Catalog Choice: Environmental best practices in direct marketing

With a growing focus on green marketing and business, many companies are looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly while keeping an eye on their bottom line.

Catalog Choice is a nonprofit organization, sponsored by the Ecology Center of Berkeley, with a mission to – “Eliminate unwanted catalogs you receive. Simplify your life and save natural resources.”

Since their launch in October, more than 900,000 people have opted out of receiving more than 11 million catalogs, according to April Smith, Catalog Choice’s project manager in a recent DMNews article.

By reducing the amount of unwanted catalogs, the service helps merchants focus on the bottom line while looking out for the environment. Merchants including Lands’ End and L.L. Bean use the service to do just that, and as another way to listen to customers’ mail preferences.

“It helps with our postage costs, which as you know, have done nothing but go up and become more of a challenge over the last year or so to really manage,” said Andrew Chane, VP of Tools for Wellness. “We certainly don’t want to keep mailing to people that aren’t interested in what we’re about.”

Tools for Wellness features the Catalog Choice logo on their Web site and in their catalog mailings. The logo shows customers that the company is concerned about the environment and reducing wasted catalogs and resources.

“According to Catalog Choice, 41% of consumers who chose to opt out of receiving a specific catalog said that they want to help the environment and 37% said they had no interest in the products advertised. About 15% said they preferred to shop online.”

Catalog Choice executives say they are not out to “hurt” the catalog industry, but created the voluntary service as a way to open dialog between mailers and recipients. Most participating mailers offer an electronic version for consumers in place of paper catalogs.

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