80/20 Rule. Also known as Pareto’s Principle. States a comparison of relative weight in marketing terms, such as “20 percent of the customer base generates 80 percent of the company’s sales.”
Affiliate, Associate. Affiliate marketing is a form of partnering that has been popularized on the Internet. Basically, a Web marketer offers affiliates the opportunity to share in revenue by getting referral fees or sales commissions on goods and services sold via the affiliate’s Web site. The affiliate (associate) is an organization or firm that participates in an affiliate marketing program.
Audience. Typically, the individuals you are trying to reach with a direct marketing campaign. In business-to-business marketing, a commonly held theory is that there is no single large audience, but rather audience segments. See also Segmentation.
B-to-B (B2B); B-to-C (B2C). B-to-b refers to business-to-business, which means businesses that market directly to other businesses; b-to-c is business-to-consumer, or businesses that market directly to consumers.
Bandwidth. The amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second. For analog devices, the bandwidth is expressed in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz).
Banner, banner ad. A small advertising area on a Web site.
Benefit. What an individual derives from a product or service; what a product or service really does for the prospect or customer.
Bingo cards, bingo leads. Cards or leads that are returned with little or no information to enable the market to qualify the leads; “raw” responses.
Blog. A web log – frequently updated online journal or diary.
Bookmark. A Web site or page saved via the Web browser for future reference.
Broadband. A very high-speed means of transmitting data now being used by cable and telephone companies to provide Internet access.
Browser. The software that allows viewing of HTML documents or Web pages. The two leading browsers are Netscape (Navigator or Communicator) and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Business reply. Mail that carries a business-reply permit so that it can be returned at the marketer’s cost.
Cable modem. A modem that facilitates Internet access via television cable. See Broadband.
CGI. Common Gateway Interface. Programming used most often to enable interactive forms and counters.
Channel marketing. Marketing done to or through other channels, such as retailers, distributors, and resellers.
Chat. Generally refers to online dialog, typically conducted via e-mail.
Click, click-through. The advertising version of a “hit”—when the viewer of a banner ad clicks on it; or clicking on an area of a Web page to open a link.
Closed-loop system. Generally refers to a lead generation and fulfillment process in which the lead goes from an inbound response through qualification, fulfillment, follow-up, and conversion to sale, with tracking and feedback mechanisms established along the way.
Community. A Web site, newsgroup, or discussion group that shares common characteristics. Web-based communities share information and provide services to community members.
Compiled list. A list that is composed of names and addresses, telephone numbers, and/or e-mail addresses from nonresponse sources, such as directories or phone books.
Cookie. A piece of data sent by a Web server to the visitor’s computer to identify that visitor’s computer when it connects again with the Web page.
Cost-per-click. The amount an advertiser pays for each click-through on a banner ad or other online ad medium.
CPM. Cost per thousand. Applies to purchasing media, usually print advertising, mailing lists, and broadcast; also for banner ads.
Cross-functional direct marketing. Marketing to multiple individuals or decision makers in different functional areas within a company.
Customer. An individual who does business with a company; typical classifications are former, dormant, active, or current. Customers can also be ranked based on purchase criteria. See also RFM.
Cyberspace. The imaginary location of the Internet.
Database, database marketing. A computerized file of information about individuals, which includes basic contact information, response and/or purchase history, and other historic, transactional sales and marketing data. Database marketing is the practice of using databases to improve the marketing process.
DHTML. Dynamic HTML. Provides additional interactive capabilities beyond HTML. See also HTML.
Dimensional. Any mailing that is odd sized or three dimensional in nature, such as a tube or box.
Direct marketing, direct response. The discipline of results-driven, response-oriented marketing. Direct marketing includes any medium used responsively, including direct response advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, direct response television, direct response radio, and interactive media.
DNS. Domain Name System (or Service). An Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet, however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name www.example.com might translate to 188.8.131.52. The DNS system is, in fact, its own network. If one DNS server doesn’t know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on, until the correct IP address is returned.
Double opt-in. Asking a customer or prospect who has opted in to receive e-mails from a marketer to confirm and refine that opt-in via return e-mail.
Download. The process of copying a file from one place to another, usually from a Web server to a computer.
DSL. Digital Subscriber Line. A technology that uses basic telephone lines to provide Internet access at very high speed.
E-business. The general term, popularized by IBM, for conducting business electronically.
ECML. Electronic Commerce Modeling Language. An emerging standard for universal acceptance of online payments.
E-commerce. The general term for selling online.
E-mail. Any electronic message sent over a network.
