For direct marketers, in the UK at least, aligning mailer size to customer value, as well as the use of recycled materials in direct mail, are now regarded as the two top direct mail priorities for the next eighteen months, according to research by Corporate Mailing Matters.
According to Corporate Mailing Matters, an unrealistic target for the use of recycled materials in direct mail was set by the UK government in 2003. However, the UK's Direct Marketing Association managed to persuade the government to change the target for the end of 2005 to 30%, and that goal seems to have been achieved. However, this target leaps to 55% by the end of 2009.
The survey, which questioned 1,000 of the UK's top corporate marketers, found that 60% regarded "achieving the next round of government targets for the use of recycled materials in direct mail" as a key priority for the next year. This bodes well for direct mail achieving the UK government's target of 55% recycled material usage by 2009.
But even more important was "aligning the size of a mailer with the value, or potential value, of the customer or prospect". This - combined with the introduction of the Royal Mail's Pricing in Proportion scheme - shows a strong move in the UK marketing industry toward targeting even within the physical nature of the mailing piece.
This is a development that seems to follow naturally from the targeting improvements made since 2001 that have brought average campaign volumes down from over 170,000 to below 90,000.
According to Yolanda Noble, chief executive for Corporate Mailing Matters, "We celebrate the refinement of targeting and segmentation by the industry, even now down to the physical size of the mailing piece. And this is doubly pleasing in being matched by a major drive from marketers themselves toward greater use of recycled materials. If this latter goal is to also be realised, then responsibility lies not just with the direct mail industry, but also with those marketers and agencies who commission direct mail campaigns."
The findings from the survey suggest that the UK's leading marketers are taking the issue seriously, second only to their goal of addressing different value customers in more diverse ways.
Less waste in future?
Finally, the agreement between the DMA and the government also included a 'Waste Strategy', the aim of which is to improve the targeting of direct mail and promotions. The survey found that marketers believe the forthcoming launch of Pricing in Proportion will encourage more targeted, lower-volume direct mail.