6 Out of Business Signals to Keep Your B2B Data Up to Date

When a new business opens its doors for the first time, it’s often accompanied by balloons and confetti. However, when a business goes under, there are usually no headlines, no pomp, and no circumstance. Every minute, 4 U.S. businesses close. So how does ICS Corporation capture these in a timely manner?

 We have identified 6 out-of-business signals to help us mark suspect addresses.

1.    Disconnected Phone Line

About 85% of disconnected phone lines result in a closed business. When encountered during phone verification, a disconnected phone is a primary trigger for a business about to close their doors.

2.    Address Changes reported through NCOA

After we remove all records with disconnected phones, the NCOA move is a positive indicator that the business is now closed over 50% of the time.

3.    Web Research

Over 3,000 closed website banners are recognized each week. While bad URL pings and low activity have not been great indicators of a closed business, they do combine with other signals to provide insight into the business’s current status.

4.    National Provider Identifier Registry

Deactivations within the NPI Registry indicate that healthcare practitioners may have retired or are otherwise no longer practicing.

5.    Aging

If the business is no longer found in the data source being compiled, and telephone verification is not able to contact the business, this record will remain in the database for another round of compilation and telephone verification before it is removed.  Typically the timeline for aging off the active file based upon this rule is 24 months.

6.    Industry-Specific Audits   

Through our research, information is learned about the business which leads us to believe it may be out of business, from there we mark this record as suspect.

Truly Out Of Business

ICS will not code a business record as ‘out of business’ unless that status is confirmed.  This confirmation most often takes place within conversations during our telephone calls or through websites and social media updates. The scenarios described above will cause a record to become ‘suspect’ until its true status can be determined as open or closed. ICS offers new Out Of Business records through both monthly and weekly deliveries, and offers daily suppression through many of its solutions.

To learn about how to run your files through this suppression list please contact your ICS Account Executive.

What is Informed Delivery

What is Informed Delivery?

Informed delivery is a service offered by USPS that allows customers to preview mail arriving to their house each day. Customers can sign up to view their mail on a phone, tablet or computer, anywhere and anytime, even if they are traveling. In addition, the USPS sends daily emails to alert consumers of what they will be seeing in their mailbox each day.

What does it look like?

Informed delivery users receive scanned grayscale images of the mail they will be receiving each day. The USPS offers an option to modify this grayscale image with a representative color image and clickable link.

Source: USPS

Source: USPS

Who is using it?

Currently there are 17 Million users across the US. The USPS frequently updates the amount of users here.

If you would like to know how many of your customers are using this service, you are able to run a pre-campaign analysis to compare a mail file to the USPS Database, or you could contact your ICS Account Executive to obtain this report for you!

How can you participate?

ICS creates these campaigns on behalf of our clients upon request, so setting up a campaign is as simple as sending an email to your Account Executive. However, if you choose to create the campaign yourself, the process is still very simple. All you need is the IMB serial numbers from your campaign.

The best part is this service is currently being offered for free by the USPS! In fact they will even discount your postage if you run campaigns from September - November.

For more information about Informed Delivery or to get your first campaign set up, contact your ICS Account Executive!

2018 Annual Household Study Recap

The USPS released their Annual Household Survey. We read through all 200 pages to give you the TL;DR (Too long; Didn’t read) version! Here are 10 of our favorite facts that we found the most interesting.

1. In 2018, 115.9 billion pieces of mail were received the in US. The USPS identified five different categories of household mail. Marketing Mail-Regular ranked the highest with 55.8 billion pieces received. First-Class Mail ranked the second highest with 39 billion pieces received.

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2. Year over year, mail volumes remain in decline. However, in comparison to previous years, the decrease of 2.1% to pieces delivered and 1.4% to marketing mail is minimal. It even makes us feel a little bit optimistic.


3.  One of the most interesting findings in the study is the relationship between internet access and mail sent.  The study reinforces concepts we already know to be true; that those with higher incomes tend to have a higher rate of internet access, and those with higher incomes also tend to receive the most mail.

But what is interesting is those with the highest rate of internet access are actually those who are sending the most mail, and those with the lowest amount of internet access are sending the least.


4. Today, consumers have many options on how to pay their bills this study found that 59% of consumers paid at least one bill by mail. However, this implies that 41% of consumers are not using mail to pay bills. The study goes on to say that households paid 55 percent more bills using the Internet than by mail.


5. In an industry where omni-channel is all the buzz, channel allocation is gold. This study breaks down spending per channel over the past three years. The top three categories are Internet, TV, and Direct Mail. While Internet and TV budgets increase significantly, the budget for Direct Mail only increased 1% compared to the previous year. Large events like the Olympics and elections can also effect the breakdown of budgets year to year.


6. Similar to how income level and internet access relate, education also plays a role in the amount of mail received. The amount of advertising mail received increases as income, education, and age increase. The reason for this is two-fold. First, direct mail is a written type of communication, and education may play some role in its relative effectiveness compared to television or radio advertising. Second, education is not only tied to current household income, but also to future household income.


7. As we know, internet access is tied to income and education. However, advertising mail is sent even when new advertising media is available. As the table below demonstrates, the Internet is often used to target potential customers through direct mail advertising. Conversely, direct mail can also be used as a complement to the Internet by directing potential customers to specific company websites. With that being said, are your mail pieces working smarter not harder? Are they reinforcing consistent messages?


8. Although there was 115 billion pieces of mail received in 2018m, not all of it is being read or interacted with by the households. The image below shows the percentage of mail that is read, scanned and not read at all. 49% of the mail received was read while only 26% of it was not read at all.


9. The amount of mail a household receives can also affect whether or not the customer interacts with it. The study found that the more mail a household receives weekly, the more turned off they are and less likely to read it. Households that received 0-7 pieces of mail weekly read 15% of the mail. Compared to households who received that 16-17 pieces of mail only read 9% of that mail. However, we also see that about 50 percent of households usually read all or some of their mail; a percentage that is unaffected by volume received. Additionally, the percent of households that usually don’t read their advertising mail is about the same regardless of how much mail the household receives.


10. Lower income households tend to read more advertising mail than their wealthy counterparts potentially due to the fact they receive less of it. When it comes to age, older heads of household tend to read more of advertising mail than the younger heads of household.


ICS Corporation completes SOC 2 data security audit; Compliance audits administered by 360 Advanced


WEST DEPTFORD, NJ – ICS Corporation, a leader in print and mail marketing distribution for clients nationwide, has completed a rigorous audit of its data security processes and systems.  To earn compliance under the demanding System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) standards. This examination was performed by 360 Advanced, a respected national Qualified Security Assessor and Certified Public Accounting firm based in Tampa, FL.

 “Maintaining compliance with the highest level of information security standards is vital to ICS remaining on the forefront of our industry.” commented Dennis Fish, Information Technology Director. “This is the third year we have completed the SOC 2 audit process. Each year we see increased value in having this evaluation performed. Quite simply, it validates the year-round efforts of our staff and makes us a better company.”

 The objective of a SOC 2 Type 2 examination is the expression of an opinion about whether the control principles have been effectively designed to meet accepted practices.  The engagement is conducted in a manner that establishes the design of the system of controls as of a point in time, and to assist the service organization in improving the capabilities of its core processes.

“This process is an evolutionary one,” said Fish. “Our clients in all industries, from financial services and healthcare, to our non-profit and retail clients, demand that our operating controls are world-class. Following the control principles of programs like SOC 2 and those prescribed through other audit processes ensures that we stay on the cutting edge to protect our assets as well as those of our clients.”


Services provided by 360 Advanced include HITRUST CSF, GDPR, SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS, HIPAA Security/HITECH, Microsoft SSPA, and other security and compliance services for a variety of industries and business verticals nationwide.


For an initial consultation, please contact Eric Ratcliffe at eratcliffe@360advanced.com.


Overview of the Paper Market from Industry Veteran, Patrick Buckley

Turbulent market conditions continue to be felt throughout the paper industry. Within the past year we have seen prices consistently rise with no sign of slow down.  In order to identify the leading factors and best course of action we consulted with Vice- President and 30 year industry veteran, Patrick Buckley of Lindenmeyr Munroe.  

Pat credited the price changes to shifts in the following areas:

  • Pulp: Market Pulp experienced price increases on average of 50% from $800 per ton to over $1200 per ton in 2017 and has continued to rise in 2018. As the base product for a myriad of pulp-based products (printing paper, packaging, corrugated, linerboard, food products, pharmaceuticals, etc.), it is one of the driving forces in the number of price increases being felt by these impacted industries. These pulp increases have forced non-integrated paper manufacturers to close or repurpose their operations. In addition, chemicals and other raw material costs have been rising as in many industries.

  • Capacity: Though paper usage declines approximately 3-4% per year, the mill closures and repurposing of paper machines starting in 2017, and projecting through 2019, will add up to a 20% reduction of capacity in the Coated Paper market and 12% in the Uncoated Paper market. The domestic mills are running at 95%+ operating rates and are “sold out”. With the amount of sold orders and longer lead times, we are also starting to see more stock outs on normal inventory items. All of this is creating the need for our customers to plan much further in advance than we are generally accustomed to for many print projects.

  • Imports: With a stronger global economy, rising transportation costs and a weakening USD, imports have declined drastically (Uncoated Paper and Copy Paper have decreased 50% since 2015). Price increases continue in Europe, Latin America and Asia as well, so it makes more sense to sell their products closer to home.

  • Transportation: The federal government’s 2018 implementation of Electronic Logging Devices for all over the road tractor-trailers is having a significant impact on the paper industry (and many others). It is affecting freight pricing, delivery costs, and availability of drivers (i.e. more trailer loads to be shipped than trucks/drivers). The hurricane impact and carrier capacity constraints have also contributed to these increased costs.

  • Growing Businesses: Paper companies are investing in specialty products attempting to replace plastic/foam because of the eco-friendly features of paper versus foam or plastic. McDonalds and Starbucks going all paper for cups instead of foam. Paper straws potentially replacing plastic straws. Linerboard for boxes (Amazon) and other shipping materials.

He went on to say, "The second half of 2017 and 2018 have presented unprecedented market dynamics and unusual challenges to the paper/print industry.  The financial condition of many paper companies have limited investment over the past twenty years in maintenance, updating equipment and new machinery.  This along with the issues listed above leads us to believe this situation will not get better in the next 12-24 month period."

ICS Corporation Adds Oce ColorStream & MailStream Direct to Growing Equipment List

The Océ ColorStream 3900Z & Pitney Bowes MailStream Direct have been added to our fleet of in-house equipment. These new pieces of equipment support our ongoing commitment to our clients; to provide full variable data solutions while consistently looking for ways to improve speed to market. 

Adding the Océ ColorStream 3900Z expands our printing capacity up to 600,000 more pieces a day. In addition to expanding our volume, this press also adds an in-line perforating & punching enhancement option. The Océ complements the other preexisting inkjet and digital presses, and will ultimately be responsible for our white-paper in, full-color out production. Its ability to handle the demand for fully variable production and highly flexible color capabilities will allow us to work hand-in-hand with our clients to provide more color variable solutions.   

The Pitney Bowes MailStream Direct has provided ICS a precise and efficient way to process complex high-value direct mail.  With processing speeds up to 22,000 pieces per hour, the MailStream Direct not only yields high productivity but also, efficiently tracks every piece via Perfect Match Camera System as it flows through the machine.   

ICS Corporation awarded the 2018 Direct Marketer of the Year Award


The PhillyDMA Direct Marketer of the Year recipient represents the embodiment of true excellence in marketing in our region and in our industry. In the past, outstanding individuals have been awarded this special designation as an acknowledgment of their achievements. This year, the PhillyDMA chose to honor not just a single individual, but an entire company who has demonstrated industry leadership and that direct marketing is still a thriving and vital part of our business community.

In 1965, Richard Bastian & Richard Prendergast founded Instant Copy Service, a small print and copy facility in Philadelphia PA. 50 years later and enough stories to write a direct mail horror book, ICS has grown into a company that elevates and supports some of today’s largest mailers. ICS’ unique way of working combines fun and innovation while maintaining a responsible, supportive, and a transparent rapport with our clients.

Servicing clients that are at the forefront of the financial, insurance, fintech, non-profit and healthcare industries, ICS mailed roughly 650,000,000 mail pieces in 2017 for 45 national clients with capacity to do over a billion.

Our new state of the art facility houses digital imaging, bindery, lettershop and commingle/dropship postal logistics.

We are thrilled, humbled and proud to be recognized as the PDMA marketer of the year.


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