Direct Mail, Mailing List

43 Terms All Direct Mail Marketers Should Know

Are you ready to place an order for a list rental, but have questions about the direct mail lingo? This list of terms to know is a great place to start!

  1. Base – the starting price (per thousand records) for a list rental
  2. Compiled list – names and addresses derived from directories, newspapers, public records, retail sales slips, trade show registrations, etc. to identify groups of people with something in common
  3. Consumer list – a list of names (usually at home address) compiled or resulting from a common inquiry or buying activity indicating a general or specific buying interest
  4. Counts – the number of records available from a certain list, based on selected criteria
  5. Data append – when additional information is added to records in an existing database; can include phone numbers, date of birth, hobbies and interests, etc.
  6. Datacard – a brief description of a specific file, including pricing, selections, and other related information
  7. Duplicate – two or more name and address records which are found to be equal under the list user’s basis of comparison
  8. Former buyer – one who has purchased one or more times from a company with no purchase in the last twelve months
  9. Hotline – the most recent names available on a specific list, usually no older than three months. The use of this term should be modified by weekly, monthly, etc. (i.e. 1-month hotline)
  10. Hygiene – the process data goes through to be cleaned, which can include removing duplicates, updated addresses, etc.
  11. Inquirer – one who has asked for literature or other information about a product or service. Unless otherwise stated, it is assumed no payment has been made for this information
  12. Inter-file duplication – duplication of name and address records between two or more lists
  13. Intra-file duplication – duplication of name an address records within one given list
  14. Key code – a group of letters, numbers, colors, or other markings used to measure specific effectiveness of list rentals, advertisements, etc.
  15. List – names and addresses of individuals and/or companies having in common a specific interest, characteristic, or activity
  16. List broker – a specialist who makes all necessary arrangements for one company use a list rental from another company. A broker’s services may include research, selection, recommendation, and subsequent evaluation of lists
  17. List exchange – a barter arrangement between two companies for the use of a mailing list; may be list for list, list for space,or list for comparative value – other than money
  18. List manager – one who is responsible for the usage of a specific mailing list. The list manager generally services the list owner in several of the following areas: list maintenance, promotion and marketing, clearance and record keeping, collecting for use of the list by others
  19. List owner – one who has developed a list of names having something in common or one who has purchased (as opposed to rented, reproduced, or used on a one-time basis) such a list from the developer
  20. List owner approval – the approval to use a specific list for a mailing
  21. List owner clearance – a form sent to the list owner or manager asking for permission to use a list prior to list rental
  22. List rental – an arrangement in which a list owner furnishes names on his or her list to a mailer together with the privilege of using the list on a one-time basis only (unless otherwise specified in advance). For this privilege, the list owner is paid a royalty by the mailer
  23. LOG – letter of guarantee (sometimes also called a GOP – guarantee of payment); tells when payment can be expected
  24. Mail date – the date on which a user has the obligation to mail to the list (by prior agreement with the list owner). No other date is acceptable without specific approval by the list owner
  25. Mail order buyers – one who orders and pays fora product or service through the mail; includes those who use telephone or internet
  26. Mail piece – the letter, brochure, postcard, etc.which will be sent to the names on the list rental
  27. Merge/purge – combining two or more units or lists and eliminating duplication at the same time
  28. Multi-buyer – one who has purchased two or more times from the same company. (Not one who has bought more than one product from the same company)
  29. NCOA – national change of address registry
  30. Net name arrangement – an agreement between list owner and list user, at the time of ordering or before, I which the list owner agrees to accept adjustment payment for less than the total names shipped. Such agreements can be for a percentage of names shipped or names actually mailed(whichever is greater) or for only those names actually mailed (without a percentage limitation). They can provide for a running charge or not
  31. Nixie – a mailing piece returned to the mailer by the Postal Service because of an incorrect or undeliverable name and address
  32. Nth select – a fractional unit that is repeated in sampling a mailing list; use for “random” selection
  33. Offer – the terms under which a specific product or service is promoted
  34. One-time use – an intrinsic part of the normal list usage – in which, it is understood that the mailer will not use the names on the list more than one time without specific prior approval of the list owner
  35. Premium buyer – one who buys a product or service to get another product or service (usually free or at a special price), or who responds to an offer of a special product (premium) on the package or label (or sometimes in the advertising) of another product
  36. Recency – the latest purchase or other activity recorded for an individual or company on a specific customer list
  37. Response list – a list that is created from records of people who have responded to a survey or questionnaire
  38. Reuse – sometimes the client will purchase a list and keep the names in the database. They must pay for each use of the names, which is called a reuse
  39. Service bureau – an internal or external facility providing general or specific data processing services
  40. Test – a part of a list selected to try to determine the effectiveness of the entire list
  41. Universe – the total number of records for a list, or certain segment (i.e. 3 months)
  42. Update – adding recent transactions and current information to the main list to reflect the current status of each record on the list
  43. Usage – a list of mailers who have previously used a list; also includes information regarding tests and continuations

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