The Green Prospects
First, a reality check
Before you run off the cliff screaming that the green prospect doesn’t want any mail, be comforted that they do. The green prospect is spending plenty of money, but is just more environmentally sensitive — and she wants to see that reflected in the direct mail she receives. In other words, not just targeted mail that is somewhat relevant to her life, but packages that are increasingly environmental.
The 2007 Cone Holiday Environmental Survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Corp., reflects this reality: 54 percent of respondents are willing to pay more for a holiday gift or product this year if it is environmentally responsible, and 42 percent said they were purchasing gift wrap made from recycled paper. It’s not too much of a leap to see they will soon demand the same qualities from their mail.
The DMA is aware of this sea change in consumer behavior. Partly to ward off state governments enacting do-not-mail laws and to appease green customers, the DMA stepped it up in 2007 with their environmental initiatives. In particular, their Environmental Planning Tool provides guidelines and tips for a greener package.
“Being perceived as environmentally sensitive plays well with brands and is proving to be a motivator for employees,” relates Meta Brophy, director of publishing operations at Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports in Yonkers, N.Y.
Consumers Union has used the planning tool successfully, and Brophy recommends it highly. “By using the planner, an organization can gauge its practices today and enable planning, testing and implementation for practices tomorrow. The planner does not ask businesses and organizations to abandon sound business decisions in their pursuit of a greener direct marketing process. It offers a path for a better environmental footprint and increased business efficiency by suggesting ways to achieve these mutual objectives,” she describes.