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Over-Eager Mailing Means “My Bad” on the Environment

When we think about greening print marketing, we often think about recycled paper and sourcing from printers using wind power. But how many of us think about the mailing list?

I recent ran across an online discussion in a B2B group in which members were discussing how a list is 40% of a campaign’s success. One creative director chimed in with a stunning statement.

I think the list is even more than 40% these days, and as a creative director, that pains me to admit. I had a client with more than a million inactives. We built a model that determined only 30,000 were worth mailing. They mailed 300,000 instead. Results? The 30,000 got a 1.5% response, the remaining 270,000 got .001%.

That’s stunning from a cost perspective, but what about an environmental one? What is the environmental impact of 270,000 mailers that went straight into the garbage?

The moral of the story? Want to do something nice for the environment? Clean up your mailing list!

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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