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Greening Print Marketing: No Office Needs Six Identical Mailers

I was browsing the blogs of one of my favorite marketing firms, Trekk Cross-Media, and was pleased to see that they are looking at print marketing in terms of maximizing its results while minimizing its environmental impact.

In its Creative Zone blogs, one of its company bloggers, MJ Anderson, made a not-so-humorous post about extra print volumes that really struck me and I thought I’d reproduce part of it here.

Today I received a direct mailer at work that on the surface was funny, but after some thought was pretty sad. As a service to our clients, we buy printing from any number of companies with varying levels of expertise. As a result of this, we also receive solicitation for services from all sorts of different print service providers.

In today’s case, the direct mail piece was intended to tell me about the company’s new “environmentally responsible” policy on paper and soy based inks. Sounds like a great idea, right? I thought so, too, until I realized that not only did I receive this mailer, but six other people in my small office received the same mailer. Most of the recipients are not in a position to procure, use, or influence the purchase of printing services. The piece in question was a pretty elaborate envelope and well-designed brochure, letter and insert.

Happens all the time, right? Why?

. . . I find it very ironic that a company interested in making an environmental statement as a marketing ploy would not take the time to check and verify its list before sending out an expensive mailing.  (Click here for the full post.)

A better strategy? It’s one I’ve written about before, but Trekk Cross-Media is pro at implementing. Make your initial communication by email, then follow-up with a sample kit or premium demonstration piece only with the appropriate contacts if they request one. This approach drastically reduces expense and waste and helps you continue to qualify and refine your database, making future contacts smarter and more effective anyway.

So what are you doing with YOUR database? Is it full of duplicates? undeliverable addresses? How about multiple contacts at the same company or in the same office? If it does contain multiple contacts, are you selecting recipients based on relevance of the mailing? Or do you just mail everything to everybody?

It’s a lot easier to mail everything to everybody and figure that, if you’re mailing some undeliverables, it’s better than wasting hours updating and cleansing your database. But if you’re concerned about the environment, you have to remember that every other marketer is making the same rationalization. Your few thousand here, someone else’s few thousand there. Next thing you know, collectively you’re a landfill.

Cleansing your database and mailing only relevant, targeted information is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and your contribution to the solid waste stream. As a bonus, your marketing results can go up, too!

Like this post? See all of my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.

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