In the crusade against environmentally-damaging practices, the world is slowly but surely outlawing print mail. This makes sense, and the reduction of physical posted items will save paper and countless trees. Telkom made the decision to cease sending customers physical bills each month, and instead attach each monthly invoice digitally to an email. So, what exactly is direct mail in the marketing context, how has it changed since the dawn of the Internet, and what does the implementing of the POPI Act mean for direct marketing practices? Let’s find out:
What is direct mail?
There’s a good chance you encounter at least a few direct mails every month. Before the rise of the Internet and its communicative capabilities, marketers and advertisers would send out physical letters (made from cardboard, paper and ink) to people’s physical addresses. Direct mail promotional material has included things like newsletters, postcards, sales letters, catalogues and brochures. Direct mail is commonly used by large corporations who have the budget to afford sending out thousands upon thousands of letters each year.
However, traditional direct mailing is fast becoming something of the past. De-forestation is an eco-taboo, and even paper sourced from responsible sources requires much processing which has a negative impact on the environment. Other than the creation of the promotional posted materials affecting the planet, actually getting the letters to people’s houses involves the use of fossil fuel-driven vehicles – which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.