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UK Mailing And Direct Mail Terms

Nov 15, 2007
Aspect Ratio: The dimension of a mailing piece expressed as a ratio of height to length.

Bangtail: That little piece of paper on the back of an envelope that gets removed via perforation and is another opportunity to get your advertising message seen. Commonly seen on credit card envelopes that are included with your monthly invoice.

Barcode: A series of vertical full bars and half bars representing Post Code information relative to the address on the mailpiece.

Barcode Read Area: The clear zone on the lower part of an envelope that must be kept free of printing and symbols except for the barcode itself.

BRC: Business Reply Card

BRE: Business Reply Envelope

Bursting: The process of separating continuous forms.

Carrier Sheet: A sheet of paper that is inserted into a polybag or is polywrapped. It usually contains a personalised address and PPI

Cheshire - Label: These types of labels look like normal white computer paper. A special machine, called the Cheshire machine can cut this paper into label sized strips (usually 3 5/16" x 1") and glue them onto mailing pieces.

Cleaned List: One that is up to date and free of duplication and unwanted names/addresses.

Collate: To put together a number of inserts or pieces of paper for a purpose. Such as collating 10 pages together, so as you can staple them.

Control: The mail package format/creative that's done the best for you; the one that's yielded the greatest response.

Data Enhancement: Improving the quality of the data i.e. Changing the casing of the data, improving the post code, breaking up the salutation field into Title Initial Surname, and much more! Call us if you need some help.

Data Entry: Entering names and addresses into a computer one at a time from printed or hand written material.

Database: Can be as simple as a card file; a collection of information stored in a computer medium that can be easily accessed and manipulated.

Deduplication (Dedupe): An electronic process where two or more records are compared and if same duplication is removed

Demographics: Those characteristics that define a particular group of people, including HHI, age, education level, family size, etc.

Envelope - DL: Envelope used for 1/3 A4 mailing. Can also be oversize and undersize. The undersize can be used to put a BRE in a DL envelope. Oversize DL envelopes assist in the mailing production buy giving a larger clearance.

Envelope - C5: Size to fit an A5 piece of paper or 1/2 A4

Envelope - C4: Size to fit A4 items

Font: The collection of all letters, numbers, punctuation marks, etc. within a certain size and style.

Fulfilment House: A company specializing in responding to and tracking orders sold through Direct Mail.

Gate Fold: A type of fold where both sides of a piece get folded inward so the edges come together.

Inkjetting: A method of addressing an envelope or card or other item. The machine is connected to a computer and can personalise and add graphics to a mailing piece

Insert: Any item, such as a brochure or pamphlet, that is placed in a Direct Mail package.

Jiffy Bag: Generally a corrugated, padded or bubble bag often used to mail an article that needs protection, such as a cassette or video tape.

Kerning: Reducing space between characters. Negative letter spacing.

Laser Clear - Labels: See Laser labels, except these are translucent in appearance.

Laser White - Labels: Laser labels are also known as pressure sensitive sheet fed labels. Basically, the labels peel off a backing and stick onto another surface, and each sheet of labels is independent of each other.

Layout: The arrangement of text blocks, headlines and graphics on a page.

Letter Fold (Writing In): Piece is folded inwards from both sides in such a way so that they overlap each other. When completed the writing of the front page is folded facing inwards.

Letter Fold (Writing Out): Piece is folded inwards from both sides in such a way so that they overlap each other. When completed the writing of the front page is folded facing outwards.

Lettershop: A company that personalises, labels, sorts and stuffs envelopes in preparation for mailing.

Lift Note: A folded sheet that is a "last chance" to deliver an advertising message. Usually written by a person other than the main writer of the letter. Good place for a testimonial.

List Broker: An individual or company that brings together owners of lists and the Direct Mailers who use them.

List compiler: An individual or company that specializes in gathering names, addresses and information from a variety of sources to produce a customized list of prospective customers.

Live stamp/live postage: A "normal" stamp which a consumer would use, as opposed to metered mailings.

Machinable Wallet: An envelope that is machinable. The flap is gummed and on the long edge of the envelope.

Mailsort: Mail which has been presorted for Royal Mail. There are three levels of service with varying discounts.

Matching: The process of keeping together a unique insert to the addressee that goes with at least one other unique insert in the same package, or a unique insert to the addressee that goes with the address information located on the outside of the package. For example a personalized letter that needs to be matched with the address displayed on the outside of the envelope.

Merge: The process of combining two or more lists into a single one using the same sequential order, then sorting them together, usually by Company Name or Postcode

Merge/Purge: The process of combining more than one data file and deleting out the duplicate entries.

