,000-foot view."

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