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Direct Marketing Glossary


Above the line
Advertising that uses high profile media such as newspapers or television.

Action Devices
Techniques used in a marketing piece to initiate a response by the recipient.

Term can be used to describe both members whose subscriptions have yet to expire and listed customers that have made purchases within the last year.

An advert that is designed in such as way that it gives the impression of being an editorial.

Acronym for "Get Attention, Arouse Interest, Stimulate Desire, Ask for Action." Should be used as a guide to help write the copy for a direct mail campaign.


Bangtail Envelope
An envelope with an additional flap which recipients can tear off to use as the response device.

Batched Job
Jobs that are grouped together input to a computer system, unlike a transaction job entry where each job is run individually to completion.

Below the Line
Advertising that uses low profile media such as direct mail or the Internet.

Bingo Card
The name for a reply card placed inside a publication. These are used by readers to request information from companies who advertise in editorial columns.

Business Reply Card

Business Reply Envelope

Business Reply Post

Business List
A list of names of businesses based on common business interests

Business to Business
Marketing activity directed from one business to another rather than being directed at consumers


A book or brochure displaying products with graphics, text and prices

Cheshire Labels
Paper that contains printed names and addresses which are mechanically affixed to each piece of mail

A printed advertisement or offer

With regards to list management, cleansing refers to the process of removing or altering a name and/or address inside a list to update or correct it

Cold Call
This is the process of contacting a person or prospect that has no prior relationship with you

Completed Call
The name of an outbound call where the target has come to a decision regarding the offer; usually either accepting, rejecting, remaining undecided or requesting additional information about the offer

A consumer is anyone who buys a product or uses a service. In telemarketing, a consumer is someone that can be contacted at their home after work or at the weekend

The text used to present and describe an offer to the public

Cost per Enquiry (CPE)
Cost per inquiry is the figure derived from dividing the total cost of a mailing by the number of resulting enquiries

Cost per Order (CPO)
Figure derived by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the number of orders received

CSV (Comma Separated Values)
A method of separating the fields within records in a mailing list, using commas to tell the program where fields
start and finish. As the text in a field may also contain commas, the text string is identified by surrounding it with double quotes. The text itself may also contain double quotes, leading to the convention of showing them as a pair of double quotes which increases the complexity and the margin for error so it is safest to use CSV format only when you are sure the data does not contain commas or double quotes


A collection of data. A direct marketing database is used as a way to contact a group of prospects and a method of measuring purchases

Data Capture (also known as data entry)
The process of keying in data into an electronic format for use in a direct marketing campaign

Dead Mail
Mail sent to an incorrect address usually if a person or company has moved or changed names etc

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. De-duplication is also known as "Dupe Elimination" and "Merge/Purge"

Socioeconomic characteristics of a customer including age, sex, and income

Direct Mail
Any promotional advertising material that travels through the post

Direct Marketing
A marketing system that seeks to produce an enquiry or an order. Direct marketing can use any medium but requires the use of a database (see above) and can be measured in CPE or CPO

Direct Response Advertising
A method of advertising usually via telephone or mail that invites direct response by any measurable means

Dupe or Duplicate
The repetition of identical information in a database


Electoral Role
Before use, names and addresses in a database can be validated against the electoral role which is the largest name and address data asset in the UK comprised of around 46 million adults


Royal Mail service where a reply device includes postage charged to the original mailer

Free-standing Insert
A leaflet or other printed literature inserted loose in a publication or package

Follow-up Call
A phone call made after the initial mailer has been sent out with the objective of increasing impact and improving response rate

The process of supplying goods after an order has been received. Also the process of reacting to a customer's initial request, covering everything that has to happen from the time they place an order until they have received it and are completely satisfied

Fulfilment House
Building where the processing of an order takes place. This will usually include the acknowledgement of the order, the dispatching of goods and the collection of payment


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Inbound Telemarketing
The handling of an incoming call from a prospect or customer

Incompleted Calls
Opposite of Completed Calls. Outbound calls where the caller was unable to speak with the prospect or customer because they were unavailable

Promotional piece placed in an outgoing package, leaflet or even invoice


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Lead Generation
The process of finding consumers with an interest in a particular product or service

Lifetime Value
In direct marketing, this means the total profit/loss estimated or realised from a customer over the entire active life of the customer's record

List or Mailing List
The names and addresses/email addresses of companies and individuals with a common interest that can be marketed to from a single campaign


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 referenced against the MPS so those people can be removed

Mail Merge
The process of merging a mailer template document with a list of contact details so that each document is personalised prior to sending i.e. Dear ....

Refers to a postage discount structure provided by Royal Mail for mailings over a certain volume

Direct marketing which uses high profile media like television or newspapers to promote its message

Figure describing the gross profit on sales and is derived by subtracting the cost of products/services sold from gross revenue

Market Research
The collection and analysis of data obtained from a sample of individuals or businesses relating to their characteristics, behaviour, attitudes, opinions or possessions. Examples include consumer and industrial surveys, psychological investigations, observations and panel studies

Mystery Shopping
The use of individuals acting as potential customers in order to experience and measure any customer service process. Often used in retail environments, individual experiences are reported back in a detailed and objective way


NSP (National Sort Plan)
Is the preferred sorting sequence according to Royal Mail regulations


Outbound Telemarketing
Calls made by a marketer as opposed to inbound telemarketing where it is the customer calls in first


Package Insert
A promotional piece included in a mailed offer. This can be for different products from the same company or for products and services offered by other companies.

Paid Circulation
The distribution of a publication to individuals or businesses that have paid for a subscription

Poly bag / Poly wrap / Plastic wrap
A see-through plastic bag used for mailing instead of an envelope

PP (Postage Paid)
An envelope that does not need a stamp because carries a Royal Mail imprint

Priority Paid
An express mail service provided by Royal Mail

Protected Mailing Period
A period of time prior to and after a mailing date that a list owner will not allow the same names to be mailed to except by the assigned mailer

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


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Relational Database
A database showing the relationship between various pieces of customer information. This can include anything from contact details to a customers buying habits

Response Rate
The amount of responses received as a percentage of total promotions sent, usually by mail

Return Envelopes
Stamped or unstamped addressed reply envelopes for use by the customer to encourage them to reply, or to make it easier for them to do so


Self Mailer
A self-contained piece of mail which is designed to form an envelope when folded, therefore does not require a separate outer envelope

Sleepers / Seeds / Decoy Names
False names added to a list by the list owner to check on usage of a rented list. The list owner will place these names and addresses throughout the list to ensure that it is only used once and for the purpose it was rented

Split Test
Representative samples from the same list are used by different versions of the same campaign. For example, two mailers with differing designs could be sent to different potions of the same list to asses response rates


An advertisement released to generate excitement and curiosity about a later advertisement or launch. Now commonly used in film or gaming industry to generate hype about a fourth coming release

The use of telecommunications in sales and marketing

Telephone selling where the marketer has a scripted or open dialogue with the prospect

A mailing effort that involves two or more advertisers working together


Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The reasons why one company has a competitive advantage over its competition. Reasons for this could include the way the company is structured, its staff expertise or its accreditations

Unit of Sale
The average amount spent by a customer on a mailing list


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