Dumb Mailing Moves That Hurt the Environment

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We all want to talk about big, grand ideas for saving the environment. How about taking small, incremental steps like, say, not mailing big huge, bulky packages to the wrong people?

I was browsing an industry discussion group recently and the the co-owner of an interactive marketing firm — you know, one of those creative, designer types — made the following observation:

The [gatekeeper for the direct mail] in our office is Gail. She takes no more than 10 minutes each day to go through the mail and distribute it to the appropriate department. I am head of marketing and Gail learned a long time ago not to pass on certain items of mail that are addressed to me. Typical items that appear regularly are catalogs for heavy lifting equipment, engineering tools, companies wanting to evaluate our business, heavy computing publications, molded plastic fixtures, motor vehicle leasing and a whole plethora of local promotions asking, for example, “Are you looking for temporary accounting staff?”

How many tons of coated paper are hauled or flown around the country only to be delivered to the absolutely, grossly ridiculously wrong people? It doesn’t take a Harvard education to know that you don’t buy an undifferentiated direct mail list and send everyone on it a 2-lb. catalog. Or send mailers for heavy equipment in a ZIP code dominated by small offices.

If you’re looking to green your business and your marketing staff aren’t doing at least a rough cut on list purchases to screen out grossly inappropriate targets, that’s a great place to start.

The landfill will thank you.

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