Talk:Advertising mail

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Representation[edit]

I imagine this article is authored by people knowledgeable about the direct mail industry and perhaps involved in it - ie, by people who have a more favorable opinion of advertising in the mail than the general population.

"Many people respond positively to direct mail advertising and find useful goods and services on offer. ... However, some people dislike it,"

I have never heard anyone I know say a positive thing about direct mail advertising, but many, many complaints about it. I believe a majority of the population considers it an invasion of their personal space by scams and advertising and a hideous use of trees. It may be more accurate to for the article to state:

"Some people respond positively to direct mail advertising and find useful goods and services on offer. ... However, many people dislike it," —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.54.202.94 (talk) 07:18, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I suggest having an archive page[edit]

I suggest having an archive page Sanjiv swarup (talk) 16:49, 25 June 2008 (UTC)



I suggest merging[edit]

referenc to the contents

4 Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Mail

5 Opposition to direct mail



I suggest merging 5 Opposition to direct mail with


4 Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Mail—Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanjiv swarup (talkcontribs)

I would oppose such a merge. The "Advantages and Disadvantages" section is written from a business perspective, while the "Opposition" section takes a more consumer advocate oriented approach. This dichotomy is part of a larger POV problem with the article, but for now, it is what it is. Switching between opposing viewpoints isn't ideal, but it's better than representing only one.
The latter section is currently much smaller than its potential; there is quite a bit of material out there on the environmental impact of advertising mail, different legislative systems to regulate it, and other similar topics. Keeping it separate will make it much easier for this material to be brought into the article.--Trystan (talk) 06:03, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Point accepted. I withdraw my suggestion. Please dele my suggestion

Sanjiv swarup (talk) 08:19, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Direct mail, also known as junk mail, admail or bulk mail,[edit]

i am referring to


Direct mail, also known as junk mail, admail or bulk mail, is a form of marketing in which communications are sent to customers using the postal service. It forms the most common type of direct marketing.


IMHO the mention of also known as junk mail, admail or bulk mail, gives a disproportionate importance to this minority viewpoint. It may be mentioned in the disadvantage section if necessary.


From the top three results of a google search


USPS - Direct MailEffectively target your customers with a Direct Mail campaign. A Direct Mail piece will make a lasting impression with your existing customers, ... www.usps.com/directmail/welcome.htm -


Direct Mail Marketing - Mailing List - DirectMail.comCreate direct mail marketing campaigns for postcards, brochures, letterhead, flyers and more. Purchase direct mail mailing lists, full color printing, ... www.directmail.com/ -


Sanjiv swarup (talk) 01:50, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

The term junk mail is sufficiently well known to be included in every dictionary I have checked. I would venture a guess that it's a much more familiar term than direct mail for most people. The term admail is used by Postal Agencies such as Canada Post. The bulk mail article claims that the term is commonly used to refer to junk mail, but that claim isn't sourced.--Trystan (talk) 06:08, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Please help the discussion along by quoting from a couple of dictionaries. In the meantime, the Concise Encyclopedia Article for direct-mail marketing does not refer to junk mail, admail or bulk mail......

Method of merchandising in which the seller's offer is made through mass mailing of a circular or catalog or through a newspaper or magazine advertisement, and in which the buyer places an order by mail, telephone, or Internet. The rise of retail mail-order selling occurred in the late 19th century, when U.S. firms such as Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward built large businesses selling goods primarily to farmers. Its use has grown steadily since the introduction of computerized mailing lists after 1960; it is now employed by tens of thousands of firms, and it reaches virtually every consumer in the U.S. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanjiv swarup (talkcontribs) 08:17, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "junk mail" as "circulars, advertisements, etc., sent by post to a large number of addresses"; Merriam-Webster's as "third-class mail (as advertising circulars)".--Trystan (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


What you were originally referring to was the definition of direct mail. This reads as Merriam-Webster as printed matter (as circulars) prepared for soliciting business or contributions and mailed directly to individuals Sanjiv swarup (talk) 09:34, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that the definitions aren't equivalent; that they refer to different things? My understanding is that all the terms are used to refer to advertising materials received in the mail. "Direct mail" seems to be a marketing euphemism, "junk mail" a pejorative term used by recipients, and "Admail" the term of choice for Postal Services.--Trystan (talk) 17:47, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


"Direct mail" is not an appropriate term for this topic, as the term has not achieved such pervasive use in English that is has any special meaning beyond the sum of its words. Mail advertising, mail advertisement, mail advertisements, advertising through mail are clearly what is meant, but mail of this sort is absolutely no more "direct" than any other mail. In fact, it usually handled more cheaply and slowly and is much less direct than other mail.

