Forrester Research’s Dave Frankland on Environmental Trends
As environmental and social responsibility issues begin to collide to create a perfect storm for the direct marketing industry, where do companies in this sector stand when it comes to factoring these larger considerations into their business practices? Dave Frankland, senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm Forrester Research, recently released a report on this subject that found direct marketers have been slow to move on this front for a variety of reasons.
For Direct Marketing Needs a Green Wake-Up Call, Frankland interviewed 55 direct marketers on Forrester’s Direct Marketing Research panel in the first quarter of 2008. This week, he shares with Target Marketing Tipline some of the highlights of his research along with a few insights on why direct marketers should get in front of this issue now.
Target Marketing: What were some of the good practices used by the greener companies?
Dave Frankland: Some of them would be the really obvious ones, like [using] recycled paper, environment-friendly inks—so either soy or vegetable-based inks—mulchable envelopes …
And then there’s what you’d almost call good direct marketing practice that reduces the environmental impact. So, increasing targeting and suppression, testing new formats … things like that which would be good direct marketing principles but obviously have a positive environmental impact.
And then you’ve got things that are usually done for financial reasons, especially given the changes in postal rates over the last couple of years. So, changing the bulk of mailings, changing the size and formats, sending postcards. Again, the environment might not be the primary driver of that—and our research shows, in most cases, it’s not—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a positive environmental impact.
TM: Where are they lacking focus and action?
DF: The lacking focus part of it is almost an awareness issue to start with. I was quite surprised at how seldom the environment is a consideration [in businesses’ decision making] …