National Mail Order Association
Mail Order Glossary

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Term Meaning
800 service Inbound long-distance service that is free to the caller, and paid for by the recipient.
ABC Audit Bureau of Circulation's.
Accordion fold Two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.
Account qualification matrix Scientific method of measuring each case as it is completed for potential future purchases.
ACORN A Classification of Residential Neighborhoods; a marketing segmentation system that enables consumers to be classified according to the type of area in which they live.
Action devices Items and techniques used in direct mail to encourage positive response, e.g., tokens, scent strips.
Active buyer Customer whose latest purchase was made within the last 12 months. See also Buyer and Actives.
Active member Customer who is fulfilling the original commitment or who has fulfilled that commitment and has made one or more purchases in the last 12 months.
Active subscriber Customer who has committed for regular delivery of magazines, hooks, or goods or services for a period of time still in effect.
Actives Customers who have made purchases within a prescribed time period, usually one year; subscribers whose subscriptions have not expired.
Add-on service Service of the Direct Marketing Association that gives consumers an opportunity to request that their names be added to mailing lists.
Additions New names either of individuals or companies, added to a mailing list.
Address Coding Guide (CG) List of beginning and ending house numbers, ZIP codes, and other geographic codes for all city delivery service and streets served by 31,540 post offices located within 6,601 ZIP codes.
Address Correction Requested An endorsement which, when printed in the upper left-hand corner of the mailing piece (below the return address), authorizes the U.S. Postal Service to provide, for a fee, the known new address of a person no longer at the address on the mailing piece.
Advertisement rate card Printed card issued by the publishers of journals and newspapers detailing advertising cost, advertisement sizes, and the mechanical details of production.
Advertising schedule List of advertisements booked by media showing details of sizes, timing, and costs.
Affinity Group A classification, either demographic or psychographic, which identifies a given record or list source.
Against the grain Folding paper at right angles to the grain of the paper; a sheet of paper will fold easily along the grain but will possibly crack when folded against the grain.
Agency Discount Refers to the discount, or commision, that an advertising agencey receives when placing a camera ready ad. Usually 15%.
AIDA Most popular formula for the preparation of direct mail copy. The letters stand for (get) Attention, (arouse) Interest, (stimulate) Desire, (ask for) Action.
Airbrush Small pressure gun shaped like a pencil that sprays paint by means of compressed air. Used to obtain tone or graduated tonal effects in artwork.
Airtime Jargon term denoting the amount of actual transmission time available for an advertisement on television and radio.
Alterations Changes made in the copy after it has been set in type.
American Standard Code of Information Interchange (ASCII) Widely used code adopted by the American Standards Association for transmission of information.
APO/FPO Military Post Office address used by the government to direct mail to service people.
Art paper Paper coated with a mineral substance to produce a glossy surface.
Artwork Finished layout consisting of drawings, photographs, lettering, and copy.
Aspect Ratio The length of a mailpiece divided by its height. The aspect ratio must be at least 1.3 but no greater than 2.5 to be machinable.
Assigned mailing dates Dates by which the list user has to mail a specific list; no other date is acceptable without approval of the list owner.
Assumptive close Closing technique in which the salesperson offers the product or service with the assumption that the target has made the decision to buy.
Asterisk bills State laws that require telephone companies to advise subscribers that they can have an asterisk placed in front of their names if they do not want to receive telemarketing calls.
Audience Total number of individuals reached by a promotion or advertisement.
Audit Printed report of the counts involved in a particular list or file.
Augmentation To increase the value of a customer file by utilizing an overlay from another source.
Automatic call distributor (ACD) Equipment that automatically manages and controls incoming calls, sends calls to the telephone representative who has been idle the longest, answers and queues calls during busy periods, and plays recorded messages for waiting callers. It automatically sends overflow calls to a second group and provides management reports on the call activity. It can stand alone or be integrated with a PBX. See Also PBX.
Automatic dialing recorded message player (ADRMP) Machine that dials preprogrammed telephone numbers, automatically plays a prerecorded message (normally a sales pitch), then records responses.
Automatic interaction detection (AID) Program for segmenting a list from a heterogeneous to a homogeneous market.
