Hacker Group's Spyro Kourtis on "Greening" DM Industry
The will to go green has never been stronger among direct mailers, vendors or their clients. Stifling such willingness, however, is confusion and uncertainty about how to begin the transition to more environment-friendly practices.
Answering that call is the newly formed Green Marketing Coalition (GMC), the brainchild of Spyro Kourtis, president of the full-service direct marketing agency Hacker Group. After a rude awakening that the Hacker Group was far from green, he began a massive green overhaul of Hacker Group - including even moving the company from Bellevue, Wash. to Seattle to reduce the commuting impact its employees were making on the environment - last year and effectively eliminated its carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, Kourtis realized that there were no specific, industry-wide green marketing standards or guidelines, so he formed the GMC to give practical tools to companies - large and small alike - that want to infuse green marketing into their existing campaigns or initiatives. At present, the coalition includes such members as Microsoft, Washington Mutual, Kawasaki, Nahan Printing Inc., Data-Mail and Cascade Land Conservancy, and the guidelines can be found at http://www.greenmarketingcoalition.com. Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Kourtis about the GMC and its green impact.
Boldt: What was the genesis of the GMC?
Kourtis: About two years ago, we received a formal RFP from a Global 10 financial organization that was about direct mail, print production, management and testing controls. Buried near the back of this document was a question about our green initiatives, and we, in a very wrong way, answered the question - that predominantly we worked with vendors, and, depending on what vendors were doing, we pretty much had our green initiative tied into what the vendor policy was. They didn't like the answer. We were dismissed before the final round, and it [had been] a good opportunity for us.