- Abandonment As in the phrase "call abandonment". This refers to people
who, being placed on hold in an incoming call, elect to hang up ("abandon") the
call. Call centers monitor closely the "abandonment rate" as a measure of their
- ACD Automatic Call Distributor. A complex machine used in modern call centers for
incoming calls. It routes calls to available agents, holds overflow calls, gives and takes
messages, provides reports. A must for modern database marketing.
- Acquisition Cost The cost of signing up a new customer. Lifetime Value is often
used to compute the maximum allowable acquisition cost.
- Address A computer term for the location on a disk or in memory of a piece of
information. Addresses help the computer to find things rapidly, and to store them for
- Ad-hoc report A reporting method which permits you to ask questions like: How may
women over 60 have bought more than $200 from us in the last 4 months?
- Affinity People who are similar in lifestyle
- Affinity Analysis A process of finding relationships between customer purchases.
People who buy skis buy snow tires.
- Affinity Matrix A cross tab showing cross buying patterns by customers who did or
did not buy Products A, B, C, and D.
- Affluents Households with 30% or more than the cost of living plus taxes.
- Agent The word for a telephone operator in a modern inbound call center in a
company that takes a lot of customer service and sales calls.
- Analog Regular telephone service comes over analog lines. Modern improved service
(often used for data lines) comes over DIGITAL lines in which all the sounds are converted
to 1's and 0's. For database marketing computer communications, digital is better.
- ANI Automatic Number Identification. A system whereby you can learn the number of
a person who is calling you on the telephone. Can be linked to a database to find the
person's name and address.
- Appended Data process whereby a customer file has data appended to it (such as
age, income, home value) from some external data file. See overlay.
- ASCII American Standard format for data storage on magnetic media (tape or disk).
- Attrition Model A model that predicts which customers are most likely to leave.
Usually expressed as a percentage of likelihood.
- Attrition Rate The opposite of retention rate. The percentage of customers this
year who are no longer buying next year.
- Autosexing A computer process for finding the sex and appending titles (Mr. Ms.)
to a file of names.
- Back end As in phrase "back end analysis" refers to the results of
actions with people who have responded to your initial offer.
- Batch mode If you have received 10,000 replies to a mailing, you can update your
master file with these replies in one batch. This is the fastest and cheapest way to
update records. The opposite is On-Line updating.
- Baud rate A measure of line transmission speed. 28.8 thousand Baud is a good
speed for terminals and PC's connected to a marketing database. Speeds can go up to 56,000
- Bits If a byte is like an atom in computer language, a bit is like an electron. A
bit is either on or off. It is either a 1 or a zero. Eight bits make up one byte.
- Block The smallest reported unit in the 1990 U.S. Census. About 14 households in
- Block group The smallest reported unit in the 1980 U. S. Census. About 340
households on average.
- Bounce back The practice of sending another identical (or similar) catalog back
to someone who has just ordered something from one of your catalogs.
- Brand Managers Most packaged goods companies organize themselves by brand. The
brand manager is responsible for advertising, marketing and sales of the product. The
brand manager is typically the main obstacle to database marketing which is customer
focussed rather than product focussed.
- BRC or BRE Business Reply Card or Business Reply Envelope
- Brokerage Commission The commission (usually 20%) paid by a list owner to a
broker to handle the rental of a list.
- Bugs Errors that crop up in software. Caused by inability of programmers to
predict all possible ways that the code in their programs will be used to process data.
- Byte A unit of computer memory. One letter or number is a byte. A byte is usually
composed of eight bits.
- Call center The word for an inbound telephone division in a company. The
operators are called Agents. The call center uses an ACD (automatic call distributor) to
manage the calls efficiently.
- Call Tracking Keeping track of what happened to customer calls.
- CD A banking term for certificate of deposit. Also: a compact disk, a form of
digitized data storage. (as in CD-ROM)
- Cell code After completing RFM analysis, every customer is assigned a Cell Code
which identifies her recency frequency and monetary level of buying. The cell code is
often used in mailing. Sometimes used interchangeably with the term Source Code.
- CFO Chief financial officer. The man in charge of budgets.
- Channel (1) An input-output device as part of a mainframe computer.
- (2) A means of distributing product to the market. For example, dealers, retail stores,
- Cheshire Label A type of plain paper label used in mailing. Requires a Cheshire
machine to affix to mailing material. The most common computer label.
