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Glossary of Terms:

Assigned Mailing Date:  A date for a mailing approved by the address list owner to provide “protection” against competitive offers.

Bounce Back:  A subsequent offer by a mail order operator sent to the most recent buyers in the merchandise just ordered.  Bounce backs, if properly coded, proved to be the most productive promotion available to a mail order company.

Breakeven:  Dollars of response, measured by order margin, are equal to the total cost of promotion.  Break-even for the business means the order margin must equal the cost of promotion plus all other costs.

Card Deck or Cardvertiser:  A direct mail cooperative ad medium consisting in the main of a pack of individual postage-paid cards addressed back separately to each advertiser.  Very efficient means to secure low-cost inquiries.  Sales via card decks are usually limited to low-cost input type goods.

Clustering: The selection of names of consumers on the basis of similar geographic, demographic, or psychographic characteristics.  Clustering ranges from broad selections by zip codes to very finite, such a members of boards of directors and their next-door neighbors.

Coupons:  Coupons delivered by direct mail have the highest redemption rate; they also have the highest cost per thousand.

CPO (Cost Per Order):  Virtually no direct mail prospecting is done at a profit.  There is a promotional cost to buy a new customer.  This cost is the differential between gross profit on sales and cost in the mail per 1,000 pieces.

One-Shot Mailing:  An offer designed to make the sale in a single transaction.  Usually the order margin on such an offer is substantial in an effort to clear a profit (against all costs) by this one (and possible only) sales.

Or Current Resident:  A line added via computer to a three-line consumer list in an attempt to obtain greater deliverability and readership in case of a change in residents at a given address.

Qualified Leads:  Names and addresses of individuals who have taken a positive action to indicate genuine interest in a given type of offer.  Also pertains to leads verified as to potential by research.

Return on Investment (ROI):  In direct response, ROI is one of the main ways to measure effectiveness and profitability of any given promotional effort.  Since response starts very quickly, dollars from an effort often permit multiple use of a given investment as the charges against that investment are being paid off, thus providing a particularly attractive “return” on the original dollars put to risk.

Ride-Along:  A form of co-op mailing in which outside offers are accepted to accompany the cold-prospecting mailing the ride-along provides.

Rollout:  A continuation mailing after a successful test made to a full list or to a substantially larger portion of a list.

Self-Mailer:  Cards (on card stock) or folded pieces of paper placed in the mail stream without an outside carrier.  Most catalogs are mailed without an envelope as “self-mailers,” or “flats” (large pieces requiring hand rather than machine handling).

Sweepstakes Lists (Sweeps):  Responses – most of them non-buyers – to a sweepstakes offer.

Teaser:  A piece of introductory copy, usually on the outside envelope, to induce the recipient to open the envelope to find out more information.

Test Quantity:  A test mailing sufficiently large enough from a list of names to enable the mailer to evaluate the responsiveness of the list.  Must satisfy three conditions:  (a) Reasonably random sample of the universe; (b) Large enough to provide break-even response for the mailer; (c) Provide enough response for statistical validity.  Most mailers require 50 to 100 responses.  The size of test quantity has nothing to do with the size of the list.

Validation Mailing:  A second modest mailing to confirm initial test results prior to making a large continuation or rollout of a campaign.

For additional Direct Mail Terminology:
Glossary of Mail Marketing Terms:
Terms that Define Direct Marketing – ValPak: