Glossary of Some Direct Marketing Terms

ABOVE THE LINE (ATL) COMMUNICATION: Communication that primarily uses high-profile (high visibility) mass media like print, television, radio, outdoors, etc.

ACTION DEVICES: Techniques or elements used in the message to elicit a response by the target audience. Also referred to as Response Devices.

ACTIVE MEMBERS: Members who are eligible to receive program or brand communication by virtue of having met certain pre-defined eligibility criteria. As opposed to Lapsed or Expired Members.

AUTOMATIC CALL DIRECTOR (ACD): Computer software that receives all incoming calls and directs them to call handlers in a pre-determined manner. If all call handlers are busy, the ACD plays a pre-recorded message to that effect, till a call handler becomes free to take the next call.

AVERAGE ORDER VALUE: A simple mathematical figure arrived at by dividing the total revenue generated from a program or exercise divided by the total number of orders received under the program or exercise.

BELOW THE LINE (BTL) COMMUNICATION: Communication that primarily uses low-profile (low visibility) media such as direct mail, telephones, single-venue events, the Internet or email.

BILL ENCLOSURE: Promotional material enclosed with a bill, an invoice or a statement.

BRC / BRE: Business Reply Card / Envelope: A response format that a customer or prospect can use to write back to the company in response to a mailer, where the company pays the postal department based on the number of responses received. The BRC / BRE is usually enclosed with the mailer to facilitate cost-free response from the target recipient.

BRP: Business Reply Permit: A permit that has to be procured by a company from the postal authority to facilitate use of the BRC / BRE reply format. The postal authority issues a permit to be issued for a specific post office at which the company can receive replies in the form of BRCs or BREs.

BURST: To separate continuous form paper into individual sheets. (High-speed printing systems designed to handle regular-frequency large volume print runs like credit card or telecom bills routinely have a “burster” to separate continuous stationery into individual mailable statements).

C/A: Change of address. A notification put on mail which may have returned to the originator with a revised address of the target recipient, or any communication received from a target recipient to the communicator to notify the same.

CLEANING: Refers to the process of removing, updating or altering contact details like a name or address in a database. This may be the result of data being out of date, or being incorrectly entered in the first instance.

COLLATE: To assemble individual elements of a mailer in a precise sequence for inserting into a mailing envelope.

COMPLETED CALLS: Inbound or outbound calls, where all the required data has been collected from the respondents, or a pre-determined decision point has been reached, and that does not requiring any further calls to the target.

CONTINUOUS STATIONARY: Stationery designed for high-speed computer printing, which can later be burst or trimmed to size and collated for mailing.

COST PER INQUIRY (CPI): A mathematical value derived by dividing the total cost of a mailing or a direct-response advertisement by the number of inquiries received.

COST PER ORDER (CPO): A mathematical value derived by dividing the total cost of a direct marketing campaign by the number of orders received. Focus on orders as opposed to inquiries.

COUPON: Portion of an advertisement or promotional mailer to be completed by the customer and returned to the advertiser.

DATABASE: A structured collection, storage or presentation of specific data. A direct marketing database provides a means to contact a group of prospects as well as a method to measure responses. A database is usually purpose-specific and contains qualifying information about its members, as opposed to a list which is just a compilation of names and addresses without any qualifying or unifying criteria. (See also: Relational Databases, RDBMS).

DATA CAPTURE FORM: A form designed to capture response data in a very specific structure and format, so as to make it easy to standardize data for entry into a database. It is essential to design data capture forms and databases in sync, to optimize the data structure for future enhancements as well as analysis. Specific care also needs to be taken to ensure that capture of crucial fields like

PIN / ZIP codes is done according to tightly controlled rules.

DATA ENTRY STANDARDS: A set of rules to be followed when creating, adding, deleting, arranging, or selecting records in databases, designed to ensure uniformity and consistency across all entries made by different individuals or over time.

