Quick! If you had to identify the most important component of your marketing, what would you say? 

Here at PMI, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, we would say our mailing list. If you said that too then good, we’re on the right track. 

Next question: Is it getting enough love? No? Then, let’s look at some steps you should be taking to keep your mailing list in tip-top shape.

Correcting addresses 

If you do bulk mailings, the United States Postal Service requires you to run your list through NCOA (National Change of Address database) within 90 days of every mailing. So if you’re not doing that already, that’s step one. Even if your mailings don’t fall under the “bulk” category, using NCOA on a regular basis is just a good idea. It’s a secure dataset consisting of 160 million permanent change-of-address records, including businesses, that have filed with the Postal Service within the past four years. 

Signing up for enhanced change of address 

Unfortunately, NCOA is only about 80% effective because a) it only works for people who actually file their change of address with the Postal Service and b) it’s only accurate for those who have moved within the past four years. Which means you could think your address list is up to date but it could be skipping over hundreds of people on your list because they didn’t file their change of address with the Postal Service. Enhanced change of address services tap into the data from third parties and can yield 20­–40% more matches than NCOA alone, meaning you’re covering all your bases when it comes to updated addresses. 

Running your list through CASS

You should be running your list through CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) on a regular basis, as well. This corrects and matches street addresses to postal specifications like updating the zip code or adding “Street” or “Avenue” to the end of an address.

De-duping names 

It’s easy for duplicates to sneak into your mailing list (for example, Jane Smith and Jane A. Smith may be the same person), but it’s just as easy to remove them. A simple scan through to make sure nothing is duplicated saves extra space and time in your direct mail marketing. 

De-duping households 

Same idea as the step above, unless you are selling to businesses in which multiple practitioners may be at the same location (such as an office building), why send multiple direct mail pieces to the same address? A simple scan saves you from sending unnecessary duplicate emails and allows for more space for new active customers. 

Deceased suppression

Deceased suppression may be a tool you’ve never heard of before but it’s a great way to save time. Deceased suppression is a database through the Social Security Administration that flags all names and addresses in a file as deceased. It only matches based on name AND addresses so it’s important to have both. There’s also prison suppression that helps flag people who are in prison on your list as well. You don’t want to be sending marketing mail to deceased people or people in prison — it’s not a good look.  

Service endorsements 

With service endorsements, you are asking the Post Office to let you know if mail cannot be delivered because of an incorrect address. If a new address is available, the Post Office will provide it. If not, you can remove the name from your list. This helps make sure your marketing material is reaching a person, not just sitting in a mailbox. 

So, are you taking these steps to keep your mailing list up to date? Here at PMI, located in the San Francisco Bay area, we pride ourselves on offering creative marketing services, marketing fulfillment services, and more for businesses like your across the United States. If after reading our steps you need a little extra help with your mailing list, we’d be happy to help


Can your business confidently say their mailing list is accurate and verified? Do you check it regularly, daily even? If not, we’ve got 7 steps to put your mailing list in tip top shape by saving you money, time, and helping you get the marketing results you want.

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Union City, CA 94587
P 510.931.7000

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Carlsbad, CA 92011
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