In this day and age, one could say "Green is the new Black." More than ever, consumers are engaged in environmentally sound practices. And companies can easily leverage this "Green" trend to not only show their customers their concern with the global environment but also reduce the continually increasing cost of the direct mail process.

There will always be a place for direct mail. However, if you look closely at the type and frequency of your printed pieces that you are sending, organizations can easily identify those items that would be a good fit in the email realm.

Many large travel, banking, and other service providers were the first to jump on the email bandwagon for regularly scheduled statements, newsletters, and other already-existing direct mail advertisements.

Properly executed, consumers find many advantages in receiving these types of communications via email.

Advantages for Consumers

  • Review, retrieve, and save electronic pieces for easy reference and reduced clutter.
  • Immediately respond to offers or call-to-actions with clicks, not postage.
  • Share information electronically by forwarding to a friend.

Advantages for Advertisers

  • Reduce cost associated with direct mail pieces.
  • Shorten the amount of time and reduce the resources needed from "concept to distribution."
  • Customize electronic pieces with more personalized content to increase relevancy for each recipient.
  • Decrease the amount of time to provide customers with information that they have requested by using "triggered" or "recurring" messages to send electronic collateral or links.
  • Track success of email campaigns through electronic reporting within minutes/hours, not days/weeks.
  • Collect other customer information that can be used to tailor unique and customized campaigns based on subscription-collection pages as well as by tracking user activity via visited links.

Identifying the Opportunities and Making the Move

But moving direct mail pieces to an electronic format doesn't happen overnight. Also, not all direct mail pieces are a perfect fit for the email world.

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Chris Lovejoy is account executive, Strategic Services, for Premiere Global Services, eMarketing Solutions (