With every marcoms channel having some degree of environmental impact (even email has a carbon footprint, I’m afraid), underlying all of your eco-friendly direct marketing practices should be quality data – the more accurate, up-to-date and secure the better.
Accurate data and being eco-friendly go hand-in-hand and suppression remains a keystone best practice in both regards. For if we can all keep our data as free as possible of obsolete and badly formatted addresses, gone-aways (ie, people who have moved house or job) as well as people who have died, then perhaps we’ll go some way towards decreasing the estimated 4 million trees and £50 million pounds in misaddressed and discarded DM items which are making their way into UK landfills each year. This obviously represents a huge cost to both the environment and businesses – and an unsustainable one, at that.
The companies and brands which will not only survive, but even prosper during the rest of 2009 and beyond will be those whose marcoms reassure consumers and whose products/services are perceived to add value – to their hip pockets, sense of wellbeing and the environment. Now is definitely not the time for clever eco-tricks or marketing gimmicks, in my opinion.
So if you’re serious about “greener” direct marketing – and if the DM industry is to meet its Defra targets, we all should be – the DMA’s PAS 2020 is a solid place to start. Comprised of helpful checklists to run through when making important marketing decisions concerning targeting, suppression and the use of recycled materials in your campaigns, the PAS 2020 website even features an online calculator that ranks your PAS 2020 environmental performance on a project-by-project basis.
Taken together, these are handy KPIs to promote to anyone who may be suspicious of “greenwash” (ie, the tendency for some businesses to talk green while actually doing little or nothing). With industry of all kinds contributing an estimated 55 per cent of the 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide the UK produces annually, I believe it’s incumbent upon us all to use suppression technologies to optimum effect in order to ensure that DM is seen as being environmentally responsible as we transition towards an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy.