The "New Mover" Myth

On January 1st I became a resident of Florida -- my wife and I joke that after the collective 63 years that she, our two kids, and I have spent in New York, that we’re just doing what so many other 63-year-old New Yorkers do -- and headed to the Florida sun. As a migrant, I’ve been closely monitoring the communication that I receive from companies.

So many data and database vendors promote their “new mover” and “pre-mover” offerings that help identify when someone has recently moved house or is about to do so. And although this wasn’t a formal experiment -- and I recognize that I’m a case study of one (or four if you count the family) -- I wanted to observe how companies adjusted their communication once we moved. I should point out that I deliberately didn’t register a change of address with the US Postal Service.

And so far? Zilch. We’ve cancelled and connected cable; switched our address with our credit card issuers, banks, and cell phone companies; registered for new schools; and the only unusual action of late was when American Express denied a charge on my credit card as part of its fraud protection program. Meanwhile, we’ve opened new bank accounts and purchased new appliances, electronics, furniture, and a host of other “new mover” items -- purchase decisions that many marketers would love to have had the opportunity to influence. Again, we may be an isolated case, but if your vendor is selling you “new mover” and “pre-mover” data, have you assessed the quality, timeliness, and accuracy lately?

Meanwhile, if you’re in South Florida, don’t hesitate to look me up!

Cheers,

Dave

Comments

Who sells your data?

Which of your service vendors would you like to sell the information that you're a new mover. Your bank? Your cable company? Your credit card company? It seems there might be a privacy problem here.

If your point is that they should offer you a chance to be part of a "new mover" program in which you receive other offers -- maybe that would work.

There are plenty of companies selling your data

Thanks for the comment Josh. Fact is that there are plenty of companies out there - particularly in the offline world where privacy is less of a concern - that sell data about consumers. Yes, there are privacy laws particularly around financial services, but there are plenty of data providers that sell a product called New Mover and others that sell Pre Mover files. These supposedly identify consumers that are about to or have just moved house. My experiment of one eliminated the best source of that data which is the National Change Of Address service, but if we're relying on just that, then pre-mover is a myth, and new mover is just NCOA. I'm not making light of privacy - as you know, we've published research calling it a 'ticking time bomb for CI professionals', but while these services are offered, I was curious to see how accurate they might be.

They missed you

Dave, I'm kind of surprised you didn't hit any of the lists. The major data vendors flag the type of activity you describe, trying to catch a move prior to it occurring, supposedly capturing 85% of movers at least post move--probably a lot fewer pre-move. They are "compiled from multiple sources" which includes, I would guess, moving company contacts and (maybe) real estate listings. Perhaps your suppliers in those areas were "negligent" in not providing your information in a timely manner.

Josh has a good point about companies requesting permission to opt you in to a Movers program when you change addresses. They could monetize their departing customers, at least if the reason is that they moved away.

Maybe I'm a 15 percenter

Thanks for the comment Chip. I guess if they catch 85%, I might be in the 15% they miss.

I like the idea of having a one-stop-shop for updating all records/accounts when you move - it would have saved me countless hours. Could be a good opportunity for the likes of Pitney Bowes with their upcoming Volly offering, or for a mint.com, at least as it relates to financial services. Of course, USPS's change of address service will at least ensure you continue to receive your postal mail and catalogs...

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I live in Fl and I have moved

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