To Mail or to Email, That is the Question

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January 17, 2012

Choosing a marketing channel was not an issue for Shakespeare in the 1600s when his only option was to dip his quill in the ink well and draft his plays on whatever writing surface was available. Marketers today have many channels in which to communicate with their customers, but the savvy marketer considers the environment AND the marketing return on the investment.

If you’re a supporter of going green off the clock, shouldn’t you be practicing what you preach on the clock?  Does your company have environmental initiatives and is your marketing department being good stewards of it resources?

To save the planet, marketers can dedicate themselves to supporting resources that are sustainable. One way to do that is to reuse, recycle, and repurpose what you generate day to day in your work with paper topping the list. Paper comes from wood, which is one of the few true natural renewable resources we have.

Thanks to tree farming (the 95 million acres of forest planted and harvested for commercial purposes) the pulp and paper industry replenishes more than it takes and ensures the sustainability of our forests by planting 1.7 million trees every day – way more than is harvested.

Nearly 60 percent of all paper in the U.S. is recycled. In comparison, less than 20 percent of U.S. electronic devices are recycled.

So while emails are deemed free to send, the technology behind emails has a business and environmental cost. A study by Thomas Jackson of the Department of Information Science, at Loughborough University, reports that emails cost a business between $8,000 to $16,000 per employee based on an averaged salary of $40,000.

Email costs resulted from ambiguous unclear messages, email overload, security and privacy issues, and email interruptions. The formula accounts for time spent reading email (average read time and average number of emails per day).

McAfee, released a report in 2009 called the Carbon Foot Print of Email Spam Report. In its report McAfee cited:

  • In 2008, 62 trillion spam emails were sent;
  • Spam emails used 33 billion kW/h in 2008 in order to be processed (that is equivalent to the energy use in 2.4 million homes for a year, or it is equivalent to using 2 billion gallons of gasoline;
  • Spam filtering is equivalent to taking 13 million cars off of the roads; one spam email requires the same amount of energy as driving 3 feet (the annual volume of email spam requires enough energy to drive around the earth 1.6 million times).

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Be sure to check out the great infographic from WebPageFX.

So what can you do to be more environmentally conscious while you boost business for your company? Here’s a list of ideas to become a greener marketer in 2012.

  • Become a certified Environmentally Responsible Marketer(ERM)
  • Use cleaner mailing lists that limit duplication and waste – yes Mail Print is telling you to mail to few people by making sure they are the RIGHT people.
  • Research to effectively target your most likely customers
  • Only mail information on products your customer is interested in
  • Use recycled materials and water-based inks
  • Use paper made from chemical-free processing
  • Print on both sides to save resources and reduce mailing costs
  • Follow the practices of socially responsible companies
  • Take the Direct Marketing Association’s Green 15 Pledge

By practicing good eco-marketing, you’ll help the planet and improve customer relationships with your eco-conscious consumers.

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