Nest: To place a piece inside a part or all of another piece.Example: To place a card with directions inside an invitation. To place a reply card inside the flap of a reply envelope. When a multi-page letter needs to be folded together as one, often a mailhouse will z-fold the letters individually and hand put them together. Then the entire letter can be inserted as one multi-paged document. The process of putting the letters together would be nesting.

OCR (optical character reader): A computerized mail processing machine that scans addresses on mail and applies the proper barcode.

OE (outer envelope) or Outer: The envelope that your package will be delivered in. Usually, a "teaser" line is on the front to entice the recipient to open your letter.

Overs (or overruns): The portion of a print run that exceeds the quantity specified in the purchase order. Allow 2% on small mailings and 1% on larger runs (100,000+)

Perf: Perforation

Periodicals: A class of mail consisting of magazines, newspapers, or other publications that are issued throughout the year at regular, specified intervals.

Personalised Laser Letter: A document printed from a laser printer where each page has some form of personalisation such that each one is unique.

Point: A typographical unit of measure equal to approximately 1/72" (0.0138").

Polybag: A clear polythene bag often used to mail magazines and newsletters.

Polywrapping: A method where a piece of flat polythene is wrapped around a mailing piece and sealed. Usually cheaper than polybagging and usually thinner.

PPI: The Postage Paid Impression or postage mark.

Precancelled Stamps: Stamps cancelled by printing across the face before they are sold to mailers.

Presort: The process by which a mailer prepares mail so that is sorted down to the finest extent required by the Post Office.

Presstream: A method of presorting mail for periodicals. There are two services available with varying discounts

Pressure Sensitive Continuous Feed - Labels: Pressure sensitive type labels, peel off a backing and stick onto another surface, such as a mail piece. Continuous feed means the label pages are attached to each other and are fed through the printer by pin holes.

Proportional Spacing: The spacing of characters in a line where the space occupied by a character is proportional to the width of that character, as opposed to fixed spacing where every character occupies the same amount of space regardless of its actual width.

Psychographics: These are characteristics, habits, attitudes, lifestyle and behaviour patterns that can help you identify your audience, or eliminate names of those who aren't.

Purge: The process of eliminating duplicates and/or unwanted names from one or more lists.

QMP: An accreditation from the British Accreditation Bureau in conjunction with Royal Mail. Mailing house clients are randomly checked for their level of satisfied customers. Check that your mailing house is approved! It should be.

Quarter-Fold: A type of fold where a piece gets folded in half, and then in half again. Both folds are in the same direction.

RFM (recency/frequency/monetary): A key formula used with most databases. It lets direct marketers know the recency and frequency of purchasing, and the amount of money spent by the people in their database.

Right Angle Fold: A type of fold where a mailing piece gets folded in one direction, and then in another direction. Eg. a 17 x 11 piece getting folded in half to 8 1/2 x 11 then folded in half (or in thirds), but in the opposite direction, so that the finished size is 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 (or 8 1/2 x 3 2/3).

Roll Fold: A type of fold where one side of a piece gets folded inward and then folded inward again at least once more, like you are rolling a piece up.

Saddle Stitching: Stapling a publication from the back to the centre.

Self-Mailer: A mailing piece that mails without the use of an envelope. An example of this is an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet tri-folded, addressed and mailed by itself.

Self Seal: An envelope which has glue in two places on the envelope. They are not machinable and must be sealed by hand.Serif: The short crosslines at the ends of the main strokes of letters in certain type styles.

Shelf Life: The length of time before an item (such as a catalogue) becomes obsolete.

Skew: The misalignment or slant of a character, bar, line of characters, or barcode with respect to the bottom or top edge of the mailpiece.

Sorting: In Direct Mail, the arrangement of pieces in a bulk mailing by Post 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, or the names of the deceased, or people on the Mailing Preference Service

Tracking: The maintenance of records concerning various aspects of mailings, e.g., response rate, date mailed, location of respondents, etc.

Tri-fold: A type of fold where the sides of a piece both get folded inward, usually one third of the length of the piece.

Typesetter: An individual or company that generates high-resolution text and graphics. The typesetter can produce the high-quality output needed to produce professional-looking printed matter.

Walksort: A process carried out by the mailing house to sort mail down to the postman's walk from the post code in the data. There are two levels of service and varying discounts available.

Web Press: A press that prints on rolls (or webs) of paper instead of single sheets.

White Space: Areas on a page that have no printing on them.

Window Envelopes: Envelopes having an opening through which an address printed on an insert is visible.

Z-Fold: Piece is folded inwards once and outwards once, like in the shape of a Z. Not recommended for machine i
About the Author
Martin Collier is Managing Director of a direct mailing house near Southampton in the UK. He writes about mailing matters, is a keen sailor and amateur racing driver. More information at www.mcmdirect.com (click on the link above.
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