It is inappropriate for an encyclopedic article to be titled with a euphemism favored by a biased party, and more so where that euphemism is, as in this case, inaccurate. I'm not sure what the title should be, but "Direct mail" is clearly inappropriate.

Perhaps Postal mail advertising or Advertising through postal mail? These are each so unwieldy, though. Perhaps simply Postal advertising? Other ideas? Stephan Leeds (talk) 11:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

As I mention below, I like Advertising mail. It's well supported in the sources, comparitively neutral, and its meaning is intuitive.--Trystan (talk) 15:15, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

suggest adding external link as below[edit]

http://www.dmoz.org/Business/Publishing_and_Printing/Printing/Products/Direct_Mail/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanjiv swarup (talkcontribs) 01:51, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


added : Sanjiv swarup (talk) 05:28, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Suggested section (no. 6 ) Advocates of direct mail[edit]

Can we please have some thoughts on what to put here —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanjiv swarup (talkcontribs) 08:20, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not clear how this section differs in concept from the list of advantages earlier in the article.--Trystan (talk) 17:26, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
You may have a point. In the same vein, are you having the same question for section = 4 Disadvantages of Direct Mail and section= 5 Opposition to direct mail Sanjiv swarup (talk) 05:32, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Not as the article is currently structured. As I said above, so long as the Advantages and Disadvantages section is written from the perspective of a marketer, it can't incorporate the material in the "Opposition" section.--Trystan (talk) 06:34, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Point noted . Let me bring some thoughts into this section from a non-marketer view-point Sanjiv swarup (talk) 16:27, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

sugested mentions are ..[edit]

  • SATISFACTION & ACCEPTANCE
    • 87% of consumers are either “very” or “quite” satisfied with the products they buy through Direct Mail
    • 56% of consumers said that value for money was the main benefit of buying through Direct Mail, whilst 63% said convenience—Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanjiv swarup (talkcontribs)


moved to main article Sanjiv swarup (talk) 06:18, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

suggested external link / junk mail[edit]

Please let us have your views Sanjiv swarup (talk) 09:35, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


suggest archiving Sanjiv swarup (talk) 16:50, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

I've added a tag noting that most of the article lacks citations to reliable sources that allow verification of the page's contents. Thoughts on where best to begin the process of improving the situation are very welcome.--Trystan (talk) 18:48, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Removing the terms "junk mail, ad mail, and bulk mail" from the article.[edit]

Direct Marketing in the US is a $200 billion industry. A lot of mail is unsolicited. The term "junk mail" is pejorative, a matter of opinion.

I will work on finding citations and sources. Thanks. --Jlazerus (talk) 19:00, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

In the above discussion, I've provided a link to Canada Post that demonstrates they use the term Admail to refer to advertising mail. According to the article, this is also the term used by the US Postal Service. I'm not clear on why you think we should remove it from the lead; it doesn't strike me as at all pejoraitve. Rather, I would tentatively support renaming the article to Advertising mail, since that strikes me as a much more clearly descriptive term than Direct mail, and is used by highly reliable sources.
The phrase junk mail is indeed pejorative, but that's not a reason to pretend it doesn't exist as a common descriptive term for advertising mail. (For confirmation of its widespread use, see the dictionary links above, or several of the external links currently in the article.) It isn't our job to decide whether terms in common usage are fair or not, only to report that they are in common usage. It is, as you say, a matter of opinion whether this topic is best charactised by the marketing industry euphemism "direct mail", the pejorative "junk mail", or the arguably more-descriptive "advertising mail." None of these terms is inherently more neutral than the others; they all convey implicit value judgements.--Trystan (talk) 20:03, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


Jlazerus: thanks for doing the research on why DM is a $200 billion industry, and what is the best definition Sanjiv swarup (talk) 06:40, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Junk mail redirects here (sort of), but there's no real mention of junk mail in the article i.e. cheap weekly unaddressed catalogues, some of the chief perpetrators being supermarkets, department stores and car parts sellers, rarely delivered via the postal system (mostly kids earning a bit of money). Opting out is done by putting a "No Junk Mail" sign on your mailbox. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.168.221.228 (talk) 05:34, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Just about everyone except postal services and admail marketers call all admail "junk mail". It atleast needs to be in paratheses next to the title, and certainly a search for junk mail needs to be redirected here, as that is what most people will type if they are looking for an article on it. 75.83.67.181 (talk) 21:29, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Google lists 15,000,000 hits for "junk mail", 740,000 hits for "admail" and "350,000 hits for "advertising mail." Perhaps "junk mail" is felt to be a pejorative by the direct mail industry, but that IS what the paying customers call it. DEddy (talk) 02:40, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Legislation[edit]

