NYTimes reports on United States Postal Service stats indicating that junk – aka “direct” – mail grew 15 percent last year versus five years prior. And in the last year, for the first time, the volume of bulk mail, which is all direct mail, exceeded first class.
That fact is disturbing, but the rationale is even more startling:
Marketers are finding that a lot of people…prefer junk mail to spam and phone solicitations…Advertisers like it that mail ads, which do not get snagged in spam filters, can be aimed at just the right customers and be monitored for effectiveness.
So marketers now are openly choosing the lesser evil? Which is the more tolerable way to bother prospects? This sounds like an oxymoron. As a person unable to remove my name from gazillions of direct-mail databases, let me offer this insight: Mail ads may not get snagged in digital spam filters, but they actually could do damage to your brand. Why? It’s disrespectful to force people to give up scarce attention, time and energy in order to separate junk from other mail, or, worse, confuse legitimate mail with junk.
The worst offenders are the “Impersonators,” who disguise their junk as real by using high-quality printing techniques and personalization to emulate personal outreach. Then there are the “Wannabes,” marketers who try to hijack your attention by trying to portray themselves as official or important (like college-loan consolidation offers). Of course, there are the “Naggers,” marketers (often credit-card companies) who send you the same solicitation over and over and over and over.
So much waste of attention, money and trees. I wish there was some sort of envelope-tagging law which required direct mailers to indicate commercial solicitations – both in email as well as paper. Marketers should be able to reach out to prospects and customers with offers, but this is the wrong way to go about it.