Mailing List Glossary

Understanding Saturation Mail Terminology
  • Glossary
  • Carrier Route

Below are terms commonly used during the course of conducting a saturation mail campaign. If there are other terms you cannot find here, please let us know via email and we will add them.

Block Group – a subdivision of a census tract, the smallest geographical category that the US census publishes data.

BMC Bulk Mail Center – processing plant used by the USPS to distribute third class and non-preferential second-class mail in bulk form and forth-class mail in piece and bulk form.

Carrier Route – A group of addresses to which the USPS assigns the same code to aid in mail delivery. These codes are 9 digits – 5 numbers for the ZIP Code, one letter for the carrier route type and 3 numbers for the carrier route code. For example “05055R003” or “12508C007.”

CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) – A USPS approved process, which improves address deliverability and standardization.

CDS (Computerized Delivery Sequence) – A postal product that contains all addresses. A customer of the USPS may participate in this product if they have at least 90% of the addresses in a particular ZIP Code. Once certified, the USPS uses the CDS product to maintain the customer’s data.

Census Tract – Small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county. Census tracts are delineated for most metropolitan areas.

City Style Addressing – Refers to an actual street (5 Main Street) address contained in a rural route, highway contract or city route or PO Box (POB 123).

Drop Stops – A delivery point where a postal employee drops a bundle of advertising material. Ex. An apartment building = 1 drop, 100 housing units in this apartment building = 1 stop for 100 drops resulting in each address for the drop is the same.

DSF (Delivery Sequence File) – A vendor pays a licensing fee to the USPS for the privilege of having this file and providing it as a list enhancement tool. Such a vendor may take a customer’s file and cleanse it using this product – right down to validating a specific address. A vendor is not permitted to provide back to the customer addresses that the customer may be missing.

ECR (Enhanced Carrier Route) – This is a subclass to standard mail. ECR has 3 rates, Basic (at least 10 pieces), High Density (at least 125 pieces and in walk sequence order), and Walk Sequence Saturation (at least 90% of residential deliveries or 75% of all residential and business addresses).

Saturation Mail – Defined as mailing 90% of residential addresses within the route. The addresses must also be in walk sequence order. A mailer may alternately use 75% of the total residential and business deliveries.

Simplified Addresses – This is one type of delivery point that does not have an actual address such as 5 Main St. (city style address). A simplified address does not have a specific street address. Instead delivery counts are kept at the route level and represent the active number of deliveries for that route. For example a rural route has 100 active delivery points so Valassis’s List stores 100 for that route. At label production time (if labels are used) each label is identical for that route – for example: Box holder R002, 100 times.

Throw Backs – Indicates that the particular city style address receives the mail at a PO Box rather than the residential address per the customer’s request. The customer who lives at 5 Main St. also has a POB. The customer has asked the USPS to deliver their mail to their POB rather than their house.

Valassis Key™ – a 10-digit number assigned to each household in the country.

Walk Sequence – Mail is provided in the exact order in which the carrier walks or drives each route so the carrier does not need to sort the mail, which saves the USPS time and money. This savings is passed along to the mailer in the form of the lowest rate.