Do-not-mail just one challenge in circ marketing

Share this content:

It's a challenging time to be working in magazine circulation. There are a number of issues that are making it harder to increase profitability year over year: rising postal and paper costs, do-not-mail legislation on the state level, difficulty in recruiting bright young people into our discipline and, last but not least, the proliferation of information that is freely available on television and the Internet.

The recent wave of do-not-mail legislation has the potential to be a huge problem. The magazine industry has done a pretty good job of targeting our mail so that we are not flooding consumers' mailboxes with offers that they do not find interesting or appropriate. We will suffer because those in the catalog and financial services industries have not done as good a job sending multiple catalogs or credit card offers to people, to the point where consumers are rebelling.

The direct mail industry has done a terrible job of articulating our position to the general public. The fact is that many people like to shop through the mail. No one would consider outlawing end-cap displays in a store, yet they serve the same purpose as direct mail: to interrupt a shopper's routine and draw attention to a product that one normally might not be looking to buy. Receiving offers through the mail does not cost a consumer a penny. In fact, one could argue that postal rates would be much, much higher if commercial mail did not help pay much of the cost of the postal system.

If the people of the United States decide that there should be some sort of opt-out from receiving postal mail, it is imperative that this be instituted on a national level, not on a state-by-state basis. Differing laws in each state will make it very difficult for mailers to comply with the rules. We are already seeing this with the multiple organizations that have set up do-not-mail registries on their own. Either the national government or the DMA must be the centralized gathering point for opt-out names to make the system workable.

No one wants to send mail to people who are not going to respond. It wastes a lot of money and natural resources. But let's allow the free market to guide us to a good solution for more targeted marketing instead of legislating solutions that may not work.

David Ball is VP of consumer marketing at Meredith Corporation. You may reach him at


Next Article in Direct Mail

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above