Legislation section added . This ia a cut paste from article = direct marketing Sanjiv swarup (talk) 06:33, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

DMA "Do Not Contact" list[edit]

I'm moving this addition to the talk page for discussion:

Many consumers are frustrated than more marketers don't use the DMA's MPS file. One problem is that the DMA currently charges mailers to gain access to this list. But perhaps the largest downside from a marketer's perspective is the way this list is put together. In essence, it's an "all or nothing" proposition. To better illustrate this, let's say that you are an avid craft enthusiast, who has placed your name on the MPS list because you hate all of the unsolicited mortgage refinance and credit card offers you receive in your mailbox. A cataloger selling craft supplies who uses the MPS file would suppress (or drop) your name from receiving their latest mail piece - something the marketer and the consumer doesn't want to happen! This is why many companies choose to not use this privacy tool; it reduces the universe of good, marketable names to them. The DMA is currently in the process of re-vamping this file to include categories that consumers can "opt-in" or "opt-out" of. It's unknown when this new file will be ready for use or when it will reach a level of critical mass that marketers who originally shied away from the original file will feel more inclined to use it.

Much of it is good information, but we will need a verifying source to cite before we can add it to the article. We also need to be careful to avoid blanket statements that speak for both customers ("Many customers are frustrated...") and companies ("The largest downside from a marketer's perspective...") without reliable and verifiable sources that these are well-documented trends.--Trystan (talk) 20:37, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Undue weight and Environmental Impact move[edit]

I've reverted the removal of the mention of 41pounds.org and the Center for a New American Dream. They are both notable enough to have their own articles and have direct relevance to the subject of this article, so it only makes sense that we would mention them (however briefly) here. How does a single sentence mentioning these organizations' existence give them undue weight?

I've also moved "Environmental Impact" back to where it was. It's not an aspect of "Direct Mail Marketing," nor is it necessary to characterize the section as restricted to "Opponents of Direct Mail Marketing" when it can be approached in a much more neutral fashion. I don't think the EPA is really an "opponent" of direct mail, they just study and attempt to mitigate the environmental impact. The UK DMA certainly isn't an "opponent."--Trystan (talk) 03:32, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Deforestation paragraph[edit]

Additionally the direct mail industry fuels deforestation. The US catalog industry alone sends out 19 billion catalogs each year to American consumers causing a significant demand for paper and trees. Deforestation is one of the largest causes of climate change and the Stern Report estimates that it contributes 20% of global carbon emissions.

I've moved the above paragraph out of the "Environmental impact" section, as I wasn't able to find a citation in support of its claims.--Trystan (talk) 15:21, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Edits to Direct Mail[edit]

I would like to propose the below edits to this article. Most of the edits are minor, however, the majority of the edits focus on adding information about Direct Mail Production and the Environmental Impact of Direct Mail. I would like to make these changes live by next Thursday, October 23rd. If anyone has any suggestions, pleas propose them here.

Add text after second paragraph with reference : With over 100 billion pieces of direct mail sent every year, mail supports $900 billion in economic activity and over nine million jobs.[3] While targeted mail often generates a response that benefits both the mail sender and mail recipient, untargeted mail (also known as junk mail) has had a less positive impact.

Reference: The Truth About Green.(DM News/Pitney Bowes Survey)

Add bullet points to "Design and Format"

  • Letter mail: Personalized letters, often with brochures or inserts, remain popular. Traditional #10 envelopes and 6” x 9” envelopes are most common.
  • TransPromotional Communication. Including promotional materials in transactional mailings such as bills, statements and invoices has become an increasingly popular way to generate response among current customers.

Add New Section After Business-to-Business Mailings (B2B)

Direct Mail Production

Many companies outsource the production of their direct mail to specialized companies, sometimes called service bureaus, mail houses or lettershops. As direct mail is measured on cost-per-response, these companies employ specialized equipment that makes it easier to produce personalized mailings in the most efficient way.

  • Inkjet and Laser Printers
  • Inserters
  • Tabbers
  • Folding Machines
  • Card Attaching Systems
  • Postage Meters
  • Sorters
  • Cutters
  • Feeders

In addition to hardware, specialized mail houses rely on software solutions including data quality software, postal presort solutions and new production intelligence applications that increase productivity, reliability and overall mailpiece integrity.