- Chip The thing in the center of a computer that makes it work. On a PC a 486 chip
is a fast chip. A Pentium is faster. Faster and faster chips keep coming out. Chips are
the size of your fingernail, and hold millions of circuits shrunk by photographic methods
to tiny size.
- Churning The practice of customers switching to another supplier based on special
discount offers. Particularly used in the cellular telephone or credit card industries.
- Chutzpah What the Presidents of direct response agencies need to have to be
successful at database marketing. Audacity, Guts, Boldness, Willpower.
- CIF Customer Information File usually in banks and financial institutions. A
consolidation of many different accounts held by a household or individual, used for
- Cleaning Names A process whereby names and addresses on a customer or prospect
list are corrected (addresses standardized; zips corrected; spelling and punctuation
corrected; duplicates consolidated, etc.)
- Cluster A way of dividing all households in the country into about sixty
different types, such as "Blue Blood Estates" and "Shotguns and
Pickups." Usually called lifestyle groups. Useful for file segmentation. Clustering
systems are provided by Claritas, Equifax, Donnelley, CACI. In Canada by Compusearch.
- Confidentiality Agreement An agreement which precedes any contract with an
outsourcing agency. It says that your secrets will not be revealed to others.
- Compiled list Names and addresses taken from directories, newspapers, public
records. People who have something in common. Compiled lists are usually the least useful
or responsive for direct marketing. Response lists are better.
- Computation Period The number of years from now that you can safely project
customer lifetime value. The period is short for products that soon become obsolete.
- Continuity Products or services bought as a series of small purchases, rather
than all at one time. Book of The Month Club, or other products shipped on a regular
- Continuation A mailing to the same list following a successful test of a portion
of the list. A continuation becomes a "rollout" when the entire list is mailed.
- Control Group Every database promotion should include a control group of
customers who are not exposed to the promotion. The success of the promotion is measured
by the difference in response of the promoted group compared to the control group (after
subtracting the cost of the promotion).
- Controller A device for managing the data input and output from several devices
which are connected with a mainframe. These devices can include terminals or disks or tape
drives. Controllers usually have a small computer inside them which permits them to manage
the flow of instructions from the computer to the units in an organized way. They make the
computer more powerful.
- Conversion rate The percentage of responders who become customers.
- Coop mailing A mailing in which two or more offers -- usually from different
companies -- are included in the same envelope, and share the costs.
- Copy The text of your direct mail piece.
- CPI Cost per inquiry
- CPO Cost per order
- CPU Central Processing Unit. The heart of a mainframe.
- Cross-Selling Encouraging customers to buy products from other departments or
- Custom report A database report designed by the marketing staff which exactly
meets the marketing needs of the company. Once programmed, it can be run daily or weekly
for very little cost.
- Database Marketing Collecting data on customers and using it to provide
recognition and services to customers, resulting in increased customer loyalty and repeat
- Data Enhancement A process whereby a customer file has data appended to it (such
as age, income, home value) from some external data file. See overlay.
- Data entry Also called Keypunching. Entering names and addresses and other data
into magnetic media such as tape.
- DBA Database Administrator. A person who controls a marketing database. The DBA
should be someone from marketing or sales who has the budget for the database.
- DDA A banking term for checking account balances.
- Dealer Training A process whereby dealers are trained to handle your product.
- Decile One tenth of a mailing, usually divided by percentage of response.
- Decoy A unique name added to a mailing list used to spot unauthorized use of the
- De Dupe Identifying and consolidating duplicate names usually done in a
- Demographics Demographic data usually refers to the data which the Census Bureau
or Canada Stats collects on a neighborhood such as income, education level, etc. This data
can be appended to a household record. It isn't necessarily accurate for any
particular household since it is the average for households in that block. But it is
usually the only data available.
- Digital line A type of telephone transmission service that is much more reliable
than the normal analog line. All data is converted into bits before it is transmitted. A
regular telephone line is called an Analog Line.
- Direct access A disk is a direct access device. Tape drives are not direct access
because to find data on them, you have to read all the way through thousands of records to
find the one you want. With direct access, you have all data stored at particular
addresses. You can access each piece of data directly.
- Direct Marketing Interactive marketing that produces a measurable response or
purchase. The data is stored on a database.
- Direct Response Advertising or promotion that seeks not just to provide
information, but to generate an inquiry, order or visit.
