Glossary of Direct Mail Marketing Terms

Address Accuracy/Validation – Canada Post Corporation has established guidelines for how “accurate” a database of addresses must be to avoid extra postage charges. This standard rating scheme – of comparing a mailing list to a set of Canada Post ideal addresses – is referred to as running Address Accuracy. Currently, LCP mailings over 4,999 pieces and NDG mailings over 49,999 pieces must be tested and rated for accuracy. For more information, refer to marketing database management services

Addressed Admail – Advertising mailings of 1,000 pieces or more that meet the requirements of Canada Post for a significant reduction in postage rates. ASCII – This is an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange (pronounced “ask-ee”), the standard “alphabet” used by PC (IBM-Compatible) computers. Whenever someone needs an ASCII file, they are simply asking for a PC-based file. For more information, refer to addressed admail services

Audit Code – A single alphabetic character that must be printed on all Letter Carrier Presort mail pieces to let the post office know that the mail preparation is accurate. Canada Post selects a new audit code each month to accompany the current sort information.

Bulk Mail – Bulk mail broadly refers to mail that is mailed and processed in bulk at reduced rates. Volume bulk mail is rated for postage partly by weight and partly by the number of pieces in the mailing due to light weight and a higher than average number of pieces of mail. The term does not denote any particular purpose for the mail; in particular, it is not synonymous with “junk mail.” For more information, refer to bulking mailing services

CASS: Coding Accuracy Support System – The address accuracy system of the United States Postal Service that compares a mailing list to a set of ideal addresses and generates a report. All US Automation mailings must be CASS processed.

Continuous Form – In contrast to a cut sheet which is a loose sheet of paper, a continuous form is supplied and printed as a roll of paper (up to 24 inches in diameter) on a cardboard core or as a fan-folded stack of paper.

Data Cleansing / Data Scrubbing – Data cleansing or data scrubbing is the act of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database. For more information, refer to marketing database management services

Data Hygiene– Data hygiene refers to the general cleanliness of your database. Maintaining good data hygiene requires running regular data cleaning processes like address verification, data name cleansing / scrubbing, mover updates (NCOA), duplicate elimination and merge/purge. For more information, refer to marketing database management services

Delimited data file – A file format used to exchange information between database programs. Each component of an individual’s information is delimited by a comma and encapsulated by double quotes. ie. “John”,”Sample”,”(604) 555-9090″ “Jane”,”Sampleperson”,”(250) 555-2123″ A database program can import this data by breaking the information into fields based on the commas and the quotes.

DMC: Delivery Mode Code – As part of the Letter Carrier Presort option, a specific Delivery Mode Code must be printed onto each mail piece. It describes the type of delivery service, as well as the letter carrier route applicable to that address.

FSA: Forward Sortation Area – This is the geographic region represented by the first three characters of a Canadian postal code.

FSA Select – Using only addresses within certain predetermined FSAs.

Inserter – An inserter is a machine that automatically retrieves, collates, and stuffs mail pieces into an envelope. It stacks each of the different inserts one on top of the other pushes them all into and envelope and seals the flap, automatically.

Laser (-safe) Ink – Not all inks are suitable for laser printing. Inks that are used to print your letterhead must withstand temperatures above 212°C (414°F) and the friction of feeder rollers without melting, smearing or tracking. Be sure to tell your print supplier at the time you order your materials if you plan to run them through a laser printer.

LCP: Letter Carrier Presort Option – This is the most cost-effective sort option economical for addressed Canadian mailings. Certain restrictions regarding how regionally concentrated and how accurate your addresses must be, apply to small quantities and large quantities, respectively.

LDU: Local Delivery Unit – This is a subdivision (see FSA: Forward Sortation Area) of a geographic region, represented by the last three characters of a Canadian postal code. The LDU may be a specific city block, a single post office, or even an office building.

Lettermail and Incentive Lettermail – Lettermail refers to the postage rate available to anyone – full price. Incentive Lettermail can provide a discount over regular Lettermail rates based of frequency, volume and saturation. Incentive rates are provided by contract only.

