Automatic Call Distributor - A complex machine used in modern
call centers for incoming calls. It routes calls to available agents,
holds overflow calls, gives and takes messages, provides reports.
A must for modern database marketing.
- Address Information System - Products offered by the USPS
to assist mailers in finding correct zip codes and other current
- Automatic Number Identification. A system whereby you can
learn the number of a person who is calling you on the telephone.
Can be linked to a database to find the person's name and address.
- Army Post Office - The military post office address code for addresses
located outside the continental United States for either Army or
Air Force personnel.
- American Standard format for data storage on magnetic media (tape
- Address Sequencing Service - Service offered by the USPS to sequence
your mailing list when you provide a 3x5 index card for each address.
- As in the phrase "call abandonment". This refers to
people who, being placed on hold in an incoming call, elect to hang
up ("abandon") the call. Call centers monitor closely
the "abandonment rate" as a measure of their inefficiency.
Cost - The cost of signing up a new customer. Lifetime Value
is often used to compute the maximum allowable acquisition cost.
- A mailing list of those names who have made a purchase recently.
- In a mailing list, those names recently added in a list update.
- A computer term for the location on a disk or in memory of a piece
of information. Addresses help the computer to find things rapidly,
and to store them for later retrieval.
List - A digital list of addresses utilized for mailing. The
list may be in a wide variety of formats such as those used in Spreadsheets,
Databases, Word Processors, and Personal Information Managers.
Service Requested - One of several processes offered by the
USPS to provide change-of-address information to mailers. With this
endorsement, months 1 through 12 after the addressee has moved,
the mail piece will be forwarded at no charge. Months 13 - 18, the
mail piece will be returned with the new address attached. After
18 months, the mail piece will be returned. Past month 13 the 50¢
fee is charged per letter mail piece returned.
- People who are similar in lifestyle.
Analysis - A process of finding relationships between customer
purchases. People who buy skis buy snow tires.
Group - A demographic or psychographic classification that identifies
a record or list source.
- That segment of a market with disposable income, figured on a
formula of the local cost of living and the cost of taxes, plus
(1) - The word for a telephone operator in a modern inbound
call center in a company that takes a lot of customer service and
(2) - In mailng lists, the list broker is the agent of the list's
renter, while the list manager is the agent of the list's owner.
Often, one agent performs both functions for different lists at
letter - A letter of usage terms that the mailer signs to signal
acceptance of guidelines established by the list owner.
Delivery - Methods of delivering direct mail or sample products
to households without using the United States Postal Service.
Media - Any means of reaching consumers other than by using
solo direct mail and telemarketing including: cooperative mailings,
card decks, package inserts and free-standing inserts (FSIs), home-shopping
programs, computer online services and broadcast.
lease - An agreement that gives a mailer unlimited use of a
set of records for one year, usually at a charge of twice the one-time-use
fee per thousand.
- A university or college's graduates which, as a list, is useful
for educational fundraising.
Data - process whereby a customer file has data appended to
it (such as age, income, home value) from some external data file.
mailing date - A date set by the list owner to protect the list
from simultaneous usages.
- A type of list, or segment, made up of individuals who represent
an interest by having attended a gathering.
line - In business addresses, a prefix to a three-line address
which contains the receiver's name.
- Any distinguishing feature used to describe a file, such as demographic
information, size or date of last update.
Model - A model that predicts which customers are most likely
to leave. Usually expressed as a percentage of likelihood.
Rate - The opposite of retention rate. The percentage of customers
this year who are no longer buying next year.
report - A list of classifications for records in certain ZIP
code areas, produced to target selected neighborhoods.
- A computer process for finding the sex and appending titles (Mr.
Ms.) to a file of names.
BMC - Bulk Mail Center - A
USPS regional center for processing Standard (A), Standard (B),
and Periodical bulk mailings. BMC's are highly automated and are
the key element in the distribution chain for bulk mail.
or BRE - Business Reply Card or
Business Reply Envelope
- Business Reply Mail - Reply mail that uses a Business Reply
Permit to return mail at no charge to the addressee. Widely used
for surveys, product registration cards, and inquiry requests as
examples. Reply mail has very specific layout requirements that
normally require pre-approval by the USPS. FIM - Facing Identification
Mark A series of five or six vertical bars used by automated postal
equipment to identify, orient, and separate business reply mail.
FIM's are required in a precise location the upper right corner
of business reply mail. See the USPS "Notice 67" template
for the exact layout requirements.
boomers - Those born between 1946 and 1964, when birth rates
rose sharply, and now a popular target group for marketers.
end - As in phrase "back end analysis" refers to the
results of actions with people who have responded to your initial
cards - A consumer list attribute that selects users of credit
Code - The nine-digit ZIP code translated into a coding structure
of vertical bars and half bars used in order to speed the sorting
of mail and enabling mailers to take a discount on postage.
Clear Zone - A rectangular area in the lower right part of a
letter size mail piece that must be kept free of printing and symbols,
except the barcode itself.
Cost - basic cost per name for address lists excluding any demographic
selections. Normally stated in dollars per thousand records (names/addresses).
Multi-use lists are charged at double the base cost. Charges for
demographic selections do not double for multi-use lists.
price - In lists, the amount paid before segment selects, processing
charges and shipping costs have been added on. This is usually expressed
on a per thousand basis.
- The gathering and organizing of incoming orders.
mode - If you have received 10,000 replies to a mailing, you
can update your master file with these replies in one batch. This
is the fastest and cheapest way to update records. The opposite
is On-Line updating.
- Consumer lists which offer selection criteria on the basis of
leisure activities, often compiled from questionnaires.
Bill-me order - A method of payment allowing a person to
examine a product before making a commitment. This type of list
is usually less responsive to outside mailers than one in which
payment was made up front.
address - The address that receives the bill, as opposed to
the address that receives the shipment.
dates - A selectable feature on consumer lists, often shortened
to edob for "exact date of birth."
