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The Direct Mail Club

By Jeanine Norlin, Marketing Program Manager, Modern Postcard

Hi my name is Jeanine, and I think direct mail is cool. There, I said it loud and proud. As a Millennial, I find that not too many of my peers in the marketing profession share my gusto for direct mail. But you know what, that’s ok. While they’re enamored with new-fangled (yes, I really said new-fangled) digital marketing tactics, I’m skilled at an established advertising practice that has stood the test of time.

Doing direct mail well requires an esoteric set of skills. Because I feel like I’ve acquired those skills, I’m a part of a really cool and exclusive club. And like any club, there are some interesting and unique “code” words to which only club members are savvy. At the risk of being expelled for divulging our club secrets, here are a few key direct mail-specific terms and definitions so that you too can be in-the-know:

Indicia – Pronounced in-DEE-shuh, this is an imprint on each mail piece that signifies the postage has been prepaid.

Title Slug – Don’t worry, direct mail is a non-violent sport so there is no literal slugging going on. This simply refers to the process of adding a generic title such as “Marketing Director” or “Homeowner” to your mailing label in absence of a specific contact.

Dedupe – Try saying that 10 times fast. All kidding aside, deduping is an important process that removes duplicate records on the same mailing list. To achieve cost efficiency and campaign effectiveness, your lists should always be deduped.

Seed – We’re not talking about your average garden variety. Seeds are internal recipients that you add to your mail file for the purpose of determining that your mailer was delivered timely and accurately. At minimum, always include yourself as a seed in all of your direct mail campaigns.

NCOA – No, this is not a new rap group or a college sports association. The National Change of Address database is owned and updated by the United States Postal Service. NCOA processing helps reduce undeliverable mail in your campaigns by updating the postal addresses of people and businesses that have moved.

Control – This is your champion direct mail piece. The control proves to be most successful after testing against other direct mail pieces.

So if you’re not already a member of the direct mail club, join in. See you around the mail box!

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