Direct Marketing Glossary

We often get asked about what different words mean when it comes to direct marketing. Sometimes in Direct Marketing, words have a different meaning than their traditional use. Or perhaps the word has a specific meaning.

Therefore, we’ve compiled this Direct Marketing Glossary to help anyone unfamiliar with Direct Marketing to learn more about different terms and what each means.

Add-on A related product or service offering at the time of the original promotion or as a follow up promotion at a later date.

ANZSIC Codes Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification codes developed by Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This classification is commonly used by data providers to ensure consistency.

Attrition Rate The percentage of customers who do not complete their order.

B2B Business to Business Relates to businesses whose clients are other businesses rather than consumers.

Batch Processing Processing groups of data all at once via computer programmes rather than handling each piece of data as it is received.

Benefit The actual benefit the customer receives from a feature of a product or service.

Bleed Printing the image or colour right to the edge of the paper. This is done by printing larger and then trimming to the finished size.

Body copy The main part of the message, not including the headline or images.

Breakeven The point where the income from the campaign is equal to the costs of the campaign.

Brochure A single or multipage presentation of the offer, with may include product or service descriptions.

Bulk Mail Mail arranged in an organised format in larger numbers so that discounted bulk mailing postage may be used. Requirements can be obtained from Mailing houses or the Post Office.

Business Reply Envelope An enclosed pre-addressed envelope back to the company sending the letter for the purpose of making it easier for the customer to respond.

Call to Action An instruction given to encourage the customer or prospect to respond.

Catalogue A multipage information book or pamphlet detailing multiple products or services, and often including an order form.

Conversion rate Can mean a number of things, including: (1) How many people respond compared to how many people were approached, (2) How many people who responded compared to how many actually purchased, (3) How many first time customers become repeat customers.

Copy testing Using different messages sent out to a small sample of the same audience for the same campaign to gauge response.

Cost per inquiry (CPI) The number of inquiries received divided by the total cost of the campaign.

Cost per order (CPO) The number of orders received divided by the total cost of the campaign.

Cost per thousand (CPM) A standard way to express costs of large campaigns

Creative Everything that makes up a direct mail package. This could include brochures, letters, samples, fonts, copy, telemarketing scripts, and images.

Cross selling Selling items or services to existing customers from other sectors or departments of your business.

Customer Base The total customers to date. Some having come from the latest campaigns and referrals, some from earlier customer acquisition campaigns and marketing efforts.

Customer Profile The typical characteristics of your customer or prospective customer. This might include: age, location, sex, product purchased, how often they purchase, size of business, and other demographics.

Database Collection of data and tables with the ability to sort and analyse data to gain more understanding about its contents and use to build your customer base.

Data enhancement Improving the quality and/or the volume of the data. This might include deleting clients or prospects who no longer exist, updating addresses, staff contact details, company size, post codes, and adding in new prospective clients.

Data Entry Entering new data into a spreadsheet or database. This might include names, addresses, phone numbers, post codes, company details, purchase details, payment or refund details, and product information.

De-Duplication Process of matching records to exclude duplicated information. Excel can do this automatically for you for basic duplications. More complex situations require special software or even human eye to solve duplicates.

Demographics Socio-economic characteristics pertaining to people, including: income, ethnicity, age, sex, household income, company size, industry type, education, location.

Direct Marketing A marketing method using targeted communication, to named individuals within specific audiences, with relevant messages that result in measurable results that can be analysed and repeated.

Duplicates (Dupes) Two or more identical names and addresses on the same marketing list. Cleaning such a list (dedupe) needs to be performed so that clients or prospects do not receive more than one communication.

Expiry date A response deadline after which an offer, product, or service will not be available, or not available at a special price or rate. Often used to increase urgency and increase response.

Feature A perceived advantage a product or service has over an alternative product or service.

Frequency How often a customer, prospect, or target market is approached. Or it can refer to how often a customer has responded over a period of time.

Fulfillment The process of responding to a response. This could be completing a request for information, or it could be the completion of an order.

Gone No Return This is a piece of Direct Mail returned back because receiver has left without forwarding mail option.

