The city of Chicago began a mail preference service earlier this month that provides residents with the ability to opt out of receiving selected direct mail materials. The effort is designed to enable Chicago to save money on sanitation and rid the city of tons of millions of pounds of paper waste, but it also has obvious direct marketing implications.
The service was created by nonprofit Catalog Choice, which will host a localized website where Chicago residents are able to sign up to control which companies send them direct mail. The company has worked with more than 1.3 million consumers and 4,000 companies to ensure that consumers on corporate mailing lists actually wish to be communicated with.
Catalog Choice president and executive director Chuck Teller disagrees with the assertion that this program could damage direct mail efforts in any way. In fact, he argues that consumers’ choice will actually improve direct mail marketing efficiency, lower marketing spend and change negative consumer perception of direct mail.