It seems logical that sending mail directly to someone’s doorstep would be an effective means of direct marketing. However, recent technological advances and the inundation of advertisements sent directly to people’s homes has made them ineffective. Junk mail or advertising mail is often thrown away by its recipients who do not bother to read what service or product the advertisement has to offer. Also, with the rising costs of postage and cost of printing the advertisement, this direct mailing method is more expensive than its technological alternative.
Junk mail makes up a large assortment of advertisements sent directly to peoples’ home or business. It consists of advertising circulars, catalogs, postcards, coupons, applications and other promotional items sent to homes or businesses. However, it costs a company money to print the advertisements, develop address lists, purchase postage and develop the advertisement.
Not only is junk mail costly for marketers, but it is also very unproductive with many of the advertisements not even being read by recipients. The average American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 44% of junk mail is throw away without being opened or read. People have become so inundated with advertising mail that they cannot or care to go through all of the pieces of junk mail that they receive, which leads them to just throw most of it out.
Junk mail recipients have become so annoyed and irritated by unwanted advertisements that laws have been put into place that allow them to opt-out. In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Rowan vs. Post Office Department, applicants have the opportunity to obtain a Prohibitory Order issued by the United States Postal Service. This allows people to stop non-governmental organizations from sending them mail and demands that these organizations remove the consumers’ information from their mailing lists. This order blocks marketers from sending advertising mail directly to peoples’ home or business.
Direct mail marketing seems like a practical idea, since you are putting advertisements directly into a recipient’s hands by sending it straight to their home or business location. However, new technology, such as e-mail seems to be more productive than direct mail for many reasons. These reasons include it being cheaper, analytics that allow you to track if an e-mail is opened or if they click on included links and people who volunteer their e-mail addresses are looking forward to your advertisements and welcome them. With direct mail, you are unable to measure ROI since you do not know, in most cases, if the recipient bought your product or service because of the advertisement. Also, with e-mail being free to send and with many people using the Internet to research a product or service, direct mail seems to be an ancient way to get a potential customer’s attention.