Earth Day 2010: Email Advances The Cause

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for earth and the environment.  Even those not born then, or too young to remember the first Earth Day, have probably seen the iconic television commercial created for the event.  It featured the powerful image of a stoic Native American shedding a single tear at the pollution he sees around him.

Over the years, awareness of the environment and man's impact on it has grown tremendously.

Today, there is a laundry list of tax credits, rebates and financial incentives to encourage both individuals and businesses to "go green."  These include tax credits for green home repairs, tax rebates for the purchase of a hybrid car, and significant business tax deductions for making energy-efficient improvements to your place of work.

While those are important efforts, businesses often overlook a very easy way to make a real impact on the environment, while improving marketing and saving a lot of money: converting all or a portion of direct mail to email.



Email is a green choice because it eliminates the use of paper and fossil fuels used in delivery.  Our research shows that marketers save 60% to 80% by switching their paper-based marketing programs to email.  Email also generates a return on investment greater than any other marketing channel, according to a study by the Direct Marketing Association.  That study shows email returns $43.62 for every dollar spent. 

Nearly every business can benefit from switching to email marketing:

  •  Publishing companies can email subscribers newsletters and links to digital magazines.

    ·       Nonprofit organizations and associations can send newsletters and donor information via email and can stay in touch with members via email.

  • Healthcare and insurance companies can send benefit information via email, and send appointment reminders and billing via email.

  • Financial services firms can send links to statements, annual reports, shareholder voting information and more via email.

  • Entertainment and travel companies can send itineraries, e-tickets and destination brochures via email.

  • Consumer products companies can stay in touch with loyalty groups via email, and manage product warranties via email, among other functions.

  •  Retailers can eliminate paper catalogs by emailing links to online versions, and can email coupons to customers.

     The decision to go green eventually should come down to what your customers want.  Does mailing catalogs or letters have the detrimental effect of angering an environmentally-conscious customer?  If the answer is "yes" or "I don't know," perhaps it's time to switch to email.

  • 4 comments about "Earth Day 2010: Email Advances The Cause ".
    Check to receive email when comments are posted.
    1. Richard Weber from The Laurel Group, April 21, 2010 at 10:23 a.m.

      In all due respect, the decision to go green should not "eventually come down to what customers want". The decision should simply come down to doing the right thing.

    2. Rita from FreshAddress, Inc., April 21, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.

      Not only is email cost effective, green and expedient, it can point recipients to your direct mail in advance and keep your brand strong in their awareness. Tracking the results of direct mail are not as easy as tracking open and click through rates in email. Our clients are convinced that their recipients appreciate the opportunity to manage information electronically, saving costs as well.

    3. Jen Carlton from Priority Integrated Marketing, April 21, 2010 at 5:07 p.m.

      Great post, Neil. The point that marketers can go green, while actually improving results is a great one. So often, executives see green as another expense.

      Your list of ideas was also great and comprehensive. Our interactive strategist took a shot at elaborating your points - for more ways marketers could further integrate their green efforts, while improving engagement with their audiences.

    4. Fred Jones, April 23, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.

      I am all for going green, but it needs to be done intelligently. Even though Email carries a higher ROI, it does not mean it drives more revenue for a business, which is the bottom line, right?
      And I would even argue that from some viewpoints, paper is a much more green friendly platform than digital. Every piece of direct mail can be recycled, but computers, hardware, and the energy comsumption needed to support them have a tremendous impact on the environment that is too often overlooked.

    Next story loading loading..