Small business marketing typically involves direct response tactics, such as direct mail marketing. Nearly everyone is familiar with direct mail marketing in its many forms, including postcards, envelope packages, catalogs and self-mailers. If you rely on direct mail marketing to acquire customers, you need to know about two new choice initiatives in the news: Catalog Choice and the updated Direct Marketing Association’s DMAChoice mail preference service. Business can save money on printing and postage if they use both services to suppress names from their mailing lists of consumers who don’t want to receive unsolicited mail (“junk mail”.)

Catalog Choice

Consumers are actively taking a stance against receiving unsolicited catalogs. What was once a welcome, entertaining find in the mailbox is now perceived as wasteful. Despite the fact that catalogs are almost always printed on recycled paper, and that most people do recycle catalogs and other unsolicited direct mail materials, the perception among consumers is that catalogs they didn’t request are a waste of natural resources.

Catalog Choice is a new service that promises to let consumers opt out of unsolicited catalogs. Currently over a million consumers have signed up for Catalog Choice’s service and the number grows daily. Sponsored by the Ecology Center and endorsed by many ecologically minded non-profits, the goal of the group is to eliminate repeated and unwanted mailings. Consumers can opt out of specific catalog categories. Business can use Catalog Choice’s opt-out list and suppress names on the Catalog Choice list from rented lists or house files.

The DMAChoice Mail Preference Service

The Direct Marketing Association is the trade association for the direct marketing industry. The group’s mail preference service has been around for many years. Consumers can sign up for the mail preference service and opt-out of unsolicited direct marketing, including catalogs. Members of the DMA and other direct marketers and catalog companies use the DMA Mail Preference Service list and suppress names on the list against rented lists or house files to ensure that those on the list do not receive unsolicited catalogs. Most reputable direct marketing companies use the DMA mail preference service list. New to the DMA is the email preference list, which helps consumers manage the quantity of unsolicited emails. The updated service, called DMA Choice, makes the process easier for consumers.

Mail Preference Services Helps Direct Mail Marketing

For those who rely upon direct mail marketing and those who use direct response techniques for small business marketing, these two mail services help companies save money and provide consumers with some sense of control over their inbox and mailbox. While not all companies use one or both services, most reputable cataloguers do use them. It makes good financial sense for companies to use the mail preference services. Companies who use unsolicited direct mail as an acquisition tactic want consumers to respond. Consumers who will simply throw the direct mail marketing pieces away are a waste of money. Companies would much rather omit them from the mailing, save the cost of the direct mail marketing piece and postage, and continue to market to those consumers who look forward to their mailings. If you own a small business, make sure that your marketing department adheres to the best mailing list management practices in the industry. Catalog marketers and those who rely upon direct mail marketing for customer acquisition need to educate themselves on the new Catalog Choice service as well as the updated and enhanced DMAChoice mail preference service.