- Direct Cost Percent The percentage of revenue that is applied to the cost of the
product plus overhead, fixed costs, etc.
- Discount Rate The amount by which any future dollar amount must divided to
produce the net present value of the amount. The formula is DR = (1 + i)n where
i = market rate of interest and n = number of years. The interest rate is usually doubled
in the formula to account for risk.
- Disk Magnetic disks are attached to computers. They hold information (records)
which can be retrieved very rapidly if the computer knows the address of the information
on the disk (Direct Access). In relational databases, the address of records and
information within records are kept on indexes which make access to the records very
- DNIS Dialed Number Identification. A system whereby you can learn in a call
center what number the incoming callers dialed to reach you. Important because many call
centers handle calls from many incoming numbers for many purposes, but use the same bank
of agents to take the calls. They have to know what number people were dialing so they can
react properly to the call.
- Downsizing Moving a function from a mainframe computer to a smaller computer such
as a Mini, a LAN or a PC.
- Dump Printed display of the contents of a tape or data file. You should look at a
dump of some records in our customer database to check accuracy.
- Duplicate The same name occurring twice or more on the same file. All very large
databases contain duplicates because name or address spelling may vary slightly. Good
service bureaus can reduce but never totally eliminate duplicates.
- Duplication Factor The % of names on one list that are also on another list. It
is a measure of affinity in the lists.
- EBCDIC A protocol for putting data on a tape. All IBM mainframes use EBCDIC. Most
others use ASCII.
- Edit check A software process whereby data to be entered into a marketing
database is checked for logic before it goes into the database.
- Enhancement Appending demographic or lifestyle data to a list.
- Event Driven Programs Database programs which are triggered to produce output
(usually communications) based on events: a birthday letter, anniversary letter, thank you
- Extract A system for creating a sequential file from a relational marketing
database. The extract can be used for preparing reports, or for sending data to other
companies for their use.
- Fixed field Organization of a tape or data file in which each group of data (such
as name, address, city, zip) has a fixed location and length within the file.
- FSI Free Standing Insert. Usually a coupon or other promotion found in a magazine
or newspaper. The least expensive way to distribute coupons.
- Flat file Another name for a sequential name file. Contrasted with a database
file (not flat because of the indexes).
- Focus group A group of customers who are assembled together by an advertising
agency in a conference room to discuss a particular product. Useful for learning what the
public thinks of your product or message or company.
- Format The way data (name and address) is organized on a disk or tape. There is
no standard format. Every company has their own.
- Frequency A term for how many times a person buys from you.
- Fulfillment The process of responding to a customer request with literature or
product. Fulfillment us usually outsourced to a fulfillment house.
- Geocoding A system for assigning a census code to any name and address. Once a
file is geocoded, you can append census data (income, race, etc.) to the records and
assign cluster codes.
- Geodemographics Census data that can be appended to a household file once it has
been geocoded. Includes such factors as income, education, home type, etc. Derived from
the neighborhood of the household. Same as Demographics.
- Geographic Information System (GIS) Software that displays data on a computer
- Gigabyte A billion bytes (characters). A measure of the size of mainframe disk
storage. A typical mainframe shop will have 100 gigabytes or more. "Her database used
over 35 gig!"
- Graphical User Interface (GUI) Software that permits users to access their data
by manipulating a mouse.
- Hardware Computers and disks, tape drives, printers, and other gear that are
plugged into computers.
- Hawthorne Effect A psychological phenomenon whereby people (customers) act
differently when they are being studied.
- Hidden Layer An group of internal nodes inside of a Neural Network which it uses
to build a model. The less known about hidden layers by non statisticians, the better.
- House File The organization's own file of active and former customers.
- Householding A process in which all people and their accounts are grouped by the
house that they live in so that they only get one letter per house in a promotion.
- ID Number A number assigned to a record to help to relate it to other records in
the computer which have the same ID.
- Identification The process whereby a customer identifies himself with the company
which provides him with products or services
- Index 1) used in relational databases to help to find common data in thousands of
records. An index for income could help find all the customers whose income was between
$25K and $35K. Using an index you can query a file of 10 million customers and find out
how many women aged 60+ bought more than $200 in the last 6 months, and do it in 5
seconds. 2) A statistical term for relating the value of two sets of numbers. If one group
had a response index of 100 and another had 120, the second group had 20% more replies
than the first one. The average of any group always has an index of 100.
