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ALC’s Rappaport named CEO of Zumbox

Zumbox, a paperless mail delivery system that launched in February, has enlisted direct marketing veteran Donn Rappaport as its CEO. Rappaport, who has a 30-year history in the list and database marketing industry, will remain chairman of ALC. Susan Rappaport will be ALC’s new CEO. The two companies also announced a strategic partnership that will support Zumbox’s national roll out planned to begin September 2009.

ALC, which Rappaport said sold information to 32,000 US
marketers last year, will use its sales force to promote Zumbox to all
of its clients. “ALC will be introducing Zumbox to all of its postal mailers, not just as an alternative, but as another medium,” he said. The company has also reached out to other data service providers, nonprofit organizations and agencies in order to begin promoting the system.

Rappaport outlined a national roll-out scheme for the company that will be completed in the Spring of 2011. To start the company is selecting 8 geographic areas to reach a target of 1 million homes in the US. Zumbox has yet to release which areas it plans to be in, but company representatives have said an annoucenment will follow soon. In addition to recruiting mailers to use the system, Zumbox has a consumer campaign called “Paperless Please” planned to introduce the public to the new delivery system.

The company will be analyzing the number of Zumboxes activitated, how often consumers visit their mailboxes, time spent with each peice, along with other traditional metrics such as response rate and open rates to determine the success of the program. Rappaport said that the company only expected a third of Zumbox’s volume to be commercial mail, attributing another third to statements and a final third to community and local government communication.

Rappaport was adament that Zumbox was not a replacement for direct mail or e-mail. “Many marketers will countinue to use [postal] mail successfully,” Rappaport said. “Direct mail is the most powerful medium marketing has created  – the problem is its becoming increasingly expensive; mailers are forced to look at other viable options.”

The payment structure of Zumbox has not been finalized according to Rappaport, but he expected the cost of a digital stamp to be 2 cents, with additional charges for rich media or file size. The company plans to charge for use in order to discourage spam. “The problem of spam has increased becasue the cost of sending e-mail is virtually free,” Rappaport explained.

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