- If a byte is like an atom in computer language, a bit is like
an electron. A bit is either on or off. It is either a 1 or a zero.
Eight bits make up one byte.
- The smallest reported unit in the 1990 U.S. Census. About 14 households
in a block.
group - The smallest reported unit in the 1980 U. S. Census.
About 340 households on average.
group or subblock - A demographic area defined by the U.S. Census,
consisting of a few hundred households.
back - The practice of sending another identical (or similar)
catalog back to someone who has just ordered something from one
of your catalogs.
Managers - Most packaged goods companies organize themselves
by brand. The brand manager is responsible for advertising, marketing
and sales of the product. The brand manager is typically the main
obstacle to database marketing which is customer focused rather
than product focused.
commission - A percentage of a list's rental cost that the list
owner pays to the list manager broker for arranging the marketing.
Commissions are frequently negotiable, but are often set at 20%.
- Errors that crop up in software. Caused by inability of programmers
to predict all possible ways that the code in their programs will
be used to process data.
list - A list of corporations or other professional entities,
or employee lists.
overlays - Demographic data that is added to an existing business
customer file, such as job classification, number of employees or
universe - The complete list of all businesses and professional
entities in a given geographic area.
- A person or group that has purchased a product or service. In
mailing lists, a selection that indicates the segment of a list
that has purchased products by mail.
- A unit of computer memory. One letter or number is a byte. A byte
is usually composed of eight bits.
Accuracy Support System - Created
by the U.S. Postal Service to ensure the accuracy of software programs
used by service bureaus to check addresses and code mailings for
- Chief financial officer. The
man in charge of budgets.
- Customer Information File usually in banks and financial institutions.
A consolidation of many different accounts held by a household or
individual, used for marketing purposes.
- Collect On Delivery - A service offered by the USPS , and other
shippers, where an item may shipped and payment for the item is
collected upon delivery and returned to the shipper.
- Cost per inquiry
- Cost per order
- Central Processing Unit. The heart of a mainframe.
- Carrier Route - A mail delivery route defined for a USPS postal
carrier. Reduced postage rates are offered for bulk mailers who
sort their mail by carrier route and thereby save the pos office
processing time. There are several "schemes" for carrier
route sorts that offer different discounts on postage.
center - The word for an inbound telephone division in a company.
The operators are called Agents. The call center uses an ACD (automatic
call distributor) to manage the calls efficiently.
Center - A site that houses an outbound telemarketing operation.
Tracking Keeping - track of what happened to customer calls.
- The opening and sorting of orders and the handling of checks
and cash. So called, as people work in cages for security purposes.
- In list ordering, a canceled order, usually with only a "run
charge - The amount of money a list owner requires a mailer
to pay if an order is canceled.
owner - In consumer lists, a way of targeting consumers via
car registration data, including number of cars owned, brand, age
Deck - A cooperative pack of postcards, usually mailed in a
clear poly outer, that is used in both consumer and business-to-business
direct marketing. The postcard, which either orders the product
or asks for more information, can be mailed back to the individual
advertiser. A cooperative mailing consisting of a number of small
business reply cards, each a different lead generator.
- A data storage format with greater storage capacity than reel-to-reel
magnetic tape and that comes in a smaller and more efficient size.
buyer - A purchaser who sends payment with order. This represents
a degree of commitment that makes such individuals ideal prospects
for many types of mailers.
- The direct-mail component of a retail organization.
buyer - A purchaser who bought from a catalog.
- A small, thin disc identical to a music cd, containing data
in a read-only format, meaning the user can not save changes to
code - After completing RFM analysis, every customer is assigned
a Cell Code which identifies her recency frequency and monetary
level of buying. The cell code is often used in mailing. Sometimes
used interchangeably with the term Source Code. RFM Stands for Recency,
Frequency, Monetary. It is a method for segmenting or rating your
customers. The best customers are those who have bought from you
recently, buy many times, and in large amounts.
tract - A segment of a ZIP code consisting of about 1,000 households,
designated by the U.S. Census.
of address - A recent mover, often used as a means of compiling
names or as a selection within a list.
Service Requested - An ancillary service offered by the USPS.
A separate notice of new address or reason for non-delivery is returned
to the sender. The mail piece is disposed of by the USPS. A fee
of 50¢ is charged per piece.
copy - A copy of a mailing or phone list used to track response.
or cheshire label - Mailing labels on a paper printout which
are affixed by machine with adhesives, as opposed to pressure-sensitive
or sticky labels that are affixed by hand. A type of plain paper
label used in mailing. Requires a Cheshire machine to affix to mailing
material. The most common computer label.
- The thing in the center of a computer that makes it work. On a
PC a 486 chip is a fast chip. A Pentium 4 is many times faster.
Faster and faster chips keep coming out. Chips are the size of your
fingernail, and hold millions of circuits shrunk by photographic
methods to tiny size.
- The practice of customers switching to another supplier based
on special discount offers. Particularly used in the cellular telephone
or credit card industries.
Names - A process whereby names and addresses on a customer
or prospect list are corrected (addresses standardized; zips corrected;
spelling and punctuation corrected, duplicates consolidated, phone
numbers are appended, and phone verify etc.)
- A way of dividing all households in the country into about sixty
different types, such as "Blue Blood Estates" and "Shotguns
and Pickups." Usually called lifestyle groups. Useful for file
segmentation. Clustering systems are provided by Claritas, Equifax,
Donnelley, CACI. In Canada by Compusearch.
Database Management - Professional management of large compiled
databases for list segmentation and rental.
- A process where different kinds of mail are mixed together and
sorted by destination address in order to generate savings in postage.
Period - The number of years from now that you can safely project
customer lifetime value. The period is short for products that soon
Service Bureaus - A company that will maintain lists for list
owners. Services may include: updating the list, merge/purge, data
overlays and preparing the list for mailing or rentals.
