Over a lovely celebratory lunch with friends, I gently teased one of them that she and her husband were a hot commodity in the direct marketing list world — as new homeowners, they would soon have valuable offers from local businesses pouring in. She chuckled with delight and mused about what she might be able to save on Bermuda shutters and bedroom linens as her husband sat in quiet contemplation calculating the ever-climbing sum of her desired purchases.
Another friend interjected with a reminder for the couple to file their change of address with the post office. Both of the new homeowners looked only half interested with the recommendation and noted they had already contacted all of the companies they do business with. Plus, the husband commented, it was a way to protect their privacy and prevent them from landing on direct marketing lists, right?
This interesting myth bubbles to the surface every so often. The thought process is that if a mover does not file a change of address, their privacy is protected since the post office is not aware of their move. While this may be the case for a limited period of time, it does not prevent public record and self-reported data sources from capturing and then reflecting the new address. This information filters to data compilers and ultimately, to direct marketing lists.
Our fine friends to the North handle things a little differently due in part to their country’s commitment toward consumer privacy. When a Canadian resident requests Mail Forwarding, the Canada Post’s change of address equivalent, the resident can decline inclusion in the associated “Mover Data Service” program. This program provides updated address details to businesses, given that they possess the resident’s correct name and previous address.
For those that opt-out, mail is forwarded to the new address for the requested time frame (4 or 12 months) and once the forwarding order expires, would be considered undeliverable as addressed.
Had you recently moved, would you be more apt to complete an official change of address with the USPS if you were given a choice to not share your new address with inquiring businesses?