If your company makes regular mailings to customers or prospects you may be in violation of Postal rules governing "move update" requirements. These requirements basically state that you need to make sure that the person or business you are mailing too is still at the address you are using.
These rules apply to presorted first class mail and as of November of 2008 the rules also include standard class mailings.
About 20% of businesses and particularly consumers move on an annual basis. Most of these movers fill out and submit a change of address form to the Post Office. The Post Office compiles these changes into the National Change of Address Database. Mailers need to update their mailing lists at least every 95 days to stay in compliance.
If you rent a mailing list to use for your direct marketing campaigns, make sure to get a certificate that the list was updated against the NCOA database and is current. You may also submit your mailing list to a list provider or service to have your list updated with the NCOA database. Most reputable mailing list providers will furnish you with a certificate certifying that this has been done. There are a limited number of companies licensed to use the NCOA database. This database can only be used to update existing lists and may not be used to compile mailing lists.
There is another process, CASS, that standardizes your addresses to insure exact matches to the addresses and abbreviations used by the Post Office. In addition it is a good idea to
have deceased consumers removed from your list on a regular basis. This service is also available from most list providers
You may avoid this "move update" requirement by adding "or current resident" or "current resident" after the name or on the second address line. This will allow the Post Office to deliver your mail piece to the address without regard to the name. The downside of this is that even first class mail will not be forwarded or returned to you if you use this option.
Some additional exemptions include mailing to people who have submitted their name and address to you seeking information on your services or products. Also names you have added to your mailing list within with in 95 days of your mailing. USPS address correction options can be used to meet the "move update" requirements. Such as "Return Service Requested", "Change Service Requested", and "Address Service Requested". These options have different Postal costs and requirements.
Keeping your mailing list updated will not only insure that you conform with USPS regulations, but will make sure your mailing pieces get delivered to viable, targeted prospects for your products, services and/or information. Your mailing list is the least expensive part of your mailing and making sure it is correct will save you big bucks in printing, postage and missed sales opportunities.
If you are in doubt about your mailing list or your direct mailing procedures, check with your Post Office or your mailing list provider.