- Influentials In business-to-business, executives who have the authority to make
or influence a purchase.
- Infrastructure The process of maintaining a database: nightly backup, cleaning,
merge/purge, deduplication, update, etc.
- IS Information Systems (Also MIS) - the part of the company responsible for the
central data processing operations.
- IVR Interactive Voice Response a piece of equipment connected with an ACD which
permits inbound callers to a call center to choose their own routing of the call
("Push 1 for Sales, Push 2 for Service...)
- Keyline Or Match Key -- a combination of numbers and letters usually beginning
with the zip code, which is used as a rough household duplicate eliminator.
- Keypunching The process whereby someone enters names and addresses and other data
from hard copy (paper forms) onto a computer tape or disk. It is done on a typewriter-like
keyboard into a small computer. Same as Data Entry.
- LAN Local Area Network. A system for linking several PCs into a single system
with a File Server PC that keeps a central database. Some databases are located on LANs.
- Laser letter A letter produced on a Laser Printer. Very clean and neat looking.
Possible to have unlimited personalization of the text of the letter.
- Lead A prospect who has responded is called a Lead.
- Lead Conversion Rate The percentage of leads which become customers.
- Lead Tracking The process of keeping up with what has happened to a lead
(prospect who has expressed an interest in your product or service). Lead tracking is very
difficult because salesmen hate to report on the status of leads.
- Lettershop An independent company that handles all the details of printing and
- Lifestyle Lifestyle data about a neighborhood comes from clustering. If a
significant number of people in a given cluster have taken a foreign trip, it is assumed
that all similar households have done this. It is a lifestyle attribute. Included are
magazines read, TV programs watched, etc.
- Lifetime value The contribution to overhead and profit made by a customer during
her total relationship with your company. Abbreviation: LTV.
- Lift The improvement in response from a mailing due to modeling and segmentation.
Divide the response from a segment by the overall response, subtract 1 and multiply by
- List broker A service which brings list owners and prospective list renters
- List maintenance Keeping a mailing list current through correcting and updating
the addresses and other data.
- List rental The process of renting (for one time use, or other periods) a list of
names of customers owned by some other organization for an agreed upon cost per thousand.
- Loss Leader A product sold at a loss to get customers to begin buying.
- Loyalty Customer loyalty is measured as Retention. A loyal customer is one who
keeps buying from you.
- Loyalty Programs Rewards that encourage customers to keep being customers longer,
or to purchase more.
- Mailing list A list of customers or prospects used to mail catalogs or sale
announcements. It is not a marketing database because it does not provide for a two-way
communication with customers.
- Mail shop An independent company which specializes in preparing materials for
mailing. They affix labels, sort for bulk rates, prepare bagtags, insert in postal bags.
- Mainframe The largest computers used in business applications. They require
raised floors, special air conditioning. Mainframes are recommended for marketing
databases because of their power, input-output capability and speed measured in MIPS.
- MAND Money, Authority, Need and Desire -- the requisites of a qualified lead.
- Market Penetration The percentage of buyers you have as compared with the total
households or businesses in the area you have selected as your market.
- Market Research Statistical analysis of customer data to draw overall conclusions
as a basis for action.
- Market Rate of Interest The cost of borrowing money by your company from banks or
other institutions. In discount rate computations, this amount is usually doubled to
account for risk.
- Mass Marketing Selling to everyone through mass media such as radio, TV, or a
newspaper, as opposed to database marketing which is aimed at a small selected audience.
- Match code A keyline. An extract of the name and address used to identify a
specific record. Used in de-duping.
- Media Communications channels that convey messages, such as radio, TV, magazines,
- Megabyte A million bytes. Disks are rated in megabytes.
- Memory The amount of information that a computer can hold in its head while it is
doing work. The more memory, the faster a computer can work, and the more complicated
programs it can handle. New computers today have 32 megabytes of memory, which can be
- Merge/purge A software system used to merge many different input tapes in
differing formats and put them into a common format for a mailing. Merge/Purge detects
- Micro Micro-computer. Another name for a PC.
- Migration The process of moving your database from one platform (such as an
external service bureau) to another (such as your in-house mainframe). When you outsource,
you should look ahead and be sure that you can migrate at some later date.