Add content to Environmental Impact

Add sentence to beginning of third paragraph with reference: In the United States, direct mail accounts for only about 2% of the total tonnage of the US municipal waste stream and almost 39% of direct mail in the US was recycled in 2006. [24]

Reference: The Environmental Impact of Mail – A Baseline

Add content after third paragraph:

Strategies to lessen the environmental impact of mail include:

  • Eliminate undeliverable mail. Tools including real-time address validation and closed-loop address management practices help ensure that more mail reaches its intended recipient.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Buying paper with high post-consumer recycled content and choosing lighter paper weights help reduce global warming and conserve resources.
  • Minimize unwanted mail. Advances in modeling and targeting have been significant, including the rapid growth in location intelligence, which allows you to gain insights into a person’s demographics, attitudes and behaviors based on their specific street address.
  • Consolidate mailings. When a company sends out three separate mailings to the same individual in the same week, that impacts the environment. There’s three times the trucking expense, three times the CO2 emissions, plus added paper as well. The strategy of “householding” – that is, combining multiple communications into a single envelope – saves money and resources.
  • Design more efficient operations. Opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions can be found throughout the life cycle of mail, from raw material sourcing, paper manufacturing and mail list preparation to mail piece design, print production, sorting, transportation and recycling. Today, some companies are switching to electric delivery trucks, printing materials closer to their end delivery point and incorporating solar power and energy reductions into building design.
  • Achieve more with your transaction mail. Transaction mail – bills, statements and notifications – represent an untapped resource when it comes to environmental stewardship. Adding promotional messages to transactional mail (also known as TransPromo) has proven to be a win-win for customers, businesses and the environment.
  • Go certifiably green. Third-party assessments can help you benchmark your current operations and assist you in setting a plan of action. Promoting your eco-friendly practices to customers and prospects can be a smart way to build good will and customer loyalty.

I hope these edits are helpful in expanding the article. Please provide feedback on the talk pages before implementation next week. Vlbastekzeta (talk) 16:13, 23 October 2008 (UTC) on behalf of Pitney Bowes

