Is there anything we CAN do anymore?

With the advent of the Internet, many marketers dropped dollars devoted to traditional methods like direct mail in favor of online ads and email marketing to reach their audience immediately. When the Do-Not-Call list made it into the law books, even more marketers turned to email. Then anti-SPAM laws made it nearly impossible to use email as an effective marketing tool, so we reverted back to tried-and-true methods, and direct mail made a big comeback. This proved to be an effective method to get response as long as marketers were creative in their messaging, offers and packaging to break through the clutter. But now, state legislators around the US are lobbying for a “Do Not Mail” law which would effectively end direct mail as an option for many marketers. AK, CO, CT, HI, MD, MI, MS, MT, NJ, NY, NC, RI, TX, VT and WA have all considered establishing a “Do Not Mail” registry.

In hopes of abating this, the DMA (whose very existence depends on the aforementioned marketing techniques) has issued new guidelines designed to help marketers. Many of these guidelines are practices that companies already have in place to comply with email marketing rules. Although geared to consumer marketing, there are lessons that can be applied to B2B marketers, including:

– Provide customers with an opt-out of future mailings
– Upon request, notify recipient of how their address was obtained
– Update your lists frequently to remove undeliverable and opt-out requests

You can already block broadcast ads thanks to DVR and satellite radio, and avoid any type of online advertising by subscribing to RSS feeds to receive your favorite site’s content. Before we know it, magazines and newspapers will be ad-free! Direct mail is one of the few remaining vehicles we have to get creative and make our message stand out. In times when regulations and things we can’t do seem endless, let’s hope this is one law that isn’t passed!

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