Live from Direct Media Co-op: Debunking Do-Not-Mail Myths

White Plains, NY–With 11 states introducing do-not-mail legislation this year, and services like Catalog Choice scaring consumers into opting out of mailings, the Direct Marketing Association is ramping up its message to marketers and legislators.

“If we face do-not-mail laws in even one state proposing it, the non-profits will be affected, suppliers will be affected, the entire direct marketing community will be affected,” said Pat Kachura, the DMA’s senior vice president of corporate responsibility for the DMA, Wednesday at Direct Media’s Client Conference and Co-op. “We want marketers to regulate themselves so these threats will not become reality.”

Consumers say they want to stop receiving direct mail for three key reasons, according to Kachura, and all three appear to be myths.

Reason 1: Mail volume and irrelevance. Kachura said mailers would be happy to remove insignificant recipients from their lists in the first place.

Reason 2: Consumers’ fear that if they recycle their unwanted direct mail, it will be stolen along with their identities. But Kachura contends that only 3% to 4% of all identity theft cases have been because of data taken from direct mail pieces.

Reason 3: The environment. Not only are catalogs recycled, but also random trees are not cut down to produce paper. Trees that are used to produce paper are grown as a crop, Kachura said.

But a lot of these rumors are being spread by groups like GreenDimes, Stop the junk, and Catalog Choice, Kachura said. Launched in October, Catalog Choice in particular has hit the public hard with its message that catalogs are bad, and only it can remove consumer names from mailing lists, she noted.

“There are a lot of money-making groups out there that say they can remove your names from mailing lists, and none of them have the infrastructure behind them to actually do that,” Kachura said. “We’ve received consumer complaints about Catalog Choice, which cannot deliver on its promise to consumers. And that, to me, is deceptive marketing.”

Kachura used the opportunity to promote the DMA’s opt-out/opt-in service, Commitment to Consumer Choice. She said the DMA is making changes to Consumers Choice that will be unveiled this month, including the option for consumers to opt in or out of specific brands.

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