While the poor economy has slowed the green revolution, most direct marketers are aware that environmental consciousness among their prospects is here to stay. So while a sizable percentage of firms continue their efforts to "green the mail," those that hesitate due to cost concerns or because they believe prospects are too distracted with economic worries to register environmental concerns may want to reconsider and take those green training wheels off.
The public's distaste for greenwashing is well-known, but a force as equally powerful or damaging is the public's loyalty to companies that follow pro-environment practices. According to a recent study conducted by Havas Media that surveyed 20,000 retail consumers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., 80 percent would reward brands that adopted sustainable practices, while 72 percent would punish those that did not.
"There's a need to balance eco-friendly consideration with marketing effectiveness in direct mail," says David Coho, vice president of sales and marketing at Univenture, which manufactures envelopes, office supplies and storage containers, including many environment-friendly solutions.
One place to pronounce that need, in a very public way, is with the envelope that direct mail campaigns use. Crafting a relevant message remains the most important mission for marketers, and the physical envelope—how it's manufactured, what it's composed of, how it appears, what extra messaging it includes, etc.—is now a big part of that message.
1. Recognize That Envelopes Are Part of the Green Trajectory
The rocky economy hasn't convinced prospects to throw their green ways out the window. Quite the contrary, for many, the green mind-set is as much about thrift and reusing and saving as it is about doing the right thing. As a result, more cars will get smaller and go hybrid just as more envelopes will get similarly smaller and greener.