Agreement - An agreement which precedes any contract with an
outsourcing agency. It says that your secrets will not be revealed
- A mailing to the same list following a successful test of
a portion of the list. A continuation becomes a "rollout"
when the entire list is mailed.
Continuity Program - Products or services bought as a series
of small purchases, rather than all at one time. Book of The Month
Club, or other products shipped on a regular schedule.
Group Every - database promotion should include a control group
of customers who are not exposed to the promotion. The success of
the promotion is measured by the difference in response of the promoted
group compared to the control group (after subtracting the cost
of the promotion).
- A device for managing the data input and output from several devices
which are connected with a mainframe. These devices can include
terminals or disks or tape drives. Controllers usually have a small
computer inside them which permits them to manage the flow of instructions
from the computer to the units in an organized way. They make the
computer more powerful.
rate - The percentage of responders who become customers.
mailing - A mailing in which two or more offers -- usually from
different companies -- are included in the same envelope, and share
Advertising (Co-Op) - Advertising (including direct mail, inserts,
stuffers, card decks) where offers from several different mailers
Broker - A person/company who recommends and takes orders for
marketers who want to be part of a cooperative effort.
Manager - A person/company who sells space in the co-op for
the cooperative owner.
Owner - A company that brings different marketers together into
a co-op effort. Services may include: printing the individual inserts,
combining them and mailing them to preselected lists.
- The text of your direct mail piece.
- A promotional device used by marketers to increase sales or store
traffic by offering a discount when the coupon is redeemed.
- Encouraging customers to buy products from other departments or
report - A database report designed by the marketing staff which
exactly meets the marketing needs of the company. Once programmed,
it can be run daily or weekly for very little cost.
Publisher - Any publisher who will, for a fee, create a publication
for a direct marketer that is most-often used for self-promotion
or as a premium.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - Providing better
communication, offers and services to customers by evaluating your
previous interactions with them.
DBA - Database
Administrator. A person who controls a marketing database. The DBA
should be someone from marketing or sales who has the budget for
sold - Abbreviation for direct mail sold.
Direct Marketing Association - The chief national trade association
for direct marketers, with local affiliates in many cities.
MPS - See Mail Preference Service Mail
preference service - A program provided by the Direct Marketing
Association that allows consumers to request that their address
be removed from all DMA mailing lists.
TPS - See Telephone Preference Service
Telephone Preference Service (DMA TPS) : A service of the
Direct Marketing Association for consumers who want to have their
names removed from telemarketing lists.
- Delivery Point Barcode - A POSTNET barcode that consists of 62
bars with beginning and ending frame bars and 5 bars each for the
nine digits of the ZIP +4 code, the last 2 digits of the primary
street address number (or post office box, etc.), and a correction
digit. The DPBC allows automated sortation of mail to the carrier
level in walk sequence.
- Destination Sectional Center Facility - A rate available for Standard
Mail (A) and Periodicals that is properly prepared and entered by
the mailer at the sectional center facility (SCF) that serves the
delivery address on the mail.
<data, data processing, jargon> /day't*/ (Or "raw
data") - Numbers, characters, images, or other method of recording,
in a form which can be assessed by a human or (especially) input
into a computer, stored and processed there, or transmitted on some
digital channel. Computers nearly always represent data in binary.
Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind
of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.
People or computers can find patterns in data to perceive information,
and information can be used to enhance knowledge. Since knowledge
is prerequisite to wisdom, we always want more data and information.
But, as modern societies verge on information overload, we especially
need better ways to find patterns. Factual information, especially
information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.
Computer Science. Numerical or other information represented in
a form suitable for processing by computer. Values derived from
scientific experiments. Plural of datum.
1234567.89 is data.
"Your bank balance has jumped 8087% to $1234567.89" is
"Nobody owes me that much money" is knowledge.
"I'd better talk to the bank before I spend it, because of
what has happened to other people" is wisdom.
Enhancement - A process whereby a customer file has data appended
to it (such as age, income, home value) from some external data
file. See overlay.
entry - Also called Keypunching. Entering names and addresses
and other data into magnetic media such as tape.
integrity - An estimation of undetected errors in a data file.
overlays - See Overlays. The matching
of two or more lists that contain the same names or addresses but
where one list adds additional data such as demographics or geographics
to the other.
Overlays - See List Services Overlays
- Using a list that is rich in data to augment information in another
list with the same names. Overlays can add phone numbers, job titles
or demographic or psychographic information. File tagging - The
sometimes unauthorized addition of data to house lists from another
- A collection of data in an organized, searchable matrix that allows
database users to reorganize and extract the data in multiple forms.
A file that is maintained on a computer comprised of pertinent information
such as a company's prospects or customers. The file can serve multiple
applications and be manipulated for various purposes. The following
definitions apply to databases used for direct marketing.
Analysis - Interpreting information within the database in order
to gain customer insight and improve marketing efficiency.
Management / Commercial - Professional management of large compiled
databases for list segmentation and rental.
Marketing Collecting - data on customers and using it to provide
recognition and services to customers, resulting in increased customer
loyalty and repeat sales.
Modeling - Using statistical techniques in order to predict
future customer behavior.
Entry - The entering of names, addresses and other information
into a data storage and retrieval system. Data can be entered via
manual keying, electronic data transfer or by scanning.
of birth - A demographic variable available on many mailing
lists, created using overlays of driver's license information.
of compilation - An important date to ask for when ordering
a compiled list, along with the source of the compilation. The older
the list, the greater the probability of errors.
stamp - The date of a response or order, used in list response
tracking and as source information in a customer database.
- One tenth of a mailing, usually divided by percentage of response.
- A unique name added to a mailing list used to spot unauthorized
use of the list. See Seed name. Seed name or Seeding False or "dummy"
names are added to a mailing list as a way to check delivery and
to uncover any unauthorized list usage.
