I’ve been getting a lot of comments to my last article on the evolution of our industry. There’s been some back and forth about going green and its impact on direct mail — the typical “direct mail kills the environment” issue.
Does direct mail really destroy the environment? I don’t think so. The Direct Marketing Association, on its DMAchoice Web site, has published the following information about direct mail being the “green” way to shop:
“Facts About Direct Mail:
Some people come to the DMAchoice mail preference service planning on completely stopping all the direct mail they receive, because they think that doing so will help save paper and the environment. But before you do this, here are some numbers you may find interesting.
Makes sense, right?
That said, I do support the availability of mail preference services, such as DMAchoice and Catalog Choice. The goal of all direct mail, of course, is to be as relevant as possible. After all, every catalog or direct mail piece sent that goes in the garbage is a waste of your money; it lowers your response rates.
So, having a database to merge against is a good thing. Less wasted mail, right?
Not necessarily. Maybe this holds true for straight customer acquisition programs, but what about inquiry conversion and retention programs in your regular catalog circulation plan? Here we have a slippery slope, as I’d never, ever use a suppression file on my own customers and databased prospects. As far as I’m concerned, they all opted in.
As a mailer, I’m not going to leave that potential revenue on the table. End of discussion.
Let’s get vocal here. I’m deliberately putting an “oil and water don’t mix” issue out there. Feel free to agree, disagree or challenge me to a duel over my opinions (they ARE facts actually, LOL). Post your comments below.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog, direct marketing and social media agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. You can e-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect or read his blog athttp://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/.