There are many reasons why Americans may use a post office box as their primary address. They may live in a rural area that the post office does not serve. They may be concerned about identity theft. Or they may have a home business and prefer not to list their home address in publications.
In fact, on a search of the United States Postal Service website I found that they report that mail typically arrives faster at the boxes than a residential or business address. Their annual report for 2009 lists $911.9 million in revenue from their boxes.
If you screened prospects with a post office box primary address for wealth in the public domain, you may find that the returns may be different than what you expected. They may have low returns because they don’t send their financials to that address, or you may find more wealth information than at a typical home address because they prefer to mail their stock option reports to a secure location. A good practice is to query on the post office box addresses in your database and give them a quick scan to see if there are any obvious “outliers.”
If you are looking for more information on these prospects, try using some online websites to help you flesh out their actual home or business address. One interesting site, Infospace, can search multiple search engines to find your prospect. Infospace also has reverse phone search capabilities. Ziggs or Zoom Info can help with professional biographies or company directories. My colleague David Lamb on his “Lamb Research” website recommends the AT&T phone directory as well as Switchboard as a backup.
*Kate Lindsay Breck is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.