A few days ago, I bumped into our local post-man as I left the house and my first thought was ‘He’s got fat!’ I wished him a good morning and asked how he was, receiving the usual response of ‘Not bad, thanks’ followed by a comment that ‘he could do with more post because his bag is quite light these days’. We then had a proper conversation about how much his round has changed over the years and his understanding of why.

 

Postage costs have shot-up, email marketing is virtually free and cross-media, (I was surprised by how well informed he was on this) have conspired to reduce the weight of Simon’s sack.

 

But why?

 

Is it because the impact you can get from a carefully created and executed cross media campaign means you can get better results with more accurately targeted approach? Possibly, but I can’t really measure it.

 

Is it because we are constantly told that chopping down trees to make paper is bad, bad, bad? (despite a number of good arguments around sustainability). Possibly, but we do plant a lot of new ones.

 

Is it because we just don’t like ‘paper coming through our door’ and thus refer to it as ‘junk mail’? Well, this could also be true.

 

However, in my less than humble opinion, they are all valid points, driven by fashions and trends that most of us just follow, without too much thought, or willingness to fight back. It’s just not fashionable to encourage ‘paper documents, is it!’

 

 

Here is a little test that you can try out in your work-place to establish how much these fashions have affected our industry. Ask your colleagues these questions:

 

  • Have you opted to receive bank statements on line?
  • Are your utility bills via a browser or by e-mail?
  • Do you tick the box that says you do NOT want to receive information by POST?
  • Do you communicate your house-hold queries with the relevant bodies by email/text?
  • These are just a few but when you have your answers, ask your colleagues:-
  • Do you work in PRINT? The last word is shouted because I think you have forgotten.

 

There is nothing wrong with the speed of e-commerce but for a printing company it won’t help YOU. All it really does is save THEM money and add to THEIR profits.

 

If you are in direct mail, then maybe you could help yourself to regain a little profit and volume. Encourage your colleagues to do the opposite of what they are already doing. Tell your bank that you want monthly statements from now on, weekly if they can do it! Utilities, car-insurance, credit cards. Every one of them that ‘sends’ you a bill should be tasked with actually sending you that bill in hard-copy format every month.

 

I’m not saying you should stop buying on line, just ask for a written receipt EVERY TIME you do.

 

The thing with fashion is that it changes. The pendulum swings back, sometimes of its’ own accord and sometimes ‘just because’. Time to be a fashion leader I think!

 

When someone stops you in the street and asks you to complete a survey, take time to complete it and find as many marketing messages as you can and don’t forget to sign up for everything BY POST.

 

The tree-huggers will have a fit, but they aren’t paying your bills, are they?