DEFINITION of Address Hygiene

Address hygiene refers to the precision and purity of postal addresses on a mailing list so that the items are delivered successfully. Address hygiene has a direct correlation with delivery effectiveness of a mail-out, and thus on the efficacy of a direct marketing campaign. Good address hygiene will result in a small proportion of non-delivered mail, while poor address hygiene will result in a relatively high proportion of rejected or returned mail. 

BREAKING DOWN Address Hygiene

Money spent on letters, cards, brochures, catalogs, etc. that end up in the wrong mailbox or are returned is money wasted. Marketers want to minimize waste, so they pay attention to address hygiene. There are a number of software programs that provide address hygiene services. These programs have features such as validation and correction of street addresses, standardization of street prefixes and suffixes, and identification and flagging of undeliverable addresses. Some programs also update addresses by matching them to the USPS National Change of Address database.

Email Address Hygiene

Marketers are relying less on sending out material by mail to reach their targets. Printed marketing material still lands in a consumer's mailbox, but companies find it more effective and cost-efficient to reach their target market by email. Through this modern method, companies are able to obtain "hit" results; they will know who opened a direct marketing message, and then from there they could have the means to learn what these potential buyers are interested in. Therefore, having clean (i.e., correct) email addresses is important for companies that attempt to generate sales through this marketing method.