DEAD MAIL: Mail sent to an intended recipient that is returned to the sender without any further information on where the same can be redirected in future. This can be due to incorrect / incomplete address, or target recipient having moved, or having changed names and the updated information is not available to the sender.

DE-DUPLICATION: Elimination of duplication in names, to make sure that no matter how many times a name and address appears on a list, it will be mailed to only once. The process involves intensive standardization of data before it can be effectively de-duplicated.

DEFAULT SALUTATION: Names on a database or rented list which are incomplete or incorrect, or do not have proper titles, need to be replaced with a common salutation such as "Dear Sir/Madam", "Dear Colleague", etc.

DIRECT MARKETING: A planned system of contacts seeking to produce a lead or an order. Using any media, direct marketing requires the use of a database for the responses to be measured. Key differentiators of direct marketing from conventional communication are: Communication is one-to-one (as opposed to one-to-many), interactive (allowing for two way communication), responsive (where next communication is a specific response to a previous one) and measurable (number of responses can be precisely computed).

DIRECT RESPONSE ADVERTISING: Mass-media advertising inviting targets to respond to a specific contact point by any means where the number of responses can be measured. Mass media advertising carrying coupons, call-back numbers, post boxes or website names are all examples direct response advertising.

DUMMY: A fictitious or “control” name and address that is deliberately inserted into a list to verify how the list is being used, or to confirm final delivery of the mailer. (See also Seed.)
DUPE: The appearance of identical, repeated information in a database. Dupe is short for "duplicate".

EXPIRED MEMBERS: Former members who are no longer eligible to receive program or brand communication by virtue of having ceased to meet pre-defined eligibility criteria.

FLOATING VARIABLE: "Personalised" information that can be placed anywhere within a laser text, usually within a sentence. Used to make communication content appear highly personalized.

FREQUENCY: The number of times an individual has purchased a company’s product or service over a certain period of time. One of the key measures of customer loyalty, along with “Recency” and “Monetary Value” (the three terms are collectively referred to as RFM).

FRIEND-OF-A-FRIEND: Friend referrals. The process of known target audience members referring or providing names of other unknown friends who might also be interested in a specific advertiser's products or services. Also referred to as Member-Get-Member approach.

FULFILMENT: The complete process of complying with a customer’s response, by way of supplying goods against an order placed, or providing complete and specific information asked for by the respondent.

GIMMICK: Any attention seeking device used in communication.

HOUSE LIST: An in-house or owned mailing list developed by a company over time, based on current or former customers or inquires; usually does not contain additional data on customer / prospect behavior relating to the company’s products or services.

INBOUND TELEMARKETING: Handling an incoming call from a prospect or customer, who calls in to a number publicized through various media.

INCOMPLETE CALLS: Inbound or outbound calls, where the caller is unable to speak to a target respondent, or unable to collect all the required data, and where further calls are required.

INFLUENCER: A person who is involved in – or has a major influence on – the buying decision process, but who does not make the final buying decision.

INKJET: A type of printing process that uses very fine and controlled jets of ink onto paper to produce text and graphics. Inkjet printing is a cheaper alternative to laser printing.

INQUIRY: Someone who has asked for literature or other information about a product or service, but has not necessarily made a buying decision. Also sometimes referred to as a Lead.

INSERT: Element placed in an outgoing mailer package or invoice.

INTEGRATED MARKETING: A combination of two or more forms of marketing used to sell a product or service (eg. a direct mail campaign combined with a series of television commercials).

MAILHOUSE: Company which performs the mechanical and operational details involved with bulk mailing, including addressing, printing, collating, sorting, etc.

LIFETIME VALUE: In direct marketing, this refers to the total amount of money that the customer is expected to spend on a particular product category in his or her lifetime. If this can be ascertained (and it can be, with some effort), the objective of a brand manager would then be to direct as much of that value as possible towards his or her brand.

LIST: (Mailing List) A set of names and addresses of companies or individuals with a common interest, activity or characteristic, but without any additional qualifying or classification data.

