Direct Mail Jargon Buster

AIDA – Acronym for “Get Attention, Arouse Interest, Stimulate Desire, Ask for Action”. Generally used as a guide for conception and design of a direct mail piece.

Advertorial – An advert presented in a way to give an impression of being an editorial

B2B – Marketing activity directed from one business to another

B2C – Marketing activity directed form business to consumer

Bangtail envelope – A special envelope which has a longer flap that can be torn away and sent back to the sender with information used as a response mechanism

BRC – Business Reply Card

BRE – Business Reply Envelope which is pre-printed with a business address so recipients can respond to a mailing

BRP – Business reply post

CBC (Customer Bar Codes) – A unique customer barcode on a mailing piece which can be sorted automatically by Royal Mail for greater postal rates.

Cleansing – Process of deleting, appending correcting records in a database to make the database accurate.

Collation – Put together a number of items and sometimes in a specific order.

CSV File – Comma Separated Values a method of separating fields within records in a mailing list, using commas to tell the programme where fields start and finish.

Data capture – Also known as data entry, the process of keying in data into an electronic format for use in a direct marketing campaign.

Data processing – Covers the action of the IT department on data files such as sortation, file formatting and generating salutations etc.

Data Protection Act – 1984 Act of Parliament guaranteeing certain rights of individuals and the control and use of personal data held on a company computer.

Data record – An individual entry containing the name and address and other information of the person named within the record – a group of records make a data file.

Data Suppression – Process of removing unwanted records off your database like in a consumer list removing the records of people who are dead, have changed home etc.

Database – A collection of data. A direct mail database is used as a way of contacting a group of prospects, customers or subscribers.

De-duplication – A process that ensures a name and address is only mailed to once no matter how many times it appears in a list or how many lists it appears on.

Direct Mail – A personally addressed mailing piece that promotes products and services.

Direct marketing – A marketing system that seeks to produce an enquiry or order. Direct marketing can use any medium but requires the use of a database.

DownStream Access Provider (DSA) – Alternative mail providers to Royal Mail. For certain mailings, savings and enhanced delivery services can be made by using a DSA provider.

Dupe or duplicate – The reappearance of identical records in a database.

Duplex – Printing on both sides of the page.

Electoral role – Before use, names and addresses in a database can be validated against the electoral role which is the largest name & address databank in the UK.

Field/data field – Data in computer records are held in fields. Each field holds a separate item of information. Having data that is formatted correctly in fields makes data processing easier.

File Formatting – Preparing a data file for data processing.

Freepost – Royal Mail service where a reply piece includes postage charged to the sender.

Fulfillment – also spelled as Fulfilment is the over printing, folding, collating and inserting of letters and inserts into the envelope or pack

Gusseted envelope – Where the sides of the envelope can extend to increase its capacity.

Hand Fulfilment – or benchwork used for mailing jobs that cannot be done by machine and have to done by hand in full or in part.

Infographic – Marketing piece that provides information through graphics.

Inkjet printing – An inkjet printer works by squirting a jet of very fine drops of ink onto the printer in a pattern determined by a computer. Can be in colour as well as black/white.

Laser printing – A high quality method of printing from computer to paper. Laser printed documents do not look as they have been massed produced. Laser printing can be in colour as well as black/white.

List manager – A company which holds a clients database and updates, adds and deletes records as required. They also output selections from the database as per instructions by the client.

Machine enclosing – The process of inserting materials into envelopes by machine rather than by hand.

Mail Merge – The process of merging a mailer template with a list of contact details so that each document is personalised.

Mailing Preference Service (MPS) – A service that registers the names and addresses of people who don’t want to receive unsolicited mail. Whenever a mailing list is used, it is cross checked against the MPS so that those people can be removed.

Mail Sorting – Undertaking some of the work involved in sorting & processing mail normally performed by Royal Mail in order to achieve postage discounts.

Merge-Purge – The combining of more than one customer files and comparing them to eliminate duplicates. Can sometimes imply that MPS services are to be used.

National Change of Address (NCOA) – A suppression file which records details of home owners who have registered a change in address with Royal Mail and requested re-direction of the mail.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – An option within Royal Mails Bulk Mail service, that uses special OCR fonts on the mailing envelope which can then be sorted automatically by Royal Mails sorting machinery to obtain greater accuracy and postal savings.

PAF (Postage Address File) – A data file containing the exact address of every property to which post can be delivered. The program that uses this file can correct addresses as well as allocating postcodes.

Polybag / Polywrap – A see-through plastic bag used instead of an envelope. Often used for brochure and magazine mailings using machinery to insert and seal.

Polybagging – The act of inserting items into a polybag, normally done using specialised machinery.

PP (Postage Paid) – An envelope that does not need a stamp as it carries a Royal Mail imprint.

PPI (Postage Paid Indicator) – The symbol printed on the mailing piece to indicate that the postage is being paid through an account.

Print Finishing – After the printing process is completed, there are still a number of steps before the finished product is ready. Cutting to size, making up the sections in page order & stapling or binding.

Proof – The term used to describe the sample of printing produced for approval before the final production takes place.

Purge – The process of removing duplicates or other unwanted names and addresses from a mailing list.

Response and Fulfillment – A service where customer requests for literature or products are received and recorded on a database. The data is then used to prepare, pack and post daily or by batch processing.

Response Rate – The amount of responses received from a mailing campaign as a percentage of the total mailings sent.

Return Envelope – Stamped or unstamped addressed reply envelopes for use by the customer to encourage them to reply and make it easier for them to do so.

Salutation – The opening greeting phrase of a letter. For example: Dear Mr Smith, Dear Mark etc.

Seeds – Contacts added to a database to check date of delivery and to check the usage of a rented list.

Unsolicited Mailings – A mailing which is sent to a private individual where there has been no request for the mail to be sent.

Variable Data Printing (VDP) – VDP uses selected text and images to produce highly personalised documents creating unique messages tailored to individual customers without slowing down the print process.

Weigh Counting – A method of counting a large amount of paper materials to be used in a mailing. Normally a few items are carefully weighed, then the whole consignment is weighed and the total number of items are calculated.