E-mail newsletter. A periodic news publication, sent in the form of an e-mail.
Exposures. See Impressions.
eXtensible Markup Language (XML). An emerging standard for Web page creation that may someday replace HTML.
Extranet. An Internet-enabled network designed primarily for a company’s internal use, but that allows select outsiders, such as customers, partners, and suppliers, in.
FAQs. Frequently Asked Questions.
Feature. What a product does; a product attribute or quality, unrelated to how it benefits an individual.
Flame. A negative response to unsolicited e-mail.
Flash. A bandwidth-friendly and browser-independent vector-graphic animation technology. As long as different browsers are equipped with the necessary plug-ins, Flash animations will look the same. With Flash, users can draw their own animations or import other vector-based images. Flash animation can only be created using the Flash animation application from Macromedia Inc. Flash was known as FutureSplash until 1997, when Macromedia Inc. bought the company that developed it.
FTP. File Transfer Protocol. The protocol used on the Internet for sending files.
Fulfillment. Generally refers to materials sent in response to an inquiry, or to the process of sending those materials.
GIF. Graphical Interchange Format. An electronic-image file format. Often used to refer to any graphic image on a Web page, other than a photograph.
Hit. An interaction or request made to a Web server. A page can be “hit” numerous times by one visitor, so hits are not a measure of the number of visitors.
Hits. The number of clicks to a Web page.
Home page. The primary page of a Web site.
Hosting. Typically provided by an Internet service provider, the process of setting up a Web server and administering a Web site.
House list, house file. A mailing list or database of prospects or customers that belongs to a company; could be maintained in-house or by an outside firm.
HTML. The HyperText Markup Language used so that browsers can view words on Web pages. Most text on Web pages is created in HTML.
HTTP. HyperText Transfer Protocol.
Hybrid list. Typically a compiled list that has been enhanced with response data or additional marketing information.
Hyperlink. A link to a Web page.
Icon. A graphic, picture, or small graphic element.
Impressions. The number of times a banner ad appears in an established period of time, typically a month.
Interactive media. Usually refers to the Internet, World Wide Web, and CD-ROMs; also means any media that encourage interaction.
Internet. A computer network of networks; the world’s largest network allows computers to connect with one another.
Internet address. Any location on the Internet. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is one form of address that points Web browsers to a particular Web page.
Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s Web browser.
Interstitial. Web advertising that appears or “pops up” between Web pages.
Intranet. An Internet-enabled network used internally by a company or organization.
IP. Internet Protocol.
ISP. Internet Service Provider.
Java; Java applets. A language developed by Sun that has become the basis for many Internet applications; scripting or applications driven by Java.
JPEG. Joint Photographic Experts Group. Refers to a compressed graphic image format.
Keycode. A code assigned to a list to identify it as part of a mailing. The code could also represent other criteria, such as geography, company size, industry type, job title, etc.
Lead. Generally, a prospect that has not yet been qualified.
Lead processing. The process of qualifying, fulfilling, distributing, and tracking leads.
LISTSERV. An automatic mailing list server developed by Eric Thomas for BITNET in 1986. When e-mail is addressed to a LISTSERV mailing list, it is automatically broadcast to everyone on the list. The result is similar to a newsgroup or forum, except that the messages are transmitted as e-mail and are therefore available only to individuals on the list. LISTSERV is currently a commercial product marketed by L-Soft International. Although LISTSERV refers to a specific mailing list server, the term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to any mailing list server. Another popular mailing list server is Majordomo, which is freeware.
Log in, log on. To make a computer system or network recognize you so that you can begin a computer session. Most personal computers have no log in procedure; you just turn the machine on and begin working. For larger systems and networks, however, you usually need to enter a username and password before the computer system will allow you to execute programs.
Mailbot. An automatic e-mail responder or response program.
Marketing database. See Database.
Marketing Pyramid. A tool that can be used to break audiences into identifiable segments.
Match code. A code used to identify a specific name and address record. Usually the match code is made up of some combination of pieces of data from the name and address and other identifiable data.
Megabyte. (a) When used to describe data storage, 1,048,576 (2 to the 20th power) bytes. Megabyte is frequently abbreviated as M or MB. (b) When used to describe data transfer rates, as in MBps, it refers to 1 million bytes.
Micro-segmentation. The process of dividing an audience into very small, identifiable segments based on defined criteria or combinations or criteria.
Modem. Acronym for modulator-demodulator. A modem is a device or program that enables a computer to transmit data over telephone lines. Computer information is stored digitally, whereas information transmitted over telephone lines is transmitted in the form of analog waves. A modem converts between these two forms.