Automatic redial Telephone feature that permits the last number dialed to be automatically dialed again at the push of one button.
Automatic route selection (ARS) Switching system that chooses the least costly path from available owned or leased circuits. See also LCR.
Automation The process of sorting and routing mail very quickly using machines.
Autotyped letters Individually prepared letters produced on a typewriter activated by a prepunched roll of paper similar to that used in a player piano.
Back End The activities necessary to complete a mail order transaction once an order has been received and/or the measurement of a buyer's performance after he has ordered the first item in a series offering.
Backbone Back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also known as spine.
Bag A canvas pouch to put mail in that is supplied by the U. S. Postal Service.
Bag Tag Identifying tag attached to mail sack/bag. Shows original mailer, type of mail, destination city, and ZIP Code. Also level/group, bag number, and carrier route when applicable.
Bangtail Promotional envelope with a second flap which is perforated and designed for use as an order blank.
Banker Envelope Envelope with the flap on the long edge.
Bar Code A coding structure printed on a mailing piece which is used for sortation by the USPS.
Barcode Sorter (BCS) A mail processing machine which reads barcodes on mail and automatically sorts the pieces.
Batch Grouping of data or orders.
Batch processing Technique of executing a set of orders/selections in batches as opposed to executing each order/selection as it is received; batches can be created by computer programming or manually by date.
Benefits Features of a product or service. Benefits are what sells the product or services.
Bill enclosure Promotional piece or notice enclosed with a bill, invoice, or statement.
Bindery Place where final trimming, stitching/stapling, order-form insertion, and any necessary off-press folding is done.
Binding Finishing process that glues, staples, or stitches the pages of a catalog to the cover.
Bingo Card A reply card inserted in a publication and used by readers to request literature and samples from companies whose products and services are either advertised or mentioned in editorial columns.
Bleed Extension of the printed image to the trim edge of a sheet or page.
Block Metal, rubber, or plastic plate engraved, cast, or molded for printing.
Blocked calls Calls that receive busy signals.
Blocking out Operation of eliminating undesirable backgrounds and portions of a photographic negative by opaquing the image.
Blueprint Sometimes called blues or blue-lines, a prior-to-printing proof made from a photographic negative or positive, used for checking type/photo position.
BMC (1) The Postal Service has divided the United States into 21 regions. Each region has a main mailing center located within it for the distribution of bulk mail. There are two types of Bulk Mail Centers, a gateway BMC and a servicing BMC. Each and every mailer has a gateway BMC. Mail moving from the mailer goes to the gateway which will distribute the mail to the remaining 20 BMCs. The remaining BMCs are called servicing BMCs because they directly serve the delivery office. (2) Bulk Mail Center. A highly mechanized mail-processing plant for the distribution of: Standard mail in bulk form and non-preference Second-Class mail in bulk form.
Body type Types used for the main body of the text as distinct from its headings.
Boiler room/bucket shop Term to describe outbound phone rooms where facilities are less than ideal for the telephone sales representative and sometimes for the activity itself. High turnover uf representatives and low overhead for the owners are trademarks of this kind of operation.
Boldface type Type that is heavier than standard text type, often used for headlines and paragraph lead-ins, and to emphasize letters, word, or sentences.
Boom In broadcasting, a semirigid tube-like apparatus that extends from the headset and positions the microphone close to the user's mouth.
Bounce Back A subsequent offer by a mail order operator sent to the most recent buyers in the same package with merchandise just ordered. Catalog operators often supply another copy of the catalog which created the order as the bounce back. (Outside offers are package inserts not bounce backs.)
BRC The acronym for business reply card.
BRE The acronym for business reply envelope.
Bringing up the color Color correcting; intensifying color on press or in separations.
BRMAS (Pronounced 'bramas') is the acronym for Business Reply Mail Accounting System, which allows for automated accounting of business reply envelopes and cards.
Broadcast media Direct response source that includes radio, television, and cable television.
Broadside A single sheet of paper, printed on one side or two and folded for mailing or direct distribution that opens into a single, large advertisement.
Brochure Strictly defined, a high-quality pamphlet, with specially planned layout, typography, and illustrations; also used loosely to describe any promotional pamphlet or booklet.
