I think we can all agree that when it comes to junk mail there is too much of it and we don't want it. Whether you're appalled at the 100 million trees it takes to supply the paper for one years worth of junk mail in the US or you just don't like to be bothered, we all hate junk mail. Well, the direct marketing industry has heard this sentiment and have responded that they don't care. “The return on investment is just too high,” says Jeffrey Horton, marketing supervisor for Kawasaki Motors Corporation U.S.A.
Many have acknowledged that short of a law banning the unsolicited mailing, junk mail is here to stay. A group called the Green Marketing Coalition (GMC)has decided to work within this reality to try and green up direct mail marketing practices. The Coalition has a set of voluntary guidelines that encourage marketers to use recycled paper, proofing their creative's electronically, choosing vendors that practice sustainability...
The GMC has drawn criticism for the fact that there are no concrete guidelines, no specific goals, and not time frames specified. The GMC states that don't want to scare off potential members with a hardliner approach. Basically this is a well intentioned endeavor without any teeth. We'll have to keep watching to see if it is effective or not.
The battle against junk mail is not going to be won on an ideological front. It is all about money. Clearly, it is profitable for junk mailers to spend money on junk mail so they will continue. Once it becomes unprofitable they will pursue other marketing methods.
There are some unique ideas out there to cripple the ROI of junk mail like mailing a brick back to the company with their own pre-paid envelope as the label. While this is a funny idea, due to postal regulations this will not actually work. A lighter approach is sending the prepaid envelopes back empty. This will in fact cost the marketer money. We covered another idea a while back that was a more visual act of protest that involved stamping the junk with a red stamp that reads "RETURN TO WASTER." Depending on the class of mail that the marketer used this method could get the message back to the "Waster" or it could just end up in the trash. You can try any of these methods, but the most important thing to do to curb the proliferation of junk mail is not to respond by buying the products or services these spammers are pushing.