- MINI Smaller than Mainframe computers. They may also need raised floors and air
conditioning. They are less expensive than Mainframes, and, generally do not have the
power or input-output capability to manage a large marketing database.
- MIPS Millions of Instructions Per Second. A measurement of the relative speed of
a Mainframe computer.
- MIS Abbreviation for Management Information Systems. This term is used in many
companies to refer to the data processing staff that runs the central company mainframe
- Modeling A statistical technique whereby you determine which pieces of data in
your customer database explains the behavior of your customers. The output of a model is a
series of weights which can be multiplied by customer data (income, age, length of
residence) to create a score which predicts likelihood to respond to an offer.
- Modem A device permitting a PC or terminal to send information over a telephone
line. You have to have a modem at both ends. Modems are rated in Baud rate.
- Mouse A small switch on a wheel used to control a PC
- MRI Mediamark Research, Inc. is a nationwide survey organization that distributes
consumer purchase behavior data.
- Multi-buyer A person who crops up on two or more independent rented lists.
Multi-buyers usually respond better to a direct offer than other buyers.
- Multiple Regression A statistical technique used in modeling whereby you
develop a formula which explains the relationship between several variables in explaining
- NCOA National Change of Address, a US Postal Service system under which about
twenty service bureaus nationwide have exclusive use of the change of address forms filed
by persons or businesses who are moving. These forms are keypunched, and can be used by
the service bureau to update your tape of prospects to obtain their correct current
address. A worthwhile service for mailers.
- Net names The actual names used in a mailing, after removing the duplicates and
matches to your customer list. In some cases, you can rent names on a net-name basis.
- Neural Network A type of modeling software on a PC which permits a marketer to
determine the weights that should be applied to a large number of variables to predict the
response or purchases by a target audience.
- Niche market A way of finding a special product that appealed to only one group,
and selling that product very profitably only to that group, ignored by others.
- Nixie A direct mail letter which has been returned to the sender because the
address was wrong. Also, any undelivered piece of mail. Nixies are used to correct a list.
- Nth name A software system whereby you can pick every 3rd or 4th or
250th name out of a file to use as a valid test of the file. To test a file of 400,000
with a test mailing of 40,000, you would pick every10th name.
- Offer What you are offering in your direct mail: 10 for only $19.95.
- Off-line An off-line database is kept on magnetic tape or cartridge. You cannot
call up a record instantly from an off-line database.
- On-line An on-line database is one in which all the customer records can be
called up on your screen instantly when you want them. On-line databases are kept on disk.
The opposite of on-line is off-line (or Batch) which usually means that the database is
kept on magnetic tape.
- On-Pack Offers Communications with customers by making an offer on the package
that they purchase.
- Overlayed Data A process whereby a customer file has data appended to it (such as
age, income, home value) from some external data file. See Enhancement.
- Outsourcing The process of having various database functions handled by external
service bureaus. Typically, functions are outsourced to direct response agencies, computer
service bureaus, data entry houses, mailshops, fulfillment houses, telemarketing
- Package The envelope or container or look of your outgoing direct mail piece.
- PC Personal Computer. The versatile desktop workstation used for hundreds of
applications. They can be used to access a marketing database resident on a mainframe.
- Penetration Ratio Your customers as a percentage of the universe that
defines your customer's type of household or business. "We had a penetration ratio in
that zip code of 8%."
- Personalization The process of including personal references in an outgoing mail
piece such as "Thank you for your order of Feb. 23 for six boxes of hard candy, Mrs.
Williams." With laser letters, personalization does not cost more than
- POS Point of Sale. A cash register.
- Postal pre-sort Sorting outgoing letters in a special way to take advantage of
- Predictive Model A model which predicts the response to a promotion.
- Present Discounted Value A financial process for calculating the present value of
an amount of money to be received or paid in the future. The formula is PDV = V / (1 + i)n
where V = future value, i = market rate of interest, n = time in years.
- Production A function in an advertising agency of producing letters and other
direct mail pieces. Also the programmers in a service bureau who work on such direct mail
- Profile A way of describing your typical customer. You create a profile by
modeling your database. The profile could tell you that your typical customer was a woman
of 35-54 with an income of $25-$50K.
- Prospect A potential customer who you have targeted.
- Prospecting Mailing or telemarketing to prospects who are not yet your customers.
- Psychographics A way of grouping people by wealth, orientation, hobbies and
- Pull The percent response to your offer by mail or phone.