Broker Agent authorized to buy or sell for an organization or another individual.
Bromide Photographic print made from a negative, or a positive used as a proof.
Bulk Thickness of paper.
Bulk Rate Mail A category of Standard mail involving a large quantity of identical pieces but addressed to different names which are specially processed for mailing before delivery to the post office.
Bulk rebate Category of postage that allows rebate for second-class presorted mailing; delivery will normally be made within seven working days. Amount of rebate depends on the volume of mail.
Burnout Exhaustion and lack of motivation often experienced by telephone sales representatives working long shifts without proper training or compensation.
Burst To separate continuous-form paper into discrete sheets.
Business list Any compilation of individuals or companies based on a business-associated interest, inquiry, membership, subscription, or purchase.
Business reply envelope/card A return envelope or card in which return postage is paid for by the advertiser. A special service through the USPS allows the mailer to do this.
Business Reply Mail (BRM) A service which enables mailers to receive First-Class Mail back from customers by paying postage only on the mail which is actually returned to them from their customers. See Business Reply Envelope/Card
Business-to-business telemarketing Telemarketing to industry and other businesses.
Buyer One who orders merchandise, books, records, information, or services.
C/A Change of address.
Call In telemarketing, this term encompasses uncompleted and completed connections, busys, temporarily disconnected, disconnected-no referral, disconnected but referred, and no-answers; does not include status of results such as sale/ no-sale/follow-up.
Call card Record of details on prospects or customers; often arranged chronologically.
Call forcing Call distribution feature that automatically directs a waiting call to an available agent. The agent receives an audible tone burst that signals the call coming through. A button need not be pressed to receive this call.
Call guide Informal roster of points to be covered during a telephone sales presentation that allows for personalization.
Call management Process of selecting and managing the optimum mix of equipment, network services, and labor to achieve maximum productivity from a telemarketing center.
Call management system Equipment that gives detailed information on telephone activity and cost.
Call objective Clear reason for the call; the best calls are those that tend to have only one objective.
Call objective guideline Worksheet that allows preparation for the specific objective; often used in training aod for new-product introductions.
Call queuing Placing incoming calls in a waiting line for access to an operator station.
Call restriction Procedure designed to limit the range of calling power given to employees, as when only selected
personnel are able to make long-distance calls.
Call-back Any contact required to follow up an activity.
Carrier Route A geographical area consisting of 350 households as walked by an individual mail carrier. There are 160,000 carrier routes listed by the USPS, and an additional 240,000 psychodrama routes provided by major compilers of consumer lists.
Carrier Route Code A code that designates the appropriate delivery route for a particular address. Carrier-route coding schemes are established by the U.S. Postal Service; each scheme is ZIP-specific.
Carrier Route Presort Mail that is sorted into a bundle for delivery to a specific delivery route. The actual carrier performing delivery breaks down the bundle at the delivery office. For example, all books going to Rural Route #2, Pontiac, Illinois, will go directly to the mail carrier for that particular route in one bundle.
Carriers Transportation facilities suppliers.
Case Complete and measurable telephone sales cycle from beginning to end; e.g., 100 names on a list equals 100 cases.
Cash buyer Buyer who encloses payment with order.
Cash on delivery (COD) Expression meaning that a customer pays for an order when it is received.
Cash rider Also called cash up or cash option, an addition to an order form offering the option of full cash payment with the order, at some saving over the installment-payment price as an incentive.
CASS The acronym for Coding Accuracy Support System, a program through which the USPS approves sofware vendors and other information service providers to provide certified ZIP+4 and address corrections services to the public. To be eligible for automation discounts, and mailing list must have been verified and corrected using CASS certified software.
Catalog buyer Person who has bought products or services from a catalog.
Catalog request Order for the catalog itself. The catalog maybe free; there maybe a nominal charge for postage and handling, or there may be a more substantial charge that is often refunded or credited on the first order.
Cell size Smallest unit or segment quantity of an individual variant within a test program.
Census Tract Small geographical area established by local committees and approved by the Census Bureau, which contains a population segment with relatively uniform economic and social characteristics and clearly identifiable boundaries averaging approximately 1,200 households.