Dupe - Identifying and consolidating duplicate names usually
done in a merge/purge operation.
- Obsolete or incorrect information that is expunged from a file.
- The percentage of addresses in a list which will result in successfully
delivered mail when sent standard or bulk class.
guarantee - In compiled lists but usually not response lists,
a guarantee by the list owner to pay the postage of undeliverable
or "nixie" mails.
date - The date that a list renter requires a list to arrive
at a mail shop.
Delivery Sequence File (DSF) - See List
Services Delivery Sequence File. A computerized file of more
than 125 million records containing all the addresses the U.S. Postal
Service serves throughout the U.S. Each address record features
ZIP+4, carrier route, delivery sequence, delivery type and seasonal
delivery information that can help mailers maintain accurate and
complete addresses on the lists they own and rent as well as code
their mail for walk sequence discounts from the postal service.
- Demographic data usually refers to the data which the Census Bureau
or Canada Stats collects on a neighborhood such as income, education
level, etc. This data can be appended to a household record. It
isn't necessarily accurate for any particular household since it
is the average for households in that block. But it is usually the
only data available. Social and economic information about human
populations including age, sex, income, education, type of residence,
ownership of cars, etc.
Selections - Descriptive information about a household that
is used to target lists for direct marketing. A range of selectors
available to use when specifying an address list. Demographic selectors
may include age, income, gender, and special interests such a mail
order buyers, credit card holders, etc.
- The number of mail addresses in a given geographic area.
Color Proofing - An off-press color proof produced from digital
data without the need for separation films.
line - A type of telephone transmission service that is much
more reliable than the normal analog line. All data is converted
into bits before it is transmitted. A regular telephone line is
called an Analog Line.
Rate - The amount by which any future dollar amount must divided
to produce the net present value of the amount. The formula is DR
= (1 + i)n where i = market rate of interest and n = number of years.
The interest rate is usually doubled in the formula to account for
access - A disk is a direct access device. Tape drives are not
direct access because to find data on them, you have to read all
the way through thousands of records to find the one you want. With
direct access, you have all data stored at particular addresses.
You can access each piece of data directly.
Cost Percent - The percentage of revenue that is applied to
the cost of the product plus overhead, fixed costs, etc.
Mail - Another name for advertising mail sent to targeted prospects
or markets. Direct mail can be sent via any postage rate but is
usually sent Standard (A).
Direct Marketing - a sub-discipline and type of marketing. There are two main definitional characteristics which distinguish it from other types of marketing. The first is that it attempts to send its messages directly to consumers, without the use of intervening media. This involves commercial communication (direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing) with consumers or businesses, usually unsolicited. The second characteristic is that it is focused on driving purchases that can be attributed to a specific "call-to-action." This aspect of direct marketing involves an emphasis on trackable, measurable positive (but not negative) responses from consumers (known simply as "response" in the industry) regardless of medium.
Direct Marketing Association - The chief national trade association
for direct marketers, with local affiliates in many cities.
Marketing Interactive - marketing that produces a measurable
response or purchase. The data is stored on a database.
Response Advertising - Any form of advertising that is capable
of creating a measurable response to a promotion, or a promotion
that seeks not just to provide information, but to generate an inquiry,
order or visit.
- Often alphabetical listings of residents or members, used for
Magnetic - disks are attached to computers. They hold information
(records) which can be retrieved very rapidly if the computer knows
the address of the information on the disk (Direct Access). In relational
databases, the address of records and information within records
are kept on indexes which make access to the records very rapid.
income - The amount of earnings that is more than 30% above
the local cost of living plus taxes - The money targeted by marketers.
See Affluents. Affluents - That segment
of a market with disposable income, figured on a formula of the
local cost of living and the cost of taxes, plus 30%.
- A term for any sort of data storage that is round. Hard disks
are made of metal and are encased inside the computer's hardware.
Floppy disks are flimsy magnetic material encased in plastic. Compact
disks are read by laser, like music CDs.
- A form of magnetic data storage, once common in 5 1/4" size,
now almost exclusively available in 3 1/2" size.
- One of the selection factors for a direct-response customer file.
Can be measured as dollars per item, dollars per year, etc.
list - People or companies who have made a donation to a nonprofit
or fundraising promotion.
- Copying information to your computer's hard drive from a source
on a network, bbs or the internet.
- Moving a function from a mainframe computer to a smaller computer
such as a Mini, a LAN or a PC.
license - A source used by compilers of consumer data to capture
Dual address - Mailing to both the ship-to address and the
bill-to address of a catalog response list.
name - See Seed name. Seed name or Seeding False or "dummy"
names are added to a mailing list as a way to check delivery and
to uncover any unauthorized list usage.
- A printout that accompanies a data tape, showing the first hundred
records. To show the format that the records are in. Printed display
of the contents of a tape or data file. You should look at a dump
of some records in our customer database to check accuracy.
- A record that has been identified as an exact copy of another
record and has been deleted from a list.
- The same name occurring twice or more on the same file. All very
large databases contain duplicates because name or address spelling
may vary slightly. Good service bureaus can reduce but never totally
Factor - The % of names on one list that are also on another
list. It is a measure of affinity in the lists.
type - Single family units and multi-family dwellings, the two
types of housing on consumer lists.
- Enhanced Carrier Route (Line of Travel) Mailings in which pieces
must be part of a group of 10 or more to one carrier route, prepared
in line of travel sequence. The mailing list must be CASS certified
within the past 3 months and pre-sorted with PAVE certified software.
LOT mail is sorted in the order in which the carrier actually delivers
- Electronic Data Transfer: Transmitting information over a network.
- Messages sent from one person to another, or to a large group
of people, through a computer network or the internet.
check - A software process whereby data to be entered into a
marketing database is checked for logic before it goes into the
- An authorized marking on a mail piece that shows handling instructions,
a service, or a request for an ancillary service.