LIST MAINTENANCE: Any method which keeps name and address records up-to-date.

LIST RENTAL: An arrangement between a list owner and a mailer, where the owner provides a set of names and addresses, for which the mailer pays one-time “rent”.

LIST SAMPLE: A set of names selected randomly from a list, to evaluate the responsiveness of the entire list. Also referred to as a Test List.

LOYALTY PROGRAM: A program to track and reward customers who continually use a company’s products or services. Rewards are usually linked to the total purchase value.

MASTER FILE: A master repository of all data, from which sub-sets of data can be extracted for specific uses. A master file is usually not used for processes, since any corruption or damage to data can result in loss of valuable data gathered over time and at a high cost.

MATCHING: Ensuring that multiple personalized elements that go into a single mail pack all relate to the same person or member code. Matching usually involves comparing name, address or a unique identification number.

MERGE & PURGE: To merge one data file with another and de-duplicate the resultant file to produce a consolidated file with no duplicated records.

MONETARY VALUE: The total value of one or more transactions carried out by a customer during a specific period of time. One of the key measures of customer loyalty, along with “Recency” and “Frequency” (the three terms are collectively referred to as RFM).

NAME ACQUISITION: The process of soliciting a response in order to obtain names and addresses for developing a mailing list. Direct response advertising in mass media is usually employed to acquire names when no list or database is readily available, or when potential targets are widely dispersed.

NESTING: Placing one enclosure within another before inserting them into a mailing envelope.

NTH NAME: A selection for a list test mailing where names are selected on the basis of the size of the test sample in relation to the size of the list.

OFFER: The terms promoting a particular product or service.

ORDER CARD: Reply card used to initiate an order through the mail.

OUTBOUND TELEMARKETING: Outward calls made by a marketer to list of phone numbers, as opposed to inbound telemarketing where the customer calls in first.

PEEL-OFF LABEL: A self-adhesive label attached to a cardboard backing sheet in a mailing piece. The label can then be removed from the mailing piece and stuck to an order card.

PENETRATION: Relationship of the number of individuals or families on a particular list compared to the total number possible.

PERSONALISATION: Printing of letters and other promotional material with details that are unique to each individual recipient (like names, addresses, transaction details, etc) that are extracted from a computerized database. Personalization has been proven to increase response levels, since such mail is seen as personal communication by the recipient, and not as “junk mail”. PHONE LIST: Mailing List compiled from names listed in telephone directories.

PIGGY-BACK: An offer that hitches a free ride with another offer.

PIN Code: Postal Identification Number Code. Each Post Office is assigned a unique PIN code which – if properly written – will allow the postal department to route mail to the specific post office within whose jurisdiction the intended recipient is located. PIN Codes are usually composed of individual alphabets or numerals for State, District / County, City, Suburb and (for larger suburbs) neighborhood.

POLY-BAG / POLY-WRAP / PLASTIC WRAP: See through plastic bag used instead of an envelope for mailing.

POP-UP: A printed piece containing a paper construction pasted into a paper fold which will "pop- up" when the fold is opened. The "pop-up" forms a three dimensional promotional illustration.

POST BOX / POST BAG: A specific numbered box or bag assigned to a company at the local post office in anticipation of a large number of mail to be received. Companies which undertake large volumes of direct mail activities usually opt for a Post Box or Post Bag into which all responses received are stored, and from which an authorized representative has to go and collect the mail and periodic intervals (Postal authorities usually do not undertake to deliver bulk responses to companies, except as a specially paid for service).

POST CARD: Single sheet self-mailers printed on card stock.

PP: Postage Paid. Refers to an envelope which does not need a stamp because it has a Royal Mail imprint.

PROSPECT: A potential buyer for a product or service who has yet to make a purchase.

PROSPECTING: Sending mail to generate leads for further sales contacts rather than trying to get immediate sales.

PROTECTED MAILING PERIOD: A period of time before and after a mailing date a list owner will not allow the same names to be mailed by anyone - except the assigned mailer.