CHAD/CHADD A shorthand term for change of address. The USPS has prepared a CHAD list for the entire country as a service to mailers.
Change of Address The process of changing a business or residential address upon having made a physical move. Also referred to as CHADD and COA.
Charge buyer Person who has charged merchandise ordered by mail; or a person who has paid for merchandise only after it has been delivered.
Cheshire Label (1) Specially prepared paper (rolls, fanfold or accordion fold) used to reproduce names and addresses to be mechanically affixed, one at a time, to a mailing piece. (2) An ungummed, machine-affixable label prepared on a computer or word processor.
Chromalins One method of proofing a color separation. Four separate, extremely thin plastic sheets (one for each color) are overlaid, producing a color reproduction of the separations.
Chromes Often misused term actually referring to color transparencies; also used as nickname for chromalins.
Circulars General term for printed advertising in any form, including printed matter sent out by direct mail.
Circulars General term for printed advertising in any form, including printed matter sent out by direct mall.
City Directories Only major source for individuals by occupation at home addresses. They Include apartment numbers and phone numbers. Over 1,500 cities are canvassed, house to house, on a scheduled basis, to provide individualized data on householders including occupation.
Cleaning The process of correcting and/or removing a name and address from a mailing list because it is no longer correct or because the listing is to be shifted from one category to another.
Clip Art Ready to use art sold for use by a number of advertisers. Also known as Stock Art
Closed case Any case that has completed the sales cycle and has ended in a sale no sale, or no potential.
Cluster Selection A selection routine based upon taking a group of names in series, skipping a group, taking another group, and so on. For instance, you may select 10 out of every 100 or the first 125 out of 175. A cluster selection using limited ZIP Codes might be the first 200 names in each of the specified ZIP Codes.
Clustering Grouping names on a telemarketing list according to geographic, demographic, or psychographic characteristics.
Co-op Mailing A mailing of two or more offers included in the same envelope or other carrier, with each participating mailer sharing mailing costs according to some predetermined formula.
COAM Customer owned and maintained equipment.
COD A buyer who agrees to pay for what he has ordered (plus a collection charge) upon delivery.
Code Line A line on an address imprint utilized to identify basic data about the addressee, such as length of service, dollar volume of purchases, recency of purchase, and so on. Also called keyline.
Coding (1) Identifying items used on reply devices to identify the mailing list or other source from which the address was obtained. (2) A structure of letters and numbers used to classify characteristics of an address on a list.
Cold calls Sales calls to an audience unfamiliar to the caller.
Cold lists Lists that have no actual or arranged affinity with the advertiser, i.e., they have not bought from, belonged to, or inquired of the advertiser itself or of any particular affinity group.
Collate (1) To assemble individual elements of a mailing in sequence for inserting into a mailing envelope; (2) program that combines two or more ordered files to produce a single ordered file; also the act of combining such files. See also Merge-purge.
Collation Orderly assembly of sheets or signatures during the bindery process.
Column Inch Refers to advertising space one in high by one column wide. The cost of space ads in newspapers and magazines is computed by this measurment. By the column inch.
Commercial envelope Oblong envelope with a top flap.
Commingling Combining mail of different characteristics (many times from multiple companies) into a single bulk mailing in the effort to reduce mailing costs for all.
Communicator call report (CCR) List identifying for each telephone sales representative what calls were handled during a shift, the date, the contact name, and all information pertaining to the details of each call made.
Compiled List Names and addresses derived from directories, newspapers, public records, retail sales slips, trade show registrations, and so on, to identify groups of people with something in common.
Compiler Organization that develops lists of names and addresses from directories, newspapers, public records, registrations, and other sources, identifying groups of people, companies, or institutions with something in common.
Comprehensive Complete and detailed layout for a printed piece; also called comp or compare.
Computer letter Computer-printed message providing personalized, fill-in information from a source file in predesignated positions; full-printed letter with personalized insertions.
Computer Personalization Printing of letters or other promotional pieces by a computer using names, addresses, special phrases, or other information based on data appearing in one or more computer records; the objective is to use the information in the computer record to tailor the promotional message to a specific individual.
Computer record All of the information about an individual, a company, or a transaction stored on a specific magnetic tape or disk.