- Purge To eliminate undesirable names from a list.
- Qualify In business-to-business, a process whereby respondents to an ad or a
mailing are determined (usually by a telephone interview) to be worth a salesman's time
and attention. In efficient operations, a telemarketer will qualify an incoming lead
before the name is sent to a salesman for action.
- Query A question designed to retrieve information from a database. The result can
be a count, a cross tab or a report.
- Quintile One fifth of a mailing, usually divided by percentage of response.
"Our top quintile gave us 70% of our total revenue."
- Raid Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk, a new technique for storing records on
PCs and Mainframes. Greatly reduces the cost of disk storage.
- Random Access Modern computer disks can access database records in random
fashion. The opposite is sequential access. Random access makes database marketing
- Reactivation A program which encourages lapsed customers to start buying again.
- Recency A term for how recently a person has bought from your company. It is well
established that people who have bought most recently are more likely to buy from
you again on your next promotion than people who bought from you longer ago.
- Record A collection of fields that describe all the information on a customer.
- Referral Rate The percentage of new customers that begin buying this year as a
result of encouragement from last year's customers. Expressed as a percentage of last
year's customers. If we had 4,000 customers last year, and they recommended new customers
to us, of whom 240 became customers, the referral rate would be 6%.
- Reformatting Changing the format of a rented list to a new record format that
matches a desired arrangement.
- Regression Used in the phrase Multiple Regressions. It is a statistical
technique, part of modeling, whereby you try to discover a mathematical formula which will
explain trends in a set of data, and which variables determine response. A multiple
regression might tell you that your best customers live in condominiums, have no children,
and have income over $75K, for example.
- Relational A relational database is what is needed for database marketing. Such a
database is kept on disk and consists of related files (name and address, orders) which
are related to each other by ID numbers and accessed by indexes.
- Relationship Marketing The process of building a relationship with customers
which results in the customers becoming more loyal, buying more, and staying as customers.
Another word for Database Marketing.
- Respondent Someone who has answered a direct response letter or advertisement.
- Response rate The percentage of people who responded to your offer. A typical
direct mail response rate to prospects is 2%.
- Response Device On every outgoing direct mail piece, there is included a response
device which usually shows up in the "window" in the envelope to provide the
name and address. The response device is an order or donation form. It is important
because it usually contains the prospect number, and a source code that identifies the
offer, package, list, segment, etc.
- Retention The tendency to keep customers buying. Success is measured by retention
- Retention Budget A budget for a program to keep customers from leaving.
- Retention Rate The percentage of customers who continue to make purchases from
you in a second period, such as a year. If you had 4,000 customers who bought from you
last year and this year 3,000 of those same people also make purchases, your retention
rate would be 75%.
- Return on Investment (ROI) A key measure of the success of any direct marketing
activity. It is the total net profit from a direct marketing initiative, divided by the
total cost of the entire operation. ROI from an initial offer is often negative. But when
customer lifetime value is taken into account, it often becomes positive.
- RFM Stands for Recency, Frequency, Monetary. It is a method for segmenting or
rating your customers. The best customers are those who have bought from you recently, buy
many times, and in large amounts.
- RFP Request for Proposals; the document which is used to get external database
service bureaus to bid on maintaining your marketing database.
- Rollout After a direct mail test of a few thousand letters, a rollout is the
mailing to the rest of the names on the successful lists. It may be preceded by a second
test or "continuation".
- ROP Run of press, or Run of Paper. Advertising space purchased which the paper
may insert wherever they see fit.
- SAA System Application Architecture. An IBM term for a system whereby PC's can be
connected to and used to run mainframes by cooperative processing.
- Satisfaction Survey A survey of customers designed as much to learn something
about customers for relationship building purposes as it is to learn about good and bad
features of your servicing of the customers.
- Saturated Market A situation in which everyone has the product, and the market is
essentially a replacement market. For example, tires, batteries, room air conditioners,
- SCF Sectional Center Facility. The first three digits of the U. S. Zip Code.
- Seeds Names of yourself, friends, relatives, or employees inserted in a direct
mail mailout to track delivery and quality, and to safeguard against unauthorized
mailings. Also called "decoys".
- Segmentation To divide outgoing direct mail into coded groups for testing or to
improve response. Also used to classify customers into groups for varying tactics.