Carrier Route - A rate class for Standard (A) mail that requires
the mail pieces to be pre-sorted by Line-of-Travel, High Density,
or Walk Sequence. Usually provides the grea
- Appending demographic or lifestyle data to a list. See List
lists - Lists sorted by surname into supposed ethnic groups.
Driven Programs - Database programs which are triggered to produce
output (usually communications) based on events: a birthday letter,
anniversary letter, thank you letter, etc.
- A list swap between mail order companies, to cross-sell like products
to each others' lists.
- People who have made a purchase in the past but not within the
time period the list owners consider "active;" also, subscribers
who have not renewed their subscription.
- A system for creating a sequential file from a relational marketing
database. The extract can be used for preparing reports, or for
sending data to other companies for their use.
First-Class Mail A class of mail that includes all matter wholly
or partly in writing or typewriting, all actual and personal correspondence,
all bills and statements of account, and all matter sealed or otherwise
closed against inspection.
- File transfer protocol: a means of downloading and uploading files
between two different computers on the internet.
- In a consumer file, those households that are composed of family
groups, usually with children.
- In a database, the text entry area for any sort of information.
Fields have fixed or variable lengths, and any record in a database
will have consistent field structure.
length - The number of characters allowed for any field in a
- A collection of information, text, image or both, saved with a
name that will allow it to be reopened by a computer program.
layout - In a database, the number, name and length of data
fields used to store information for each record. Fixed-field layouts
have consistent character lengths for each field, while varable-length
layouts use the actual number of characters that are entered.
buyer - A customer on a list who has made only one purchase.
Marketing plans focus on generating first-time buyers, while customer
retention programs focus on converting first-time buyers to regular
ZIP code - A numeric code that designates the specific post
office that serves the mail recipient. Mail that is sorted by ZIP
code in advance qualifies for postal discounts.
field - Organization of a tape or data file in which each group
of data (such as name, address, city, zip) has a fixed location
and length within the file.
- In data processing, a computerized method that identifies data
added to a file by a given mailer or list segment usage.
- The general term for flat sized mail. In Standard (A) mail a flat
is a mail piece that is larger than 11 1/2" length and 6 1/8"
width. The rate schedule also varies based on the weight of the
file - Another name for a sequential name file. Contrasted with
a database file (not flat because of the indexes).
rate - In lists, a price that is set for use of the total number
of names available, often used for lists with too small a quantity
for per thousand list rentals.
disk - See Disk.
group - A group of customers who are assembled together by an
advertising agency in a conference room to discuss a particular
product. Useful for learning what the public thinks of your product
or message or company.
- The predetermined arrangement of data or elements, whether in
a database or for a direct mail package. The way data (name and
address) is organized on a disk or tape. There is no standard format.
Every company has their own.
buyer - see Expires.
address - A business address that uses a separate line for the
recipient's name and title.
cheshire label - The standard format for printing out mailing
labels that takes its name from having four columns of names and
addresses printed across a computer page. These labels are mechanically
affixed to the mailing piece unlike the gummed or self-stick variety.
- A term for how many times a person buys from you. A way of measuring
multiple purchases by a buyer, offered as a select for catalog list
- The process of responding to a customer request with literature
or product. Fulfillment usually outsourced to a fulfillment house.
All activities involved in the processing and servicing of mail,
FAX and telephone orders.
Fulfillment refers to the sorting and qualifying of leads,
sending the appropriate information, and, if outsourced, forwarding
leads to the marketer for follow-up.
Fulfillment is a specialized service for periodical publishers.
Services include: maintaining the subscriber list, generating
invoices and renewals and recording payments.
Fulfillment is the storage and shipping of samples and merchandise.
lists - Lists of proven and prospective donors to fund-raising
Galley list -
A page print out for the purpose of prospecting. The format often
contains other information, captured by the list owner, than would
be put on mailing labels such as phone numbers and credit rating.
select - The identifiable male or female portion of a list that
can be separated out from the total. Selecting by gender enables
a mailer whose promotion appeals to one sex to improve rates of
response to a mailing.
selects - In lists, choosing a group of names based on regions.
This could be done by selecting State, SCF, ZIP code or other computer
fields of information to narrow down to a specific area.
: The process of appending latitude and longitude coordinates to
a database record so it can be properly placed on a geographical
- A system for assigning a census code to any name and address.
Once a file is geocoded, you can append census data (income, race,
etc.) to the records and assign cluster codes.
- Census data that can be appended to a household file once it has
been geocoded. Includes such factors as income, education, home
type, etc. Derived from the neighborhood of the household. Same
buyer - A type of list, or segment, made up of people who bought
gifts for others. Certain lists consist of both those who have paid
for and those who received a product.
A billion bytes (characters) - A measure of the size of mainframe
disk storage. A typical mainframe shop will have 100 gigabytes or
more. "Her database used over 35 gig!"
of payment - An alternative to prepayment in which the list
owner requires the list user to sign a letter stating payment will
be made within a specified time after the mail date.
- Computer and disks, tape drives, printers, and other gear that
are plugged into computers.
charge - An additional charge tacked onto a sale or rental agreement,
to cover shipping and data entry costs. Often added to special list
copy - A printout of data in paper form, or the original printed
source data for data entry into electronic form.
buyer - Those who have recently purchased homes, usually separated
on consumer lists from long-term home owners.
line - The "hottest" leads on a list, usually those
who have recently made a purchase by mail.
File - The organization's own file of active and former customers.
lists - Lists that are created and maintained in-house, from
white mail, subscribers or buyers, etc.
Households - Homes, as opposed to non-households (offices,
schools and government addresses, for example).
Number - A number assigned to a record to help to relate it
to other records in the computer which have the same ID.
Information Systems (Also MIS) - the part of the company responsible
for the central data processing operations.
- process whereby a customer identifies himself with the company
which provides him with products or services
buyers - The portion of a list
which has not shown any purchasing activity for a set period of
- A demographic selection factor on consumer lists, selectable in
- Imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment.
