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The Direct Mail industry has some abbreviations or terms that people may not be familiar with.

Here is a quick glossary of some of the most common terms or jargon used in the direct mail/commercial printing, sales event management industry:

Bar Code
The nine-digit ZIP code translated into a coding structure of vertical bars and half bars used in order to speed the sorting of mail and enabling mailers to take a discount on postage.
BRC / BRE
Business Reply Card and Business Reply Envelope.
Buckslip
A single sheet of paper inserted into a direct mail piece that’s usually used to deliver another offer within the package.
Business List
Any list of individuals or company addresses, inclusion which is based on a business-related interest, inquiry, membership, subscription or purchase.
Carrier Route Presort Mail
Mail sorted by carrier route to qualify for discount postage rates; JS Direct is one of the providers who does pre-sort direct mail pieces for every customer.
Cheshire Label
A print out that is usually 4 names and addresses across by 11 names down. A special Cheshire machine must be used to cut the labels, apply the glue, and then affix the label to the mailing pieces.
Compiled List
A list gathered from directories, newspapers, public records, etc. identifying people or organizations with common characteristics.
Consumer List
Any list of individuals at home addresses who have bought merchandise, subscriptions, given to a non-profit, etc.
Continuation
An order from a mailer who has previously tested or used the list within 12 months and is using it again.
Counts
This is the number of addresses that fit a certain criteria or budget in your chosen target market.
Decoy
A unique name inserted into a mailing list to track the usage of the list, since most lists are purchased for one-time usage only.
Mailer Demographics
Social and economic information about human populations including age, sex, income, education, type of residence, ownership of cars, etc.
Direct Mail
Using the USPS to deliver your printed message..
Enhancement
Any additional information that can be appended to a list to increase its value to the mailer.
Hard Bounce
An e-mail that has bounced back to the sender undelivered without having been accepted by the recipient’s mail.
HHI
Household Income.
Hotline Names
Most recent buyers on a list.
Housefile
A housefile is a consolidated database containing each customer’s name, address and summarized order information.
Insert
Any item, such as buckslip, included in a Direct Mail package.
Key Code
A code, such as letters or numbers that are added to the mailing label to accurately test response rates and the quality of the list ordered.
Labels
Paper printed with a name and address that is affixed to a mailing piece and serve as the mailing address vehicle. Different types of labels include: peel-off or pressure-sensitive labels, gummed labels and paper /Cheshire labels.
Mailing List Maintenance (Database Management)
The ongoing process of keeping a mailing list up-to-date, by adding, editing and deleting data.
Mailing List Cleaning
The process of updating a list in order to remove any undeliverable addresses. Other cleaning activities could include removing duplicates, bad debts, names on the DMA Mail Preference Service, prison ZIPs, etc.
Mail Preference Service (DMA MPS)
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) offers a service for individuals who want their names removed from mailings lists so they will stop receiving direct mail.
Merge/Purge
The process of combining two or more lists into one while, at the same time, identifying and removing any duplicates.
National Change of Address (NCOA)
A service provided by the U.S. Postal Service, through licensed computer service bureaus, that enables mailers to make any necessary address corrections prior to their mailing being dropped. The mailer provides a magnetic tape that is run against the national change of address bank and then is returned to the mailer with all the corrections made.
Net Names
The number of names remaining after a merge/purge eliminates all duplicates.
Nixies
Pieces of mail returned as “undeliverable as addressed”
Nth Name
A fractional unit of selection that is repeated in sampling a mailing list. For example, every 5th name on a list is used.
Pressure Sensitive Mailing Label
A mailing label printed on a peel off sticker that can be affixed to the mail piece.
Psychographics
The qualities or characteristics of individuals that indicate lifestyle, purchasing habits, attitudes and personal values.
Response List
Any list of individuals who have responded to a mailing/offer.
Seeding
False or “dummy” names are added to a mailing list as a way to check delivery and to uncover any unauthorized list usage.
Soft Bounce
An e-mail that has bounced back to the sender undelivered after it was already accepted by the recipient’s mail.
Sorting
In Direct Mail, the arrangement of pieces in a bulk mailing by ZIP Code to facilitate processing and more reliable delivery.
Suppress
Using information on one or more lists to remove duplication of specific names before a mailing, or to eliminate those undesirable names.
Mailer Test
An order that is placed for a small quantity of names to see how the list performs. If it performs well, a continuation order for more names is usually placed.