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Get Ready For Eircodes

The new Eircode postcode system is on the way next year and companies need to start preparing now

Every address in Ireland will receive its unique Eircode in Spring 2015. Eircodes will help the public, businesses and public bodies to locate every individual address in the state. Currently, around 35% of addresses, mainly in rural areas, do not have a unique name or number in their address. With Eircodes, delivery of services and goods will be much easier and quicker to these addresses.

An Eircode will identify an individual address and help show exactly where it is located. Eircodes will link easily with online maps, satnavs and smartphone maps. When you enter an Eircode for an address into such systems, you will be able to find its location and the route to get there.

When people receive their Eircode next year, they will not need to change their address.  They will just add the Eircode whenever it is needed or useful, so it will be very easy to start using it straight away.

How it Works
Each Eircode has seven-characters that are unique to each mailing address.  The seven characters are divided into two parts – a Routing Key and a Unique Identifier. Part of the Eircode design is to help the postal and logistics industry.

For this reason, the first three characters, the Routing Key, will be used to help sort mail, though is not directly linked to counties, towns or other geographic features. 

A Routing Key will be shared by many properties in an area, so will become familiar rather like the prefix on landline phone numbers. The second part of the Eircode has four characters drawn from a selected set of letters and numbers that identify each address.

Eircode is also the name of the business that will issue and maintain Eircodes.  This is run by Capita, who say they will notify every address of its new Eircode next year.

Get Ready
According to Peter Whelehan of direct marketing agency DMCM: “If I could give one piece of advice to businesses before the introduction of the new Eircode system, it would be to get ready early. While there's still quite a bit of detail to be ironed out, Eircodes will create opportunities for companies who get organised now."

These opportunities include:
Data Capture Eircodes will not only ensure pinpoint accuracy of targeting but will make it quicker and easier to capture information in a standardised way across organisations for database building. For now, companies should be checking that their systems will accept, hold and validate an Eircode against each address.

Targeting  Uniquely specific eircodes facilitate location-based targeting, which in turn makes it easier to plan campaign activity. Data can be grouped and organised more clearly, thus making it easier to use overlay third-party profiling data to target prospects and potential new customers.

Standardisation  Address data can often be held in different formats in different parts of organisations. Having a standardised Eircode will facilitate the linking of records together and allow easier and more efficient matching, merging and deduping of data, making it easier and more cost effective to tidy up and clean data.

If you are using database software you will need to check with the database supplier about how they intend to incorporate Eircodes into their software package and when this will happen.

Systemisation  Finally, as companies get used to Eircodes, the whole process of capturing them and updating them will become systemised and ingrained within organisations as templates are adapted and staff get used to them.

For now, everyone is on a steep learning curve, which will even itself out over the next 12 to 18 months as companies adapt and become more familiar with how they'll work in practice. (September 2014)

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