Junk Mail Yard Dogs

Spam comes in many varieties, from the “Gone Are The Days When You Can’t Perform” flavor to the “I used to want this newsletter but now I don’t anymore” flavor. [We know a little something about this one. – Ed.] For several decades, the Direct Marketing Association maintained a Preference Service for consumers who wanted to stop receiving direct mail, telemarketing calls and, more recently, email (trending toward the latter sort of spam). Problem was, each list was an all-or-nothing proposition — you either opted out of everything or nothing.

However, those services went through an extreme makeover. Enter, a customized portal that helps consumers choose the companies — or industries — they want to receive communications from and the medium they want to receive it through. It provides a choice of opt-out, opt-down and opt-in services. All 3,400 DMA members are listed. Clicking on a name takes consumers to a landing page that gives them a choice of calling, emailing or mailing that merchant directly, or having the DMA handle their request. “Having choices allows the merchant to maintain the dialogue with the customer,” John A. Greco Jr., president and CEO of the DMA.

“When you are communicating with someone through the channel they choose, you will see an increase in both response and retention,” says Patrick Adams, senior vice president of marketing, Direct Brands (formerly Bertelsmann Direct, North America), which sends out millions of mail and email notices annually for Columbia House, BMG Music and book club brands.

Will Cravens, spokesman for the nonprofit ForestEthics, calls the service a welcome indication that the DMA senses the public’s frustration with junk mail. “However, it’s still a very open question whether or not they have a long-term interest in helping Americans reduce their mail and protect the environment.”
Next story loading loading..