I would object to a couple of portions. The proposed third paragraph for the lead, beginning "With over 100 billion pieces of direct mail sent every year...", does not have a reliable, third-party source; the citation you have provided is to White Paper by a Direct Mail Marketer, and the content and tone are correspondingly quite favourable to their industry.
I won't address the changes to the "Direct Mail Marketing" section of the article, as I haven't done much research on the subject.
The sentence proposed for the Environmental Impact section also lacks a neutral, reliable source being cited to the same Direct Mail Marketer promotional material. You will notice that several claims about the environmental impact of advertising mail made by anti-junk mail organizations have been removed on similar grounds.
The lengthy list advising how marketers can reduce their environmental impact doesn't strike me as particularly encyclopedic; Wikipedia is not an instruction manual.--Trystan (talk) 18:20, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Trystan, thanks for the feedback. I would like for you to take a look at the proposed edits to take care of some of your objections. As always, your feedback on these items is appreciated.
I would like to rewrite the third paragraph for the lead as follows, citing the two sources mentioned: In the United States, the direct mail industry includes about 3,700 companies with combined annual revenue of over $11 billion (Reference:Hoovers). Direct mail remains, along with television, one of the most important marketing channels for corporations. (Reference: Marketresearch.com) While targeted mail often generates a response that benefits both the mail sender and mail recipient, untargeted mail (also known as junk mail) has had a less positive impact.
I would like to expand the sentence proposed for the Environmental section as follows: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, direct mail in the U.S accounts for only about 2% of the total tonnage of the US municipal waste stream and almost 39% of direct mail in the US was recycled in 2006.
Regarding the list, I understand your concerns but think the information is important to note and wonder what you think about rewriting it as follows, citing both the mentioned source as well as the DMA Green 15 Tool Kit (http://www.the-dma.org/Green15Toolkit/):
Today, companies are taking steps to lessen the environmental impact of mail in a variety of ways.
Strategies to lessen the environmental impact of mail include:
  • Eliminating undeliverable mail using tools such as real-time address validation and closed-loop address management practices.
  • Buying paper with high post-consumer recycled content and choosing lighter paper weights.
  • Minimizing unwanted mail through advanced modeling and targeting have been significant, including the rapid growth in location intelligence.
  • Consolidating mailings through a strategy known as “householding”, which combines multiple communications being sent to one household into a single envelope.
  • Designing more efficient operations by switching to electric delivery trucks, printing materials closer to their end delivery point and incorporating solar power and energy reductions into building design.
  • Adding promotional messages to transactional mail (also known as TransPromo) to combine direct mail and transaction mail in a single communication.
  • Benchmarking environmental impact through third-party assessments.
I'm looking forward to working with you on this! Vlbastekzeta (talk) 17:20, 24 October 2008 (UTC) on behalf of Pitney Bowes
It's really nice to see a serious attempt at improving this article. I have a couple of comments - I don't really agree with the third paragraph you propose for the lede in the lede. The sources used are particular to the US and the UK. The conclusions drawn from them should not be used in the lede where the implication (despite the reference to the US in the text you are proposing) is that it is similar everywhere. I think those individual claims would be best moved to more specific subsections and only more universal claims (or well referenced distinctions between different areas) made in the lede itself.
I also think the list of environmental strategies needs work - a list of things that have been suggested doesn't seem that encyclopedic to me (it's effectively just a sop to environmental concerns). But if there are references that show that certain activities have been undertaken with actual impact results on a significant scale - that could be encyclopedic. Or if some of these actions are being mandated by legislation in different places - that would also seem to be more encyclopedic. -- SiobhanHansa 18:52, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback SiobhanHansa. I would like to propose the following to meet your concerns and suggestions:
Add new section before Postal Services
Direct Mail and the Economy
Direct mail plays a significant role in the economy. In the United States, for example, the direct mail industry includes about 3,700 companies with combined annual revenue of over $11 billion (Cite Hoovers http://www.hoovers.com/direct-marketing-services/--ID__283--/free-ind-fr-profile-basic.xhtml). Direct mail remains, along with television, one of the most important marketing channels for corporations (Cite Market Research.com http://www.marketresearch.com/product/print/default.asp?g=1&productid=1770098)
Remove bulleted list and replace with paragraph below:
Today, companies are taking steps to lessen the environmental impact of mail in a variety of ways (Cite [The Truth About Green http://www.pb.com/bv70/en_us/extranet/contentfiles/editorials/downloads/ed_White_Papers_PitneyBowes_TruthAboutGreen_WhitePaper.pdf]) Some have reduced undeliverable mail using tools such as real-time address validation. Many are buying paper with high post-consumer recycled content or benchmarking environmental impact through third-party assessments. In October 2008, speakers at the World Environment Center roundtable on sustainability in the mailing industry noted that many companies in the mailing industry are integrating sound environmental practices, but the industry as a whole needs to get greener (Cite DM News http://www.dmnews.com/Mailers-moving-toward-environment-best-practices-WEC-roundtable/article/120254/).
Please let me know your thoughts on these proposed edits. I look forward to working further with you on this article. Vlbastekzeta (talk) 14:21, 7 November 2008 (UTC) on behalf of Pitney Bowes
Your sources are still entirely within the Direct Mail industry, rather than reliable, third party sources. Materials produced by Direct Mail Marketers regarding their own environmental practices tend to minimize the environmental impact, while organizations that offer anti-junk mail services are much harsher in their assessments. Only by excluding both types of partisan assessment can we hope to have an unbiased article with some degree of reliability.--Trystan (talk) 16:46, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposed move to "Advertising mail"[edit]

I'd like to propose moving this article to Advertising mail. This term is well-supported in the sources, being preferred by the US and Canadian postal services, and clearer in meaning than Direct mail. Direct mail is a marketing industry term, and the scope of the article is broader than that.--Trystan (talk) 17:53, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I've made the move, and updated the article and its incoming links to reflect it.--Trystan (talk) 17:48, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Advertising Mail[edit]

The term used in the Marketing/Advertising industry is "Direct mail" advertising, and this should be the title of the article. Zambelo; talk 23:57, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

I think Direct mail would be an appropriate title for an article focusing specifically on the marketing aspects; this article has a section called "Direct mail marketing" that does just that. But this article is broader in scope than the marketing perspective only.
I am highly skeptical that direct mail is widely used outside of the marketing industry; it's not sufficiently recognizable among the general public to qualify as a WP:COMMONNAME. For example, it doesn't show up much in the sources looking at the issue from an environmental or opt-out perspective, which tend to use junk mail and advertising mail. Given that division, it's definitely not used widely enough to meet the standard for adopting a WP:POVNAME.
All things considered, I think the best solution is to keep a neutral descriptive title (WP:NDESC). Advertising mail makes immediately clear to readers what the subject of the article is in a way that direct mail doesn't (how is advertising mail any more or less direct than any other piece of mail?), thereby better meeting the recognizability criteria of WP:COMMONNAME. It's also more neutral than either of the more common alternatives, junk mail and direct mail.--Trystan (talk) 01:09, 2 July 2014 (UTC)