Frequently Asked Questions about Advertising Mail
What’s the harm in having a Do Not Mail registry? Shouldn’t people have the option of deciding what mail they want or don’t want?
Consumers already have free options that allow them to reduce the amount of advertising mail they receive. We don’t need more laws that are unnecessary, unworkable, and would hurt small businesses and throw thousands of Americans out of work.
- Since 1971, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has offered DMAchoice (formerly known as the Mail Preference Service/MPS), which is the official mail preference suppression service for the catalog marketing community. This free service empowers consumers to remove their names from prospecting and company-specific mailing lists. Register at www.dmachoice.org/
- People can reduce credit and insurance mail offers by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com or by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).
- Consumers have always been able to contact companies directly and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
What’s really important to remember here though is that Do Not Mail legislation is a serious threat to jobs, commerce and the economy. In 2008, direct mail accounted for approximately 3.5 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product. Also in 2008, there were 460,000 direct mail employees in the United States. Their collective sales efforts directly supported 3.3 million other jobs, accounting for a total of more than 3.7 million U.S. jobs.
Additionally, small businesses create as many as four out of every five new jobs in the United States, and more than 300,000 small businesses around the country rely on advertising mail. These are local florists, house painters, lawn and construction workers, restaurants, mom and pop shops, auto mechanics and other small stores.
And today’s start-up business could be tomorrow’s giant employer. Many U.S. businesses got their start by direct mail enabling them to grow and employ thousands of people.
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Why must small businesses rely on the mail to advertise? Why can’t they just rely on the Internet or other forms of advertising?
For many small businesses mail is the most affordable, effective and efficient way to advertise. It is their lifeblood. Studies show that more than 80 percent of Americans read or scan advertising mail. In fact, according to a brand-new Pitney Bowes/DMNews survey, the vast majority (85%) of consumers review their mail daily. Additionally, this same survey indicated that 78 percent of respondents said they prefer to receive coupons through the mail, versus other means such as e-mail, newspapers and websites. Who hasn’t saved money with a coupon they received in the mail?
The fact is that mail provides small businesses with a way to reach current and potential customers in a small geographic area – which is nearly impossible to do with other forms of advertising. The local pizza parlor or coffee shop wants to reach people in their neighborhood, not people on the other side of town or in the next county or the next state. Mail gives them that ability.
Without mail, many of these business owners couldn’t afford to advertise, which means their sales dry up, they have to lay off employees and eventually shutter their business.
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Isn’t advertising mail bad for the environment?
Not at all. The facts prove that mail is a very environmentally responsible way to advertise. We’re proud of our environmental record and happy to discuss it.
Our forests are as healthy as they’ve been in years. In fact, there are more forests in the U.S. today than there were 50 years ago.
America's forestry and paper community plants more than 4 million new trees each day – that's more than 1.4 billion new trees each year. Why? Because major U.S. paper manufacturers have adopted sustainable forestry practices where trees are planted, harvested and re-planted to ensure a growing future supply. The industry plants three new trees for every one harvested.
Recycling is another success story. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, annual recycling rates for advertising mail have increased seven-fold since 1990, and continue to climb.
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Isn’t advertising mail responsible for identity theft?
Identity theft is a crime that can occur through any number of transactions, including when people shop online or even in person. Banning advertising mail wouldn’t stop identity theft, but it would stop thousands of small American businesses from being able to grow and create jobs.
updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:25 PM