Computer service bureau Facility providing general or specific data-processing.
Confidence Level Statistically valid measure of how often, in one hundred attempts, test results can be expected to be within given limits. Confidence level is based not on the number of pieces mailed, but on the number of responses received.
Consultative selling Personalized method of sales that first identifies a customer's needs and then sells a product or service to meet those needs.
Consumer list List of names (usually with home address) compiled or resulting from a common inquiry or buying activity indicating a general buying interest.
Consumer location system Market identification system containing information derived from Target Group Index and ACORN.
Contact Any conversation with a decision maker or any communication that advances a case toward completion.
Contact-to-closed-case ratio Number of completed contacts required to complete a case; e.g., contact mail-contact would be a two-Contact-to-closed-Case ratio.
Continuity Program Products or services bought as a series of small purchases. An offer consisting of a starter item or set, followed at timely intervals with a series of allied products, particularly books or music.
Contributor list Names and addresses of persons who have given to a specific fund-raising effort. See also Donor list.
Control Last successful mailing package without any changes that allows a true measurement of the performance of each of the variants on test; generally used to test against new variants.
Controlled circulation Distribution at no charge of a publication to individuals or companies on the basis of their titles or occupations; typically, recipients are asked from time to time to verify the information that qualifies them to receive the publication.
Controlled Duplication A method by which names and addresses from two or more lists are matched (usually by computer) in order to eliminate or limit extra mailings to the same name and address.
Conversion (1) Process of changing from one method of data processing to another, or from one data processing system to another. Synonymous with Reformatting. (2) To secure specific action such as a purchase or contribution from a name on a mailing list or as a result of an inquiry.
Conversion Percentage (CP) A value calculated to assess the degree of success in turning interested prospects into actual customers.
Conversion rate Percentage of potential customers who, through a direct mail solicitation, become buyers.
Copy Written material intended for inclusion in the various components of a mailing package or advertisement.
Copy date Date by which advertising material ready for printing must reach a publishing house for inclusion in a particular issue.
Cost per inquiry (CPI) Simple arithmetical formula derived by dividing the total cost of a mailing or an advertisement by the number of inquiries received.
Cost per order (CPO) Similar to cost per inquiry but based on actual orders rather than inquiries.
Cost per thousand (CPM) The rate for list rentals when the fee is based on every 1,000 names. Charges for special selections would also be based per thousand.
Counts Quantities of records necessary to verify the accuracy of a job .
Coupon Part of an advertising promotion piece intended to be filled in by the inquirer or customer and returned to the advertiser; it often entitles the bearer to a discount on an item at time of purchase.
Coupon clipper Person who has given evidence of responding to free or nominal cost offers out of curiosity, with little or no serious interest or buying intent.
Courtesy Reply Envelope (CRE) Envelope that is preaddressed and bar-coded to be returned to the sender. However, unlike the business reply envelope, postage must be applied by the recipient sending it back.
CPI The abbreviation for cost per inquiry. This usually refers to the first stage of a two-step 9 (or more ) selling operation.
CPM The total cost in the mail of 1,000 pieces. This includes four parts: cost of printing, cost of the list, cost of the postage, and cost of all aspects of fulfillment at the mailing shop. It does not usually include the cost or preparation of the printed pieces.
CPO Cost per order, the amount paid above amortization by order margin of the costs of promotion, divided by the number of orders.
Creative Preprinting aspects of catalog preparation: design, layout, copy writing, and photography; used as a noun in the catalog business.
Cris Tape A USPS coding structure on magnetic tape providing a means to carrier-route code a list for Standard mail presort bulk mailing.
Crop To trim part of a photo or copy.
Cross-Docked Pallets arriving at a mail facility, either a BMC or an SCF, that need no sorting at that facility, are moved from the arriving trailer to a waiting trailer for the next destination. Since this is performed at the facilities dock, the term cross-docked is used to describe the operation.
Cross-Section A statistical selection from a list segment or universe which is accepted as a representative sample. Sampling methods include Nth number, fifth-digit of ZIP, first letter of last name, and randomization.
Data Card A card that gives specific details on a mailing list. Including but not limited to: Total universe of the list, base cost per thousand, demographics, source, average sale, special selections, etc.