Mozilla Firefox. The world’s second most popular Internet browser, after Internet Explorer.
MSA. Metropolitan Statistical Area. A geographical area encompassing a city.
NCOA. National Change of Address processing or program.
Nixie. Mail returned with a bad address.
OEM. Original Equipment Manufacturer.
Offer. The underlying offer is the company, its products and services, and the perception of those things by a particular audience. The direct marketing or promotional offer is the incentive offered by the advertiser/marketer to elicit a response.
Online. Usually refers to being on the Internet or on the Web; connected to a network.
Operating System, OS. The most important program that runs on a computer. Every general-purpose computer must have an OS to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.
Opt-in. To agree to receive e-mail or direct mail from a particular marketer.
Opt-out. To ask that a particular marketer remove one’s e-mail address or postal address from their list.
Package. Generally refers to a direct mail package, which typically includes an outer envelope, letter, brochure or other inserts, and a reply device.
Page. See Web page.
PDF. Portable Document Format. A form of publishing that retains the original document’s characteristics; created by Adobe.
Perl. Short for Practical Extraction and Report Language. A programming language developed by Larry Wall, especially designed for processing text. Because of its strong text-processing abilities, Perl has become one of the most-popular languages for writing CGI scripts. Perl is an interpretive language, which makes it easy to build and test simple programs.
Permission e-mail, permission marketing. The concept of sending e-mail or marketing only to individuals who give their permission to receive the marketing messages.
Personalized. Applies to direct mail that utilizes the individual’s name or other unique data that is referenced in the copy.
Pixel. A single point in a graphic image; the smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system.
Plug-in. Software that “plugs in” to a Web browser to enable added functionality, such as the receipt of sound or multimedia. See also Flash; Shockwave.
Podcast. A collection of digital media files distributed over the Internet, for playback on portable media such as an iPod.
POP. Point of Presence. The physical place of connection from a computer to the Internet.
Portal. A destination site on the Web; can be an outgrowth of a search engine, or a specialized destination such as a business-to-business portal.
Premium. An offer or incentive for responding.
Prospect. An individual with the potential to purchase a product or service.
Pull. Generally, interactive media that draws (“pulls”) the user to it, such as a Web site.
Push. Generally, interactive media sent (“pushed”) to the user, such as outbound e-mail or Web pages delivered to a user’s computer.
Qualification process. The process of qualifying a prospect to determine likelihood of purchase.
Qualification questions. A set of questions designed to qualify and prioritize prospects prior to advertising.
Reader service number. Numbers assigned by publications to handle inquiries to print advertising.
RealAudio. The de facto standard for streaming audio data over the World Wide Web. RealAudio was developed by RealNetworks and supports FM-stereo-quality sound. To hear a Web page that includes a RealAudio sound file, you need a RealAudio player or plug-in, a program that is freely available from a number of places. It’s included in current versions of both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
RealVideo. A streaming technology developed by RealNetworks for transmitting live video over the Internet. RealVideo uses a variety of data-compression techniques and works with both normal IP connections and IP Multicast connections.
Relationship direct marketing. Direct marketing that is intended to build an ongoing relationship through periodic contact over time.
Reply device. A reply card, reply form, or any other response piece that the respondent returns to the marketer.
Response list. A list made up of individuals with a propensity to respond, based on the fact that they responded to something already; typically, a list of subscribers, members, buyers, donors, etc.
Response management. The process of managing responses or leads from the time they are received through conversion to sale.
Response path. Any method established to facilitate a response, such as a business reply card, inbound fax, inbound telephone, e-mail, or Web URL.
RFM. Recency/Frequency/Monetary data, which helps determine the value of a customer. Recency refers to when the customer last purchased, frequency to how often, and monetary to how much money was spent.
Rich media. The term generally applies to online advertising that incorporates multimedia, sound, motion, interactivity, or e-commerce.
Rollover. Moving the cursor over a specific area of a Web page.
Screen. Typically refers to the administrative, mailroom, or receptionist screening process of mail or phone calls in a larger company.
Search engine. A program that accesses information via a process of matching keywords; there are numerous search engines on the Web.
Segmentation. The process of dividing an audience into identifiable segments based on defined criteria or combinations of criteria.
Selection criteria. Refers to the available data used to select segments of mailing lists, such as geography, size of company, industry, job function, job title, etc. Selection criteria typically add to the CPM of a rental list.
Self-mailer. A mailing piece that is self-contained.
SET. Secure Electronic Transaction protocol for e-commerce payment transactions.