PSM: Pre-Sorted Mail. Post offices do not usually accept bulk mail for postage unless it is pre-sorted by the postal code of the receiving post offices.

PSYCHOGRAPHICS: Characteristics or qualities used to denote the lifestyles or attitudes of prospects and customers.

PURGE: The process of removing duplicates and other unwanted names and addresses from a list or lists.

RECENCY: The most recent recorded purchase information about a customer on a database. One of the key measures of customer loyalty, along with “Frequency” and “Monetary Value” (the three terms are collectively referred to as RFM).

RECORD: Name, address and other information pertaining to a single entity (equivalent to a row in a table).

RELATIONAL DATABASE: A database that shows the relationship between various pieces of information stored about customers. The information stored can include anything from names and addresses, to a customer’s buying habits. Relational databases make updating or altering records, as well as analyzing information of a particular type a much easier task.

RDBMS: A complex set of logic and rules governing the storage of related information across multiple databases, designed to facilitate ease of storage, ease of access and ease of analysis of large amounts of data across specific parameters, in order to ascertain effectiveness of a direct marketing program. Information across the various databases is usually linked using a key field or relational field

RESPONSE CODES: Unique identifying characters used on response devices to identify the mailing list, specific version of mailing, or other differentiation within the mailing exercise.

RESPONSE RATE: Number of responses received as a percentage of total mailers sent out.

RETURN MAIL: Mail which comes back to the sender undelivered, due to a variety of reasons. Unless the reason for return mail can be identified and rectified, the record is usually tagged on the database to stop further mailings being sent to that individual. (See also Tag.)

RFM: Acronym for Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value. RFM is a formula used to evaluate the overall worth and/or loyalty of a customer to a company. Depending on the company’s objectives and product category, specific values are assigned to each of the parameters to determine the loyalty of a customer.

ROLLOUT: To continue with the actual large-scale mailing after testing a portion of the mailing list.

SEED: A name and address that is deliberately inserted into a list to verify how the list is being used, or to confirm final delivery of the mailer. (See also Dummy.)

SELECTION CRITERIA: Refers to characteristics used to identify segments or sub-groups within a list.

SELF-MAILER: A mailer designed to form an envelope when folded, thus not requiring a separate outer envelope.

SEQUENTIAL PROCESSING: Information storage. Each item must be read one at a time, going through all the preceding records to get to the next record in sequential order.

SHEET-FED FORMS: Using a standard cut form in computer printing as opposed to continuous stationery. Also called Cut-sheet Forms.

SPLIT TEST: Representative samples from the same list, used for package tests, or to test homogeneity of the list.

STEP UP: Special offers designed to get a buyer to increase his units of purchase.

TAG: To mark a record with definitive criteria so it can be used or avoided in the future.

TEASER: An advertisement or promotion planned to excite curiosity about a later advertisement or promotion.

TELEMARKETING: Using telecommunications in sales and marketing efforts.

TELESCRIPT: Telephone conversation script which a telecaller has to follow in order to maintain a specific standard and quality of contact in each call. A comprehensive telescript takes into account all possible scenarios and responses that the target can give, and provides options for the telecaller to take in each scenario. A telescript also needs to have a data capture form designed in sync, so that the telecaller can capture responses easily and accurately at each instance.

TIP-ON: An item glued to a printed piece.

TITLE ADDRESSING: Functional titles used in compiling business lists, where no individual names are available.

TRAFFIC BUILDER: A direct mail piece used mainly as a way to attract customers to the mailer's place of business.

UNIVERSE: Total number of people who might qualify for inclusion in a mailing list; where all of whom fit a single set of eligibility criteria.

UPDATE: To add the most current information to a database.

VARIABLE INFORMATION: Data that relates specifically to each individual in a database.

VERIFICATION: Sending a questionnaire or making a call to a respondent to ensure genuineness or validity of an order placed or information provided

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