- Sequential The way records are arranged on a tape. The opposite is random order,
or a relational database.
- Sic code A coding system designed by the U. S. Department of Commerce for
classifying the products and services produced by companies. It is a very inadequate
system, but it is the only one around.
- SKU Stock Keeping Unit: a warehouse term for the products that a company
produces. Each different product has its own SKU number.
- Software Programs that run on computers. Programs tell the computer what to do in
a step-by-step fashion.
- Source code A series of letters or numbers affixed to an outgoing advertisement
or promotion that identifies the list, the offer, the package, and the segment (as well as
the media) in which the promotion was made. Essential to testing the success of any direct
marketing effort. The source code must appear on the response device (or in the case of
telephone orders, must be asked for by the telemarketers).
- SQL A query language used with the IBM software DB2 Often pronounced
- SRI Stanford Research Institute. A leading research institution which pioneered
- Statement Stuffer An offer or newsletter included with a monthly invoice or
statement to a customer.
- Storage The capacity which a computer has for storing names addresses and other
data. Storage is usually on magnetic disks, and is measured in megabytes (for a PC) or
gigabytes (for a mainframe).
- Stratification Adding demographics to a name and address file.
- Suppression Using names on one tape (a customer file) to suppress or drop names
from another tape (a prospect file).
- Sweepstakes An offer promising a randomly drawn prize to all respondents,
regardless of whether they buy your product. Those who do not buy, but still respond to
the sweepstakes may be valuable names for rental or for other offers. In comparison to
buyers, sweepstakes respondents are generally much less valuable.
- System Integrator Someone who can integrate the functions that have been
outsourced to several different companies.
- Tape Magnetic tape is 1/2 inch wide, and holds about 300,000 customer records
(depending on their size). Tape records are sequential (one after the other) whereas disk
records can be in random order. Tape is the cheapest way to store information, but the
data is hard to get at. Tape is used for backup and for sending information from one
computer to another. Direct marketing tapes are 9 track, and 1600 or 6250 bytes per inch.
They are ASCII or EBCDIC.
- Target Marketing A marketing strategy aimed at a particular individual or group
rather than to mass media.
- Telemarketing Talking on the telephone to prospects or customers. Inbound
telemarketing is usually customers or prospects calling your toll free number. Outbound
telemarketing is when you place the call to a prospect or customer. Telemarketing can be
done by your in-house staff or by an external telemarketing company.
- Terminal A device that looks like a television screen with a keyboard which, when
hooked up to a computer, enables to enter data into the computer, and receive data from it
which you see on the screen. The alternative to a terminal is a PC.
- Test database All marketing databases should have a companion test database which
programmers use to write and test new software before it goes on the production database.
- Third class Over 85% of all U. S. mail carrying advertising or promotion is sent
by third class. It is much less costly than first class. It usually requires postal
- Tiger A Census system for mapping the entire United States by Blocks, complete
with roads and other landmarks. Customers and prospects can be shown on a map using
geodemographic codes to represent where they are.
- Update To modify a database record to insert new information into it, or to
delete it. Updating is either done in batch mode (fast and cheap) or on-line (slow and
- Up Selling Prompting customers to buy upgraded products when they had intended to
buy something of lower value.
- UPS Uninterruptable Power Supply. A system of batteries that permits a mainframe
to keep going even when the power fails. It is usually connected to a diesel generator
that kicks in as soon as the batteries have begun to be needed.
- WATS Wide area telephone service. An "800" number whereby the call is
free to the caller.
- Weights Numbers that are multiplied by database values to determine model or RFM
- White mail Mail received from a buyer or donor who has not included the response
device, so you cannot determine the source code of the offer which promoted his purchase
Arthur Middleton Hughes is Vice President of The Database Marketing Institute. Ltd. (Arthur.email@example.com) which provides strategic advice on relationship marketing. Arthur is also Senior Strategist at e-Dialog.com (ahughes@e-Dialog.com) which provides precision e-mail marketing services for major corporations worldwide. Arthur is the author of Strategic Database Marketing 3rd ed. (McGraw Hill 2006). You may reach Arthur at (954) 767-4558 .
The articles on this web site are available to the general public to read, enjoy and for limited business use. If you want to reprint more than one or two of them for resale or use in a business or educational environment, send an email to Arthur Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will give you permission by return email. The cost, depending on the number of copies you want to reprint, is very inexpensive.