Does, in fact, the encouragement of recycling of direct mail create profit for marketers, or simply good public relations (both being beneficial). Two experts from the field—Monica Garvey, director of sustainability, Verso Paper Corporation, and Meta Brophy, director of procurement operations, Consumer Reports—weighed in with their opinions and observations.
Marketers should not make broad, unqualified general environmental benefit claims about a product being “green” or “eco-friendly,” and should have reliable scientific evidence to support carbon offset claims, cautions the Federal Trade Commission’s revised Green Guides. The revisions to the FTC’s "Green Guides," two years in the making, reflect a range of public input, including hundreds of consumer and industry comments on previously proposed revisions. They include updates to the existing guides, first published in 1992, as well as new sections on the use of carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.
At its Sept. 13 meeting, the Direct Marketing Club of New York hosted an engaging panel discussion regarding the use of direct mail in a multichannel world, and the panelists included representatives from Citigroup, Gerber Life and The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks. ... Hearing from two financial service brands, and an agency that services brands in several markets, packed the house. I'm not sure if it was the topic or the brands who spoke, or both, that was the draw—but the information imparted prompted lots of audience interest and questions.
I recently took a trip to Sonoma County, Calif. While I was there, I learned of an innovation with a firm called REMAG that would have consumers return their used, mailed catalogs and magazines to REMAG-administered kiosks and recycling collection bins in test store locations. By scanning a barcode on the label of a returned catalog or magazine at the kiosk location, the consumer can receive multiple coupons of their choice for a future purchase from a publisher or catalog, a wide variety of store items, or other kiosk marketing sponsor-partner.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently released its fourth annual report on sustainability practices and performance. The document serves as a blueprint for any company or brand in the marketing field on how to report progress and hurdles toward improved triple-bottom line performance (financial, social and environmental, being the three bottom lines), and to illustrate the business case for doing so.
For approximately the past year, the U.S. Postal Service has offered an innovative program called "Every Door Direct" that is designed to convince more small businesses to use direct mail for household geo-targeting. I love it. While social and mobile are all the rage—so, too, is "local"—and direct mail marketing, among other channels, is a powerhouse for local advertising. Mail pieces may be addressed to "Our Neighbors at Fill-in-the-Address"—as are some of the offers I receive from larger mailers—but "Every Door Direct" mail is relevant to me since, for the most part, they represent businesses close to home, in the neighborhood where I do 90 percent of my shopping.
We spoke with Nigel Morris, CEO of Aegis Media Americas since 2009 and a member of the Project board for the World Economic Forum's sustainability initiative. Advertising Age: "Sustainability is a topic we hear about a lot about as it relates to food and farming. What does it mean for advertising?" Nigel Morris: "Sustainability isn't just a green issue. It's about how the whole system of business works, and the fact that we need to ensure that overall economic demand and supply are much more aligned."
For the past three years, the Direct Marketing Association has awarded a Special ECHO Award dedicated to incorporating sustainable, environmental concerns in marketing. The award is given NOT for being "green" (which is self-limiting), but for being successful in marketing—read, profitable—and demonstrating environmental performance in the process.
New data from the American Forest & Paper Association regarding paper recovery rates in the United States has some good news—and not-so-good news—regarding U.S. recycling collection. As marketers, we need to pay close attention to these rates, and take active steps to support increased recovery, since such recovery can have positive impact on recycled paper supply and pricing, as well as other marketplace concerns regarding our print communications and paper packaging.
When discussing the sustainability of marketing, attention very much needs to be paid to digital communications. Many fall into a trap: We may believe we are being environmentally "good" when we use a digital message in place of a print message. Evidence increasingly tells us to think more deeply.