Shockwave. A technology developed by Macromedia, Inc. that enables Web pages to include multimedia objects. To create a shockwave object, you use Macromedia’s multimedia authoring tool called Director, and then compress the object with a program called Afterburner. You then insert a reference to the “shocked” file in your Web page. To see a Shockwave object, you need the Shockwave plug-in, a program that integrates seamlessly with your Web browser. The plug-in is freely available from Macromedia’s Web site as either a Netscape Navigator plug-in or an ActiveX control. Shockwave supports audio, animation, and video, and even processes user actions such as mouse clicks. It runs on all Windows platforms as well as the Macintosh.
SIC. Standard Industrial Classification code. A common list selection criterion. An SIC is used to represent a specific industry or an industry segment, such as Computers or Hospitals.
Social Networking. The practice of expanding the number of your business and/or social contacts by making online connections through individuals.
SOHO. Small Office Home Office. A rapidly growing business segment.
Source Code. Program instructions in their original form. The word “source” differentiates code from various other forms that it can have (for example, object code and executable code).
Spam. Unsolicited, indiscriminate bulk e-mail of a promotional nature.
SQL. Structured Query Language (pronounced either “see-kwell” or as separate letters). SQL is a standardized query language for requesting information from a database. The original version, called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language), was designed by an IBM research center in 1974–1975. SQL was first introduced as a commercial database system in 1979 by Oracle Corporation.
SSL. Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that’s transferred over the SSL connection. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer support SSL, and many Web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, Web pages that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:.
Sticky sites. Web sites that use techniques to get visitors to “stick,” or stay on the site and return to the site; these techniques may include free e-mail and incentive offers.
Streaming. Generally refers to sending audio or video across the Internet. See also RealAudio; RealVideo.
Surfing. Reviewing Web sites or moving through Web pages.
Suspect. A potential prospect.
Targeting. The most common direct marketing practice; the practice of identifying an audience or audience segment, developing an offer for that audience, and promoting it through creativity that is appropriate for that audience.
TCP/IP. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The suite of communications protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. TCP/IP uses several protocols, the two main ones being TCP and IP. TCP/IP is built into the UNIX operating system and is used by the Internet, making it the de facto standard for transmitting data over networks. Even network operating systems that have their own protocols, such as Netware, also support TCP/IP.
Telemarketing, telesales. Telemarketing refers to inbound or outbound prospect or customer contact via telephone with the objective of promotion or qualification. Telesales is the same process but with the objective of selling a product or service.
Universe. The total number of individuals who conceivably could be reached with a specific direct marketing campaign.
UNIX (Pronounced “yoo-niks”). A popular multi-user, multitasking operating system developed at Bell Labs in the early 1970s. Created by just a handful of programmers, UNIX was designed to be a small, flexible system used exclusively by programmers. Although it has matured considerably over the years, UNIX still betrays its origins by its cryptic command names and its general lack of user-friendliness. This is changing, however, with graphical user interfaces such as MOTIF.
Upload. The process of sending a file from a computer to a server or another computer. See also FTP.
URL. Uniform Resource Locator. An Internet location, most often a Web address.
Usenet. An Internet-related network that includes e-mail and newsgroups.
VAR. Value-Added Reseller.
Variable. Usually refers to a field on a database in which information changes based on the individual record. The variable can then be used in direct mail copy or a telemarketing script to build a relationship with the individual. An example might be the amount of money a customer spends with a company in a year, which would vary from customer to customer.
Versioning. Using variables to create versions of direct mail copy to personalize and appeal to specific characteristics. In business-to-business direct mail, versioning by industry or job function has generally been shown to increase response rates.
Viral marketing. Marketing that spreads rapidly via e-mail or other Internet communications. Viral marketing refers to e-marketing that encourages customers, prospects, or site visitors to recruit others, who recruit others, and so on.
Virtual event, online event, Web event. An event that occurs online, via the Web.
Visit. One user accessing one Web site at any given time.
Webmaster. Typically, an individual in an organization responsible for the organization’s Web site and, sometimes, for Internet usage.
Web page. An individual document on a Web site or on the Web. A Web page can be heavily graphical and can include sound, photography, multimedia, and interactivity, based on the technologies used to create it.
Web response form. A form designed to capture visitor contact and often qualification information.
Web site. A collection of pages on the World Wide Web.
White paper. A short document intended to educate industry customers and prospects.
Wiki. An online resource which allows users to add and edit content collectively.
WWW, World Wide Web. The area of the Internet that contains HTML.
XML. See eXtensible Markup Language.