Business English word of the day: mailshot

Mailshot (anglais britannique) : mailing

A French-speaker would naturally think that when he uses the word ‘mailing’ he is using the same word that an English-speaker would use. This is not the case. ‘Mailing’ for me is an activity – the gerund form of the verb ‘to mail’. It is not possible then (at least not yet) to say ‘we did a mailing’. Although other gerunds are now used as nouns (marketing, shopping), most are not.

Mailshots are form of direct advertising where a letter, a leaflet, a flyer is sent by post directly to potential customers homes or places of work. The term ‘direct mail’ would probably be more appropriate in American business English.

E-mail marketing has become more widely used than postal mailshots, it is much more economical than traditional mailshots, and has many advantages (automisation, user information, less wastage of paper and other resources).