Lettershop – A lettershop is a business that assembles and prepares for mailing all the material in a promotional effort; addresses, folds, inserts, sorts and applies postage to direct mail and delivers them to the post office for mailing. For more information, refer to lettershop services

Mail List – A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include those subscribed to a list (subscribers). so the group of subscribers are referred to as “the mailing list”. Mailing lists types can be defined in two types; the first, consisting of postal addresses for newsletters, periodicals or advertising; and the second, consisting of e-mail adresses, known as the “electronic mailing list” or “email list”. For more information, refer to marketing mail list database management

Mail Services Provider – A company or organization that provides mailing services. For more information, refer to mail services provider

Machineable Mail Option – Reduced postage rate for Lettermail, Addressed Admail or Publications; addresses must be accurate and clearly legible and meet with Canada Post specifications. Automation markings will be printed onto the piece by Canada Post.

Mail Merge/Purge – Combining (merging) several databases into one large data file and eliminating (purging) duplicate records based on common addresses, names, companies or any other criteria. For more information, refer to mail merge services

Meter Impression – The date, rate and meter number that is stamped by a meter machine onto a mail item to indicate that postage has been paid. The process is called metering.

Micro-Perf – Perforations consisting of 20 to 30 cuts per inch that do not form a significant ridge. These are the preferred type of perforation, as they limit the spoilage caused by double feeding of sheets and tearing in continuous forms.

NCOA: National Change of Address – NCOA is the National Change Of Address database managed by the USPS. Mailers run an NCOA process on their Mailing Lists to maintain address accuracy, reduce Nixies, lower mailing costs, and increase open rates.

NDG: National Distribution Guide Option – This is the mail sort option economical for Canadian mailings of 1,000 pieces or more. It is much less expensive than Lettermail but the mail must be processed and packaged according to specific Canada Post guidelines.

Nixies – Nixies are records in a mailing List that should not be there. Nixies also refer to mail that gets returned to sender when mail is sent to undeliverable addresses or deliverable addresses but unknown or incorrect names.

Nth Select – A method used to restrict the size of your mailing by selecting only a portion of your total database and holding the rest. So, you may wish to send a mail item to every 5th person on your list… every 10th person… every Nth person. Nth selection is most commonly done by having a computer randomly select records.

Nesting – Nesting refers to folding one insert inside another. For example, if you wanted a small coupon to be placed within the folds of a letter, rather than inserted loose on top of it, the coupon must be nested into the letter before the letter is inserted. Although most nesting must be done by hand, certain types are possible during the folding process.

Non Qualifier’s – Term for invalid addresses which have been rejected by a Letter Carrier Presort program. Postal Indicia – Any of several post office approved images that substitute for actual stamps or meter impressions. They usually contain a service descriptor, a city of origin, and a permit number, so that the post office knows the class of the mailing, where it came from and who is paying for it.

Postage Meter – A postage meter is a mechanical device used to create and apply physical evidence of postage to mailed matter. Postage meters are regulated by a country’s postal authority; for example, in the Canada, Canada Post specifies the rules for the creation, support, and use of postage meters. A postage meter imprints an amount of postage, functioning as a postage stamp, a cancellation and a dated postmark all in one. The meter stamp serves as proof of payment and eliminates the need for adhesive stamps. For more information, refer to postage metering

Postcard – A mail item of a specific thickness and size which is blank on the right side of one of its faces except for the addressee’s complete address, a postage stamp or mark, and other necessary mail delivery endorsements.

Rural FSA – Canadian Postal codes which have zeros as their second character – like V0N 3G0 for Squamish and V0X 1L0 for Hope; these types of postal codes are used for towns and cities which do not use letter-carrier delivery.

Self-Mailer – A self-mailer is any piece delivered by mail which is not enclosed in an envelope or box. Among other forms, self-mailers can be newsletters, brochures, or pieces that are folded with cut-outs to look like window envelopes. Usually, self-mailers are pre-printed with postal indicia.

Unaddressed Admail / Household Mail – Coupons, catalogues, envelopes, product samples and other advertising materials that are not addressed to specific addresses. The individual items must meet thickness, weight and size requirements, be prepared for delivery in cross-tied bundles, and be properly packaged and labelled. Unaddressed Admail is delivered to all deliverable addresses within predetermined delivery areas (see FSA and LDU). For more information, refer to unaddressed admail services