“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” the newspaper editor says to his young charge in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a line that could be used to explain reporting of direct mail’s environmental impact.
Direct or “junk” mail is often held up as one of the single biggest contributors to ever growing landfills. If not, in pejorative terms as a root of environmental catastrophe.
Only last week, a survey by the Direct Maketingl Association, found that over a third of respondents believe that unpersonalised leaflets, coupons and direct mail were more harmful to the environment than newspapers and supplements and 69 per cent of respondents consider email to have the least environmental impact.
By way of a retort, the DMA concluded that “marketers need to do more to change consumer perceptions of paper-based marketing.”
Yeah, they do but so do the DMA, and the agencies and media owners operating in this space.
As Marketing Week columnist and Kitcatt Nohr Alexander planning director Richard Madden recently put it: “One green innovation direct marketers could embrace is to be less mealy-mouthed about dispelling some of the environmental myths of direct mail.”
A high-profile communications campaign, sustainably sourced of course, to spell out the actions and achievements – environmental standard certification PAS 2020, the seismic leaps made in reducing waste to landfill over the past decade and the proactive tightening of industry codes on sustainability just a few examples.
Lawmakers, marketing colleagues and the wider public at large need to know, physical mail is not the cause of all societies’ ills.
Then perhaps the fact will become the legend.