The indicia must contain the Class of postage (i.e. First Class,
Presorted Std), the words US Postage, & Paid, the post office
city where the permit is held, and the number of the permit. The
indicia should be placed where a stamp would normally be placed.
- A mailing that goes to one specific recipient, as opposed to "occupant"
Jet Printing - Superheated dots of ink are sprayed from an ink
reservoir on the printhead to form full characters.
- A request for a sample, catalog or more information.
buyers - Purchasers who split the total price of a product up
and divide it evenly over periodic payments, usually monthly.
lists - Consumer lists compiled by insurance companies based
on the type and amount of insurance owned.
marketing - Sales that take place via computer, with the buyer
learning about and making purchasing decisions about products online.
Voice Response - See Telemarketing Services
duplicate - An address record that appears on more than one
duplicates - An address record that appears more than once on
the same list.
records - Records with errors that make them unusable, and which
often must be removed from a list and manually fixed.
- 1) used in relational databases to help to find common data in
thousands of records. An index for income could help find all the
customers whose income was between $25K and $35K. Using an index
you can query a file of 10 million customers and find out how many
women aged 60+ bought more than $200 in the last 6 months, and do
it in 5 seconds. 2) A statistical term for relating the value of
two sets of numbers. If one group had a response index of 100 and
another had 120, the second group had 20% more replies than the
first one. The average of any group always has an index of 100.
- In business-to-business, executives who have the authority to
make or influence a purchase.
- The process of maintaining a database: nightly backup, cleaning,
merge/purge, deduplication, update, etc.
Junk Mail - Derogatory term for direct mail advertising. See
Direct mail advertising.
- Or Match Key -- a combination of numbers and letters usually beginning
with the zip code, which is used as a rough household duplicate
- Optional mailer information printed in or above the address
or in the lower left corner of the envelope. Under some postage
payment systems, the keyline is a required line that contains specific
information about the mail piece.
code - A code that appears on response cards to identify the
mailing when responses are mailed back, in order to track and analyze
the effectiveness of the mailing.
code, generic - Response codes that help track the effectiveness
of different media in a multi-media campaign.
- To delete an electronic record or file.
file - A file of names, used by a mailer, to eliminate undesirable
contacts from a mailing list. This could be a list of people who
have a pattern of nonpayment.
LACs - A
service that converts "old style" addresses such as rural
routes to the new federally mandated "city style" street
- Local Area Network. A system for linking several PCs into a single
system with a File Server PC that keeps a central database. Some
databases are located on LANs.
- Letters A code used on mail container labels that identifies the
contents as letter-size mail (mail, including cards, that do not
exceed any parameter for letter mail).
- Paper printed with a name and address that is affixed to a mailing
piece and serves as the mailing address vehicle. Different types
of labels include: peel-off or pressure-sensitive labels, gummed
labels and paper (or Cheshire) labels.
Printing - Similar to a photocopy machine, the laser printer
uses a laser beam, toner and fuser to "etch" the image
onto a photoelectric drum.
charge - A charge imposed by list owners for list rentals not
paid by the agreed date.
- A sketch of a proposed piece, the first step in the design process.
- A prospect who has responded is called a Lead.
Conversion Rate - The percentage of leads which become customers.
generation - A method of getting responder names without getting
a payment, such as by sending away for a free gift, or calling an
800 number. A mailer who uses a lead generation package will often
be required to pay a surcharge.
Tracking - The process of keeping up with what has happened
to a lead (prospect who has expressed an interest in your product
or service). Lead tracking is very difficult because salesmen hate
to report on the status of leads.
of residence - A selection feature on many lists compiled from
vehicle registration or telephone directory data.
- An independent company that handles all the details of printing
and mailing letters. A company that will assemble and insert the
various printed elements of a direct mail piece, label, sort, tag
and deliver the mailings to the post office for mailing. The lettershop
will provide the mailer with written proof of delivery to the U.S.
Mail Piece - In Standard (A), a mail piece that is less than
6 1/8" x 11 1/2" in size, less than 1/4' thick, and weighs
less than 3.2873oz. Letter piece must also have an aspect ration
0f 1.3 to 2.5 inclusive.
- data about a neighborhood comes from clustering. If a significant
number of people in a given cluster have taken a foreign trip, it
is assumed that all similar households have done this. It is a lifestyle
attribute. Included are magazines read, TV programs watched, etc.
selectivity - Lists based on surveys that offer information
on consumer's interests and hobbies, to ensure well-targeted mailings.
value - The contribution to overhead and profit made by a customer
during her total relationship with your company. Abbreviation: LTV.
affinity - Matching a promotion's offer to the available mailing
Broker - A go-between who matches list owners and list renters
for a commission paid by the list owner. A list specialist hired
by a mailer to make the necessary arrangements to use other companies'
lists. Brokerage services usually include: research, list selections,
recommendations and logistics so that the rented lists arrive at
the proper time. The standard commission to a list broker is 20
maintenance - Keeping a mailing list current through correcting
and updating the addresses and other data. The ongoing process of
keeping a mailing list up-to-date by adding, editing and deleting
Manager - Whereas a list broker works for a mailer, the list
manager works for the list owner. The primary function is to promote
the list to mailers and list brokers for list rental. List managers
can be either an internal employee of the list owner, or part of
an outside list management company paid a commission by the list
owner. Management services usually include: marketing of the list,
coordinating and controlling rental activity and accounting. The
standard commission for a list manager is 10 percent.
monitoring - A list owner's means of ensuring that a mailing
conforms to the agreed-upon mail date, package description and rental
agreement, using decoys or seed names.
payment - The amount paid for rental of a list, either directly
to the list owner or through a broker.
performance - The response rate for a given segment of a list.
protection - Guarding the value of a list with seed names and
rental - The process of renting (for one time use, or other
periods) a list of names of customers owned by some other organization
for an agreed upon cost per thousand.
