USPS Column Hits a Naive Nerve
I got lots of feedback to my column last week (click here) on the USPS and its brainstorm about going to a five-day workweek. Most of the comments showed up in my inbox or on my blog (which gets heavily promoted throughout the blogosphere).
And most of them were pro-mailer, agreeing that the USPS needs to wake up.
However, I did get a few responses from environmentalists offering up some vicious attacks on our industry. I took the most readable — including this great illustration of how uninformed the masses are when it comes to our industry — and posted my response to it on my blog. For your review, I'm posting the comment and my response here.
“I agree that the USPS needs to revamp the way it does things, but if it can reduce our costs by going down to 5 days a week, then I am fine with that.
"As for direct marketers, sorry but that is fine by me if they are put out of business. Maybe they could learn to earn an honest living instead of annoying me and all of the others that can’t stand them.
"Oh wait, there is a law against them! And talking about going GREEN … if direct marketing were abolished, how many trees would we save? How much would our carbon footprint be reduced? Looks like a win-win to me.”
"Direct mail powers the U.S. Postal Service. Without it, the next time you mail a letter, utility payment or Xmas present to your nephew Billy, you would need to take out a small loan.
"OK, I exaggerate to illustrate my point, but the truth is many direct marketers look to deliver offers that are relevant to the people receiving them.
"If you want to learn more about the actual impact direct mail has on our economy and our society, I suggest you take two minutes and read the Facts About Direct Mail section on the Direct Marketing Association’s Catalog Preference Web site. You may be very shocked to learn how wrong you are!
"The honest truth is, we DON’T want to mail you anything if you are not going to buy from us. It wastes our money, our time, and it just makes you mad enough to write comments like this.
"You should also know that many direct mail companies are more green than you think. They use recycled paper when they can and soy-based inks. They buy their paper from paper mills with a commitment to forestry re-plantation.
"More and more, mailers and catalog companies are doing what they can to go green. But is this enough? In a word, NO! We’re getting there though.
"Here are some suggestions for you:
1. Recycle any direct mail you're not interested in.
2. Contact catalog companies who send you their catalogs and ask to be removed from their future mailings.
3. DON’T buy anything from a catalog, otherwise (and here is the relevancy issue) you will be tagged as a “mail order buyer” and will receive other catalogs of products which have an affinity to your last mail order purchase. In fact, don’t buy anything mail order, or respond online to any offer!
4. Opt out of receiving business mail using Catalog Choice: http://www.catalogchoice.org/.
5. Use the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service to manage or stop direct mail offers: http://www.dmachoice.org/.
"We’re happy not to mail offers to you if you don’t want them (it saves us a bunch of money). Just let us know as described above, and we won’t send you any more mail.
"Oh, and one more thing, and I apologize in advance if this sounds a bit snarky: The less postal mail out there, the more e-mails and spam you’ll get clogging your inbox, and some more telemarketing calls as well.
"Hope this helps,
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at email@example.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect. Read Jim's personal blog at http://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.