Junk mail is mailed indiscriminately in large quantities.

Today, Junk Mail died. Printers everywhere are mourning. Consumers and environmentalists are celebrating. Old school direct marketers are gasping. Postal carrier back muscles are feeling relief.

I am in charge of writing his epitaph and am considering some of these. What do you think?
· Ashes to Ashes. Dust to Dust. I Got Recycled.
· Merged, then Purged.
· This time I got a 0% response rate.

This is fun.

It may raise an eyebrow for a direct marketer like me to talk about the death of junk mail. After all, I make my living in the world of results-driven direct mail advertising. But I am convinced we are entering a new era where junk mail is on the way out.

According to dictionary.com here is the definition of junk mail:
Third-class mail, such as advertisements, mailed indiscriminately in large quantities.

Key words here are ‘indiscriminately’ and ‘large quantities’. In other words, direct mail spam.

You get this stuff at your home. Sweepstakes letters, credit card offers and mortgage re-fi offerings seemingly every day. These direct marketers are by definition ‘large quantities’. Most have a science behind their targeting efforts, but they are often on the liberal side of the indiscriminate spectrum.

Just like spammers, these junk mailers are playing a numbers game and making profit often at a 0.1% response rate (or lower!). But there is a higher road with higher response for these marketers.

You see, direct mail has changed. In my marketing nerd world, it was a contestant on one of those Ultimate Make Over reality shows…

Good direct mail, the kind of direct mail that gets fabulous return, the kind of direct mail that is responsible and ethical is “Relevant Mail”. In other words, mail that is massively customized and relevant to the needs of the recipient at precisely that time.


Relevant mail is the opposite of junk mail.

It is mailed with scientific precision and customization. The content of the mail piece contains information and offers that are uniquely matched with the needs of the recipient. It is tremendously personalized and hand crafted. It is timely. It is one-to-one marketing. It is not indiscriminate. It is not a blast.

Relevant mail is mailed in tiny quantities. Because each mail piece is customized to the needs of that recipient at that time, the quantity of mail delivered at that time is very, very small, but incredibly targeted and relevant. It is not mailed in large quantities.

Today technology is available that makes this all possible. It is called Variable Data Digital Printing. It works like “Mail Merge on Steroids” where the graphics/photos and text are all interchangeable based on the geographics, demographics, psychographics, and purchasing history of the recipient. Every mail piece that comes off the press is different, unique and custom. And it is all database driven.

This is not just the future of direct mail advertising. It is the present. Junk mail is the past.

At Trigger Direct we are exclusively focused in this world of Relevant Mail. Our clients are getting tremendous ROI, as high as $29 in revenue for every $1 spent.

The reason?

Relevant mail increases response rates, sometimes as high as 8%, and revenue goes way up. Relevant mail decreases quantity and expenses goes way down.

End result? ROI shoots up like an oil geyser. Texas Tea.

Relevant mail is often mailed in quantities of hundreds rather than tens of thousands…. And on recycled paper. Relevant mail is ethical, responsible and environmentally friendly. Kumbaya.

Junk mail died today. But don’t be surprised if you continue to see corpses in your mailbox. Many marketers are failing to check the pulse of their campaigns.

Junk mail is dead. R.I.P.

Good Selling!