Data Overlays - The matching of two or more lists that
contain the same names or addresses but where one list adds
additional data such as demographics or geographics to the other.
Sequence File - A computerized file of more than 125 million
records containing all the addresses the US Postal Service serves
throughout the US Each address record features ZIP+4, carrier
route, delivery sequence, delivery type and seasonal delivery
information that can help mailers maintain accurate and complete
addresses on the lists they own and rent as well as code their
mail for walk sequence discounts from the postal service.
- Any additional information that can be appended to a list
to increase its value to the mailer.
- The process of combining two or more lists into one while,
at the same time, identifying and removing any duplicates.
Preference Service (DMA MPS) - The Direct Marketing Association
(DMA) offers a service for individuals who want their names
removed from mailings lists so they will stop receiving direct
Change of Address (NCOA) - A service provided by the US
Postal Service, through licensed computer service bureaus, that
enables mailers to make any necessary address corrections prior
to their mailing being dropped. The mailer provides a magnetic
tape that is run against the national change of address bank
and then is returned to the mailer with all the corrections
Names - The number of names remaining after a merge-purge
eliminates all duplicates.
- The qualities or characteristics of individuals which indicate
lifestyle, purchasing habits, attitudes and personal values.
- False or "dummy" names are added to a mailing list
as a way to check delivery and to uncover any unauthorized list
segment - A group within a list that can be more responsive
for a mailer than the entire list.
select - See List segment.
source - How names were generated that were put on a mailing
list. This could be from direct mail, TV ads, space ads or any other
media. When mailing to lists of responders to the same product,
the source of a list can influence returns.
Customer - loyalty is measured as Retention. A loyal customer
is one who keeps buying from you.
Programs Rewards - that encourage customers to keep being customers
longer, or to purchase more.
M - An abbreviation for a thousand,
as in sheets of paper or names on a mailing list.
(Multi Family Dwelling units) - The acronym used with address
lists for apartments type dwellings.
(Millions of Instructions Per Second) - A measurement of the relative
speed of a Mainframe computer.
(Management Information Systems) - This term is used in many companies
to refer to the data processing staff that runs the central company
- Abbreviation for mail order buyer
- Abbreviation for merge-purge.
- The primary vehicle of a direct response advertising campaign,
often combined with space ads, telemarketing and online efforts.
- The organization who arranges and pays for a mailing.
date - The target date for a mailing to deliver to the post
office, from which mailers backtrack to determine other production
dates, such as printing and copy and art approval.
list - The names and addresses of individuals, businesses or
other institutions that have common characteristics making them
suitable targets for specific promotions.
list - A list of customers or prospects used to mail catalogs
or sale announcements. It is not a marketing database because it
does not provide for a two-way communication with customers.
monitoring - Seeding mailing lists with
addresses of the mailers, in order to judge how long pieces take
to reach the recipients and to flag the mailer to unauthorized use
of the list. Mailers track their mail in order to verify content
within the direct mail package and to determine the length of delivery
order - A mail-generated sale of a product or service.
piece - All the components of a mailing. Also called mail package.
preference service - A program provided by the Direct Marketing
Association that allows consumers to request that their address
be removed from all DMA mailing lists.
response - Any sort of reply to a mailing. Mail responses are
not always accompanied by payment. They could be individuals who
answer a questionnaire or send any other reply. A mailer is given
ownership of all responses to a mailing. See Lead
generation and No's.
shop - An independent company which specializes in preparing
materials for mailing. They affix labels, sort for bulk rates, prepare
bagtags, insert in postal bags.
storage - Any magnetic medium such as a disk or tape used to
store digital information.
tape - A plastic-based material with a coating of magnetic particles.
- The largest computers used in business applications. They require
raised floors, special air conditioning. Mainframes are recommended
for marketing databases because of their power, input-output capability
and speed measured in MIPS.
- A set of potential buyers for a product.
Penetration - The percentage of buyers you have as compared
with the total households or businesses in the area you have selected
as your market. The ratio of the potential buyers reached by a mailing
to the total number of potential buyers in an area.
Research - Statistical analysis of customer data to draw overall
conclusions as a basis for action.
Marketing - Selling to everyone through mass media such as radio,
TV, or a newspaper, as opposed to database marketing which is aimed
at a small selected audience.
Masterfile - The total house list of an organization, which
is split into numerous segments for in-house mailing or rental to
code - A keyline. An extract of the name and address used to
identify a specific record. Used in de-duping.
- All the means available to market to people. This spans broadcast
media such as online computer ads, radio or TV and includes printed
forms of advertising such as direct mail or magazine ads. Any form
of communication that reaches the general public and carries advertising.
Direct response media would include: space advertising, direct mail,
TV, radio, take-ones, card decks, package inserts, cooperative efforts,
on-line shopping services.
Communications - channels that convey messages, such as radio,
TV, magazines, direct mail.
- Singular for media.
- A million bytes. Disks are rated in megabytes.
- Those who belong to an organization or association, or who subscribe
to a club-like service.
- The amount of information that a computer can hold in its head
while it is doing work. The more memory, the faster a computer can
work, and the more complicated programs it can handle. New computers
today have 32 megabytes of memory, which can be expanded.
- To combine two or more lists into a single list and sort them
together, generally by ZIP code.
- A software system used to merge many different input tapes in
differing formats and put them into a common format for a mailing.
Merge/Purge detects duplicates. The process of combining separate
address lists and removing duplicate records, also known as de-duping.
- Another name for a PC.
- A price for low list quantities on lists that are usually sold
per thousand names.
- A statistical technique whereby you determine which pieces of
data in your customer database explains the behavior of your customers.
The output of a model is a series of weights which can be multiplied
by customer data (income, age, length of residence) to create a
score which predicts likelihood to respond to an offer.
