Direct Mail: Return to Sender
Address processing with CASS-certified software now includes Delivery Point Validation (DPV). DPV compares the house number of each address to a table of valid house numbers for that street, and will check unit and apartment numbers for multi-unit buildings. Addresses for which the delivery point cannot be validated will not be assigned a +4 code and will not be eligible for automation discounts. DPV also allows mailers to identify addresses on their lists that may be vacant.
Addresses that are not validated during CASS/DPV processing typically require carrier-specific knowledge and additional efforts by the USPS to be delivered, if they can be delivered at all. Marketers should consider whether the additional postage and risk of non-delivery justifies mailing to these addresses.
The USPS offers additional tools for addresses that cannot be validated or corrected using the CASS/DPV process. Problem addresses can be sent to the USPS for additional processing through the Address Element Correction (AEC and AECII) programs to obtain corrected and updated address information. These programs use more in-depth evaluations and comparison of address elements to correct missing or incorrect parts of the address.
Keep Up With Movers
More than 45 million Americans—14 percent of the population—change their addresses each year. The mobility of the American public and the resulting volume of undeliverable mail creates formidable obstacles for marketers trying to find and use high-quality mailing lists. The Postal Service has a number of programs to help you ensure your mail reaches your customers and prospects, even when they have moved.
The primary pre-mailing Move Update tool is NCOA Link, run by USPS licensees. It compares name/address records in a mailing list to the National Change of Address database, which includes all moves reported to the USPS. Most licensees match to an 18-month database on the assumption that a move older than 18 months should already be reflected in a well-maintained list. However, lists can also be matched to a 48-month database for more thorough updating. If a match is made to the database, the new address is returned to the mailer.
Kurt Ruppel is Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications at IWCO Direct. He is a member of the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and serves on the Board of Directors at the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), where he is also Vice Chair of the EMA’s Postal Affairs Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.