33 Defining Business–to–Business Data Elements

To understand the complexity of business–to–business addressing, a strong effort has been made to identify and define the many individual data elements that can be included in a business–to–business address. Input from the business–to–business field (users and suppliers) — gathered from several industry surveys — aided in the development of the following list. The first nine data elements relate to the marketing intentions of the mailer and do not actually affect Postal Service deliverability of a piece.

The following are data elements that could be included in a business–to–business address:


Company/Contact Information

  1. Name Prefix
  1. First Name
  1. Middle Name or Initial
  1. Surname
  1. Suffix Title*
  1. Professional Title
  1. Functional Title
  1. Division/Department Name
  1. Mailstop Code

* Includes maturity (e.g., JR, SR) and professional (e.g., PHD, DDS) suffixes.

Address data elements 10 through 27 are Postal Service standardization issues for purposes of distribution and deliverability:


Distribution and Delivery Address Information

  1. Street Number
  2. Predirectional
  3. Street Name
  4. Street Suffix
  5. Postdirectional
  6. Secondary Unit Indicator
  7. Secondary Number
  8. Company Name
  9. PO Box Number
  10. City
  11. State
  12. ZIP Code
  13. ZIP+4 Code
  14. Carrier Route Code
  15. Operational Endorsement/ACS Participant Code
  16. Key Line Code
  17. Intelligent Mail Barcode
  18. Intelligent Mail Address Block Barcode

The following business address format is recommended when outputting to a mailpiece. Except as noted below, the use of a specific address line or address data element within a line is optional based on marketing intent, data availability, label size, or mailer preference. When a business address data element is not used on a mailpiece, the address data element above is positioned downward into the vacant area, thereby maintaining overall relative address data element placement on the mailpiece.


Address Data Element


Optional Endorsement Line

#BXNHJVF *********C002

Key Line Data


Intelligent Mail Address Block Barcode


Mailstop Code


Attention Line


Individual Title


Functional Title


Group, Department, Division Name


Business/Firm Name


Delivery Address Line


City, State, ZIP+4 Line

KRYTON TN 38188–0002

It is unlikely that any one business address contains all 11 of the business address data elements detailed above. The example above defines the business address data elements and their relative placement on a mailpiece. Generally, only five lines of address information are suitable for automated processing when not barcoding.

The use of a standardized business address format, standard business word abbreviations, line removal, and business address line compression logic is intended to improve the quality of matches between Postal Service and industry address improvement, hygiene, and matching services. This would include computer–based change of address and merge/purge programs and would facilitate Postal Service and commercial MLOCR recognition.

When outputting business address data elements to a mailpiece, the complete address data element, including the complete and correct spelling of each word, is preferred. In those instances where certain constraints limit the number of words or characters that can be placed on the mailpiece, the most preferred method is to replace fully spelled words with standard address and business word abbreviations. If additional reduction in lines or address data elements is necessary for application on the mailpiece, then apply the guidelines in logical order as presented in subchapter 34.

It is important to note that the application of these logical steps is the option of the mailer and is provided as a standardized approach for use when the mailer has a business need to alter the address format. It is recommended that each logical step be applied only if the additional compression offered by that step is required or desired by the mailer. The application of some logical steps could produce an output that may be unacceptable to the mailer.