Data Entry Means of hand entering and converting hard copy to electronic form through some type of keyboard, or similar means.
Decoy A unique name especially inserted in a mailing list verifying list usage.
Delivery Point Barcode A extended barcode which allows mail to be sorted in the order in which it is delivered by the postal carrier on his/her route. (called a carrier route)
Demographics The study and application of social and economic characteristics and/or data. Those characteristics of a population which are measured by variables such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, geographic location, and occupation.
Destination SCF Sectional Center Facility (SCF) to which the mail will be sent.
Direct Addressing A means to address directly to the mailing piece with or without coding and commentary.
Direct Marketing Association (DMA) One of the chief trade associations serving the direct response field, with emphasis on direct-mail marketing through all classes of mail. Main focus is on larger corporations.
Direct-Mail (Or Response) Advertising The process of placing ads in printed or electronic media to elicit a direct response. (Direct mail describes mailing an offer to a prospect to elicit a direct response.)
DMA Mail Preference Service Add-On File A file of name and address records provided by the Direct Marketing Association, which consists of records of people who have asked to be included on mailing lists.
DMA Mail Preference Service Delete File A file of name and address records provided by the Direct Marketing Association, which may be omitted from mailings. This file is made up of requests received by the DMA, mostly the result of the DMA space ads also found on most mail order blanks, from people who say they want to be removed from mailing lists.
Dollar Value Per Order (DVO) In direct mail, this sum reflects the average monetary size of purchases for each order received, and it is primarily used to evaluate the performance of specific mailing lists. DVO equals the gross revenue divided by the number of orders.
Doubling Day The day on which one-half of the responses from a specific promotional effort have been received. When mailing First Class, this is usually 4-6 days (excluding Sundays) from the first day of responses. When mailing Standard mail, this is 8-20 days . If a mailer can be certain when double day occurs, it is then possible to make rapid decisions on the continuation of mail efforts. Erratic delivery reduces the usefulness of double day as a prediction device.
Drop Day The day on which a mailing piece is entered into the postal system.
Drop Ship The process where a mail order/catalog firm or other direct marketer advertises and takes orders for products and sends the orders to the manufacturer, the manufacturer then ships the product directly to the customer.
DUP (Duplication) Appearance of identical or nearly identical entities more than once.
DUP Elimination A specific kind of controlled duplication which provides that no matter how many times a name and address is on a list, and how many lists contain that name and address, it will be accepted for mailing only once by that mailer.
Duplicate Identification (Merge-Purge) The process of merging together two or more lists available on computer tape. This permits the identification of duplicates which may then be handled separately, that is, purged or mailed again as multi-buyers. See Dupe Elimination.
Dye transfer High-quality, four-color print made from a transparency; most often used when retouching is needed.
Elasticity Comes from 'elasticity of demand' to determine what effect in response a change in price or offer will create. Those markets that show little change are inelastic; those that vary greatly with price are highly elastic.
Enamel Coated paper that has a glossy finish.
End-Of -File Label 1. An internal label indicating the end of a file and possibly containing data for file control.
2. Synonymous with trailer label. NOTE: An end-of-file label may include control totals for comparison with counts accumulated during processing.
End-Of-Volume (EOV) Label An internal label that indicates the end of the data contained in a volume.
Entity Relationship Data Model A data model that describes the attributes of entities in a database and the relationship among them.
Enumeration Districts The small geographic areas assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau. For these small areas and subblocks (an average of about 140 families), the census publishes a huge volume of demographic data. Only the very largest lists are coded down to subblocks and enumeration districts because there are some 400,000 in the country.
Envelope Stuffer Any advertising or promotional material enclosed in an envelope with business letters, statements, or invoices.
Ergonomics Study of the problems of people adjusting to their environment, especially seeking to adapt work or working conditions to suit the workers.
Exchange Arrangement whereby two mailers exchange equal numbers of mailing list names.
Exhibition list List of people who have registered as attendees at trade or consumer exhibitions.
Expiration Subscription that is not renewed.
Expiration date Date on which a subscription expires.
Expire Former customer who is no longer an active buyer.
External List Any list other than the house files of a mailer.

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