Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How to Deal with Junk Mail.. The Paper Kind

Every time I go out to my mailbox about 3 quarters of the mail is junk. We just sort through it and throw it in the recycle bin. What a waste of paper, time, and money. When I say money I mean the advertisers that are desperately trying to get a small percentage of people to look at their products and services.

The reason there is so much "direct mail" is because:
- There can be a return on the investment of printing and sending the mail (normally small)
- The post office loves it as it keeps them from being even further in the red
- Some consumers like it for the coupons and ads to look through
- The recycling companies probably like it for the paper to recycle

There must be a better way for advertisers to spread the word about their products and services. Plus there are many mailing that consumers may want but would rather have an email or something electronic. There does not seem to be anything (that I know of ) that bridges this gap.

Lets look at what is needed to make both the consumer happy and the companies advertising.
- Consumers want to know about new products and services
- Consumers like to know about deals/save money
- Companies need a cost effective way to communicate with potential and existing customers

So lets have a service that can give the customer control over what they get as well as take it out of the mailbox and put it in our inboxes. I know, I know, you are thinking. "Great more JUNK". But wait hear me out on this. There are ways to create a win-win situation, so lets get started...

Take an example of a mailer you get from the Penny Saver. They send it to your home address every week with coupons and deals from local businesses. My wife will quickly browse through this one (unlike most) and spend maybe a minute looking at it. This would be much more useful online and searchable.

Another example of a magazine that I may like but instead of printing it and mailing it the whole magazine can be online and searchable. Complete with the advertisements. Very simple do with a PDF or online viewer.

Most importantly all the waste of paper, time, and money can be avoided by people opting out of the junk.

On the consumer side:
- Go to dealwithjunkmail.com (made up name)
- Setup an account with your name, home, business, whatever addresses and an email address.
- Setup some basic preferences on how often you want emails, etc
- Opt in for receiving mailings electronically vs on paper
- Be able to opt out of any particular mailings by company name or sender

On the business side:
A business or out-sourced direct mail company can upload a list that will run against our list to compare who is on it. The business would then get a simple list in return of names/addresses that wish to receive mailings electronically.

The business/direct mail provider would then send the mailings through dealwithjunkmail.com with the list they received from our database compare. This is so that:
a) The direct mail companies only get to send to those they already have on their list (dealwithjunkmail is not selling any list and never would)
b) The business/direct mail companies can stop sending the paper version saving both on printing and mailing cost.

The business/direct mail companies would also get reports on who read the mailings as well as opt outs (list removals).

Dealwithjunkmail.com would make money by charging a small fee based on quantity of the mailings sent through us. Somewhere in the cents per mailing sent.

So who gets hurt the most? The post office... They really need to re-invent themselves, junk mail is not a good business model in the age of electronic data. As a suggestion the post office should get into this business model before anyone else does.

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