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Glossary of Direct Mail Terms

October 8, 2010

Address Service Requested
An endorsement which, when printed below the return address in the upper left-hand corner of the mailing piece, authorizes the USPS to provide, for a fee, the known new address of a person no longer at the address to which the piece was mailed.

Bar Code
A coding structure printed on a mailing piece which is used by the USPS for mail sorting.

Carrier Route Presort
Mail that is sorted into a bundle for delivery to a specific delivery route. The mail carrier performing delivery breaks down the bundle at the delivery post office. For example, all books going to Rural Route #2, Pontiac, Illinois, would go directly to the mail carrier assigned to that route in one bundle.

CASS
An acronym for Coding Accuracy Support System, a program by which USPS approves software vendors and other information service providers to provide certified Zip+4 and address correction services to the general public. Mailing lists must be verified and corrected using CASS certified software in order to qualify for automation discounts.

Delivery Point Barcode
An extended barcode allowing mail to be sorted in the order in which it is delivered by the postal carrier.

Duplicate Identification (See Merge-Purge)
The process of merging together two or more lists available on computer tape. This permits the identification of duplicates for separate handling, i.e., purging or mailing again as multibuyers.

Indicia
The preprinted marking on each piece of mail in a bulk mailing showing that postage has been paid for by the sender.

Key Code (key)
Group of letters and/or numbers, colors or other markings used to identify, measure and track the specific effectiveness of media, lists, advertisements and offers, or any part thereof.

Mail Date
The date when a list user, by prior agreement with the list owner, is obligated to mail a specific list. No other date is acceptable without specific approval of the list owner.

Merge-Purge
To combine two or more lists for list enhancement, suppression or duplicate elimination using a computerized matching process.

Minimum Order Requirement
A stipulation stating that payment of a given amount will be paid regardless of quantity order.

Multiple Buyer
A person who has made a direct-mail purchase on two or more different occasions; also known as multibuyer or repeat buyer.

NCOA (National Change of Address)
A service of the USPS to improve the accuracy of mailing addresses. The NCOA file is compiled from change of address cards filled out and submitted by those who are relocating in order to have their mail forwarded to a new address. Mailing lists can be matched against this file in order to update delivery addresses. This service is provided by vendors licensed with the USPS or their business partners.

Net Name Arrangement
An agreement made prior to or at the time of ordering a list, whereby the list owner agrees to accept adjusted payment for less than the total names shipped to the list user. Basis for agreement can be for a percentage of names shipped or names actually mailed, whichever is greater, or for those names actually mailed without a percentage limitation. Running charges may or may not be applicable.

Nixie
A bad address; a mailing piece returned to the mailer by the USPS under proper authorization, because of an incorrect or undeliverable name and address.

Nth Name Selection
A fractional unit that is repeated in sampling a mailing list. For example, in an "every 10th" sample, selected records would be the 1st, 11th, 21st, 31st, etc., or, 2nd, 12th, 22nd, 32nd, etc.

Pandering List
A list of individuals who have reported receipt of sexually offensive literature to the USPS in order to ensure that the same mailer cannot mail to them again except under penalty of law and pending criminal charges.

R.F.M.R.
An acronym for Recency-Frequency-Monetary Value Ratio, a formula used to evaluate the sales potential of names on a given mailing list.

Response List
Individuals or institutions who have responded to direct-marketing offers either by mail or phone; such are more likely to respond again than those included on a non-response list.

Salting by seeds/dummies/decoys
The process of adding names with special characteristics to a list for purposes of identification and protection from unauthorized list use.

Sectional Center Facility (SCF or SCF Center)
A USPS distribution unit comprised of different post offices whose zip codes begin with the same first three digits.

Split Run (A/B Split)
Printing two or more variants of a promotional ad run on an Nth or A/B split throughout the entire edition; use of geographical segments of a publication for testing of variants.

Testing
Preliminary mailing or distribution intended as a preview or pilot prior to beginning a major campaign. Test mailings are used to determine probable acceptance of a product or service and usually made to specially selected lists.

White Mail
Mail from customers with no purchase order form or other identification, including complaints, commendations, referrals, orders, checks or cash; considered any integral part of every direct-mail operation.

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