Green Your Mail to Stay in the Black

An Aperture Research Institute study reported up to 70 percent of organizations have adopted a green initiative of some kind. While those companies should be lauded, a rough economy means some companies have abandoned or scaled back their green initiatives as they tighten their belts. Now is the time to take a realistic look at your company's initiatives and ask whether or not the practices undertaken are "evergreen‚" promoting not only environmental sustainability, but sound business practices, which will provide a solid return on investment so as to be sustainable in both good and bad economic conditions. 

For instance, over six million trees and more than 300 million pounds of paper are wasted each year on undeliverable-as-addressed standard class mail, as reported by UAA Clearinghouse. It costs the U.S. Postal Service over $2 billion annually to process this true junk mail. And the impact on mailers is even more dramatic‚ costing direct mailers over $6 billion a year.  

Here are five steps you can implement to save money as you green your mailings and ensure you stay in the black, even if the economy sees red:

1. Correct, update, and remove duplicates from your lists.
2. Downsize your mailings.
3. Target your mailings.
4. "Transpromo" your mailings by adding promotional messaging to other communication.
5. Recycle your mailings.

Greg Brown is director of marketing for Melissa Data, a direct marketing software and services company. For more information, visit