Database: Green Your Data Management
As environmental consciousness seeps into the corporate boardroom, some companies are publishing two annual reports. One report is the traditional shareholder document that contains financial statements and other information deemed relevant to investors and other stakeholders. The other report provides a view of the company's "carbon footprint" and progress toward environmental improvement across the various aspects of its business operations.
Today, many companies are finding opportunities to fulfill both obligations with the same investment dollars. "Green marketing is definitely part of our decision-making construct," says Cathy Halligan, CMO of Walmart.com. "But if it weren't for a business case, a green initiative wouldn't stand on its own."
One area where Wal-Mart and a growing number of companies are making a strong business case for green marketing relates to customer data management, which serves as the foundation for overall customer communications. In fact, companies are using multiple strategies to make their customer communications more profitable as well as more environmentally sustainable.
Direct Mail Addressing
One strategy relates to direct mail addressing. To reach its recipient, an envelope needs to have a correct address. Unfortunately, the rapid decay rate of data within large business-to-consumer companies often results in incorrect addresses.
According to the 2007 USPS Postal Forum, approximately 7.5 percent of all Standard Class marketing mail is undeliverable. The rate may be as a high as 15 percent. The biggest cause of undeliverable mail is consumer moves. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 40 million U.S. residents move every year.
The financial impact of marketing to a mobile society is significant. By some estimates, companies spend more than $6 billion per year on undeliverable mail. Also significant is the environment impact. According to some sources, undeliverable mail translates into the unnecessary destruction of more than 6 million trees. It also results in wasted energy, wasted water, and unnecessary pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.