Cover Story: Sprint Saves Green
That's why in August 2010, Sprint partnered with McClellan, Calif.-based technology services company SumRall Solutions, Tension Corp. and ecoEnvelopes to help the idea of a two-in-one envelope take root.
"I believed we could be change agents within our industry," Swan says.
The Seed of an Idea
It was love at first sight. At MAILCOM 2008, held from April 29 to May 2, 2008, in Atlantic City, N.J., Swan saw a way to make green mail a reality at Sprint. He got a hands-on look at ecoEnvelopes, or reusable envelopes (Check out this slideshow for Sprint's version of the ecoEnvelope).
Gale G. Ward, president and general manager of ecoEnvelopes, still remembers seeing Swan approach her booth that was all the way at the back of the exhibit hall. "As Keanon made his way down the aisle, he was followed by a wake of executives from companies selling insertion equipment and stopped to explore [the] new two-way ecoEnvelopes. There were eight or 10 executives gathered in our booth discussing [the envelopes]. As he looked at our ecoEnvelope, Keanon's comment was, 'Look at this. It's beautiful … [The outer envelope looks] the same as what we are mailing today.'"
At the time, Sprint sent its customers their bills in an outer envelope with an invoice and a return envelope enclosed.
"What we needed to do was create what I called a two-to-one-to-none or two-to-one-to-e," Swan says, adding that there's a general trend among consumers toward e-bill adoption.
While many direct marketers, including Sprint, are incentivizing their customers to switch to electronic bills, Sprint wants its customers to have the choice to receive direct mail if that's the channel they prefer, Swan says. That's why he wanted to offer Sprint customers a "more responsible" choice.