I think it’s not a matter of IF…it’s a matter of when
In 2007, a number of states had introduced do-not-mail bills. These states included Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Several other bills – in New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington – offered some sort of related proposed legislation, such as the creation of a no-mail registry for certain senior citizens and people suffering from mental illness, plus a ban on credit-card solicitations to people under the age of 21.
On one side…the Direct Marketing Association and the United States Post Office. On the other side, many of the green organizations to save the trees.
To this point, none of the bills have gained traction. And the direct mail community is keeping a very close watch on do-not-mail bills that have been introduced to state legislatures this year. Lobbyists will fight this one long and hard. But I see the future of direct mail in the same vein as smoking legislation. First one state, then another, and another. Then momentum swings as polls indicate…and politicians are swayed. Mark my words…a do-not-mail bill is coming to your state someday.
From a marketing standpoint
As a business owner, how would the loss of direct mail affect your marketing? Well, you’d have more money to market other ways. You’d need permission to market to people. My suggestion for 2008: Work on implementing permission marketing strategies long before they are legislated to you.
Wikipedia defines permission marketing: Permission marketing is a term used in e-marketing. Marketers will ask permission before they send advertisements to prospective customers. It is used by some Internet marketers, email marketers, and telephone marketers. It requires that people first “opt-in”, rather than allowing people to “opt-out” only after the advertisements have been sent.
Want to know more? If you haven’t read it yet, check out one of my favorite marketing books from Seth Godin: Permission Marketing: Turning Friends into Strangers. It’s exceptional marketing material.
Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.