Insert An additional piece of marketing that goes along with or is inserted into another piece of marketing. Often used in Direct Mail Marketing to offset the cost by allowing another advertiser to ride along with your marketing in the same envelope with no additional mailing costs.

Invalid record Any customer or prospect record with does not conform to the rules of a list. This may be due to incorrect address information, missing data, spelling errors, or invalid email or phone numbers.

Life time value The total profit a customer brings to the company over their active life with the company. This might be measured in days or weeks for some products or services, and over decades for other.

List A collection of names, addresses, and contact details of people or companies having a common interest, characteristics or activity.

List Broker An organisation offering a variety of lists for rental or purchase.

List cleaning Updating a list for accuracy and deleting any known businesses or contacts that are no longer in existence or valid. At this time additional data can also be added with meets the list specifications.

Mail house A service which provides various levels of mail processing, from providing a mailing list to complete processing and mailing. Most provide addressing, labelling, folding, collating, assembling, sorting, and inserting services.

Merge/Purge The process of adding two or more lists into a single list, making sure any duplicates are discarded.

Offer The specific proposition being presented, including the product/service, price and copy

One time usage A term used within list rental contracts allowing the renter to only use the list once. Any additional use of the list is illegal under the contact and may result in legal action or additional fees to pay.

Post Code Within New Zealand, the four digit code allocated to all postal areas by New Zealand Post. This code is usually a requirement when mailing large numbers of letters, particularly via Mail Houses. It is also a requirement in order to obtain large postal discounts, which may also require post codes to be placed in sequence.

Price Testing Offering exactly the same product or service to exactly the same market with a price difference to test response and profitability.

Projection An estimated expected result or response often used in the early days of a campaign.

Proof A first or draft copy of a printed piece, used to make sure all information is correct including colours, size, information, wording and numbers.

Prospect An individual, company or organisation which has the desirable characteristics of being a client or customer.

Prospect List This is your own list of clients and prospects before any additional or outside information has been added.

Prospecting The process of hunting for individuals, companies or organisations that may become suitable prospects.

Purge The process of deleting duplicate names or companies from one or more marketing lists.

Qualified lead The name of an individual, company or organisation, that has taken some degree of action to indicate they are or may be interested in a product or service.

Recency The latest activity or purchase recorded for a customer

Record A collection of data pertaining to one individual, customer, or organisation on a database.

Response rate The number of responses divided by the number approached.

Return Envelope Addressed envelope included in a direct mail communication sent to the customer or prospect to make it easier for them to respond via mail.

Return on investment (ROI) The final profit gained, usually expressed as a percentage of the total
investment spent on a marketing campaign.

Roll out The actual start of the campaign once testing, printing, list acquisition, and processing has been completed.

Seeding The addition of a minimum number of fictional names within a marketing list to allow the list owner to evaluate the time and quality of a delivery. It also allows the list owner to keep track of list rental usage.

Segmenting The division of a marketing list by some characteristic, such as company size, location, street name, postcode.

Selection criteria The defined characteristics and subgroups within a target market audience. In case of B2B typical examples include location, industry and number of staff or turnover.

Social Media Typically online marketing communications using highly accessible websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Split test Two or more sub lists from a marketing list that are sent out with a change to one or more of the criteria, such as offer, price, location, timing, package.

Target market The selected audience based on defined demographic criteria. Business demographics is often defined by location, industry and number of staff or turnover. Additional selection criteria may apply, for example, website, gender of the owner, etc.

Testimonial A comment or statement made usually by a customer in support of the product or service. Usually only included upon the approval of the person providing the testimonial.

Undeliverable Can be used in direct mail, email, fax, and also text campaigns to describe an attempt at contact which has not been successful. Occurs when an address is wrong, email address is wrong, or phone number is incorrect.

Universe The total number of individuals or businesses which meet a required criteria or set of criteria.

White Space The areas on a page or electronic communication which are free from copy, images, or text. A certain amount of white space is desirable for balance and the fact that it often makes a piece more desirable to read.