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Sorting Through a Year’s Worth of Mail

What was it that made 2005 more interesting than 2004? It must have been something, since the number of letters to the editor at DM News increased 20 percent this year. Just as in 2004, though, columnist Bob Bly drew the biggest controversy. Last year, he questioned where the ROI was in blogging, which agitated those in the blogosphere. This year it wasn’t anything Bob wrote in a column. Instead, it was a letter questioning the credentials of the four “hip, long-haired creative ad guys” pictured in this year’s call for entries to the Caples Awards.

The debate became almost as heated as the one 12 years ago that featured three Caples awards and two nude models. Coming in a close second in letter volume was the direction of the list industry, probably because of the special section that coincided with this year’s List Vision. After that, remarks about the Direct Marketing Association, mailing techniques and people who deserved to be inducted into the DMA’s Hall of Fame rounded out the top five. All in all, an interesting year’s worth of reading. I just wonder what Bob will come up with next year. Whatever the case, keep those letters coming … on any topic.

Extra Catalogs in the Mail

I ran across an odd posting on the American Postal Workers Union/National Postal Press Association’s Web site that asked postal employees: “What are you doing to save your job?” “Do you order items from catalogs?” wrote a postal worker from Salt Lake City. “Do you request that your new shirt from Lands’ End be shipped via Priority Mail? If you are not, you are taking part of our revenue away. … Do you pay your bills online? … The convenience is great, but is it worth my job?”

Fine so far, but then the writer shifts gears: “Here is another way we could help protect our jobs. As stupid as it may sound, how many mailing lists are you on? Many of us probably hate junk mail, but what if we subscribed to every catalog we could? That is revenue. Filling out and sending that postage paid catalog request card could help save our jobs. Just think if our 800,000 employees sent one catalog request card in and were sent a catalog each month. That is a serious amount of cash!”

It’s nice to know that letter carriers want to save the postal service, but did the person think about the cost to catalogers? Wouldn’t it be ironic if they found items they wanted in those requested catalogs and started to like the mail they delivered?

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