‘Junk Mail’ Is Call to Arms
We’ve all heard the reference; some marketers have even made it themselves. “Junk mail” carries an obvious negative connotation and generates almost universal scorn. Case in point—recently, SPC was featured on Fox Business News to explain how all the direct mail gets produced for the retail holiday season.
But instead of it being a feel-good piece about the growth of American manufacturing and business vitality, the segment’s anchors cracked incessant jokes about junk mail, and the producer threw a giant banner across the bottom of the screen, reading “SPC: Junk Mail Source.”
Excuse me as I take a moment to get over that sucker punch to the gut. I was beyond upset. I was livid, but I took a deep breath and started to question how we all got here.
The USPS tells us that 56 percent of people consider opening the mail to be a “real pleasure,” so why is everyone calling it “junk?”
Perhaps part of this is psychological…heck, part of it must be. I can think of a lot of things that people consider a real pleasure, but also label as junk. My wife enjoys some of these things. Examples include bad television, “chick lit,” and more bad television.
Twinkies and Pringles rode to glory despite being labeled “junk” food, generating millions—if not billions—of dollars for their brand owners. Maybe instead of direct mail or junk mail, we should simply call it a guilty pleasure. I’m open to feedback. What would you call it?
It’s commonplace for consumers to oversimplify the matter and categorize all mail as “junk.” The “Do not call list” made lives better, and “Do not mail” sounds really similar. Why wouldn’t the benefits of such a list also fall in line?
I believe we, as marketers, are partly to blame. The lack of creativity and strategy when it comes to many direct mail campaigns is disheartening. With the technology available to us today, there’s no excuse for generating mundane, dull mail pieces that don’t bust through the clutter to entice consumers, educate them or drive them to act.