- A device permitting a PC or terminal to send information over
a telephone line. You have to have a modem at both ends. Modems
are rated in Baud rate.
- A small switch on a wheel used to control a PC
- A person who crops up on two or more independent rented lists.
Multi-buyers usually respond better to a direct offer than other
Regression - A statistical technique used in modeling whereby
you develop a formula which explains the relationship between several
variables in explaining customer behavior.
rate - The rate of changes of address for any given geographic
location, measured as a percentage of the population.
Update - Processing your list through an approved NCOA correction
service to qualify for the July 1 USPS regulations. This process
updates your address list with the NCOA addresses to ensure that
your list is as current as possible.
- Identical records that appear on two or more customer lists, identified
through a merge-purge.
- See Multiple dwelling.
buyers - Customers who have purchased from one company more
than once, usually a select offered on a mailing list.
dwelling - A housing unit that requires an apartment number
because of the number of families that live at one address.
Name - An individual entry on a mailing list.
removal - The suppression of names using the DMA's mail preference
service list of consumers that prefer not to receive mail offers.
- National change of address- a file maintained by the U.S. Postal
Service with new addresses of those who have recently moved and
notified the post office of their new address. Commercial vendors
who are licensed by the U.S. Postal Service can match a mailing
list against this file to update old lists.
option - An agreement participants of continuity plans make
that obligates payment unless they inform the company they do not
want the product shipped. See Continuity buyer.
names - The quantity of names on a list that survive a merge-purge,
or an agreement between a mailer and list owner to pay only for
those names in a list rental.
households - Lists of people who have recently moved, using
information from utility hook-ups, change of address forms and county
movers - See Change of Address.
to file - Recent additions to a file. These names are often
the most responsive segment of a list.
ZIP code - See ZIP + 4 code
- A piece of undeliverable mail that's returned by the post office.
Depending on the quality of the lists, mailings can result in hundreds
or thousands of nixies. Some list rental agreements include a refund
for nixie quantities.
order - A response to an offer that did not require payment.
An example is someone who signs up for a free product or service.
As a rule, for appeals seeking payment, these names are usually
less responsive than cash buyers.
mag tape - A policy of not requiring the return of the magnetic
tape a mailing list was sent on. This is usually combined with a
fee for the cost of the tape.
offer - When mailing content does not resemble that of the list
owner's. Certain categories of user's will be given a discount from
the normal list rental rate such as when a non-profit group mails
a business list. See Competitive offer.
- Organizations that qualify to mail at the reduced nonprofit rate
offered by the U.S. Postal Service.
- Names and addresses of those who responded to an offer without
sending payment. An example are sweepstakes respondents who did
not make a purchase.
- A way of randomizing names in a large list to get the desired
quantity. Rather than taking the first thousand names, a computer
program takes every nth name until they achieve the desired quantity.
Occupant - A name designation used for saturation mailings,
to ensure that a piece of mail gets to a certain address no matter
who lives there.
lists - Consumer lists which contain addresses and no names,
for use in occupant mailings.
use - An agreement between a list owner and a mailer that a
mailing list will be used only once, unless otherwise specified.
contract - An unlimited use agreement on a certain list over
a set period of time.
- When a consumer chooses to receive messages on a certain topic.
- When a consumer requests not to receive messages.
register - When owners of an email site agree to receive messages
covering certain topics.
- The form of data that is retrieved from a computer, whether tapes
or disks, printed paper, labels, etc.
- Using a list that is rich in data to augment information in another
list with the same names. Overlays can add phone numbers, job titles
or demographic or psychographic information. See File tagging.
- Any company that owns the list of its subscribers, customer base,
or membership, and can define the terms of renting the list to other
- Using an outside service rather than performing the work in-house.
Inserts - Any promotional offer included with the shipment of
a customer's order. Offers may be from the same mailer shipping
the product or other vendors who pay to be included.
- Using/printing personal information, such as a first or last name,
in a direct mail campaign. See Variable Imaging
Reply Service - A service allowing mailers to use a lettershop's
postage-paid permit and have the business-reply mail sent there
instead of opening their own account with the USPS.
Dialing - See Telemarketing Services
- A free gift offered to a prospect to induce a greater response
to the main product or service that is being sold. A premium need
not bear any relationship to the product being offered.
Sensitive (peel & stick) Labels - These adhesive-backed,
press-on labels that are mounted four across on wax-type paper and
generally affixed manually.
- See List Services
Booster - Any device, token, premium or sweepstakes that will
help raise the response rate.
- See List Services
Bureaus - See Computer Service Bureaus
Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code - Standard Industrial
Classification (SIC) codes are four
digit numerical codes assigned by the U.S. government to business
establishments to identify the primary business of the establishment.
The classification was developed to facilitate the collection, presentation,
and analysis of data; and to promote uniformity and comparability
in the presentation of statistical data collected by various agencies
of the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations.
The classification covers all economic activities: agriculture,
forestry, fishing, hunting, and trapping; mining; construction;
manufacturing; transportation; communications, electric, gas, and
sanitary services; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance,
and real estate; personal, business, professional, repair, recreation,
and other services; and public administration.
- The computerized process of reorganizing a list from one sequence
to another. For example, a file can be sorted by last name, company
name, ZIP code, high donors, multi-buyers, recent buyers, etc.
- Any phone calls that come into a telemarketing call center.
Voice Response (IVR) -The various recorded or digitized text
messages that can be accessed electronically by using a telephone.
- Any phone calls made out of a telemarketing call center.
Dialing - The automatic dialing by a computer of telephone numbers
on a preselected list. The system can, with great accuracy,
discern an answering machine from a human voice and will instantly
connect a respondent to a TSR. If there is no answer or a busy
signal, the computer will know to redial later.
Service Representative (TSR) - Anyone who sells, or services
customers over the phone either inbound or outbound.
Preference Service (DMA TPS) - A service of the Direct Marketing
Association for consumers who want to have their names removed from