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Monday, August 27, 2007


I am not really sure where the term, “junk mail” originated, but I do know it was being used when I entered the industry over 35 years ago, and regularly gained momentum over the years. Today when people talk about junk mail, they are mostly referring to spam on the Internet. But the birth of the term was in reference to the fact that junk mailers had to send out 100 pieces of mail to get an average of one to two responses. They still do, and during my tenure as a list/data broker and database consultant, almost every company I worked with was satisfied with this result. The reason is that those 98 or 99 catalogs that go into the city dump, unused, are built into the profit formula used by the junk mailer. To hell with the environment when billions of unread catalogs go in the trash annually, each probably at least 32 pages or larger. The industry tried recyclable paper but that fizzled out because it was time consuming and costly. Predictive modeling—a method of targeting customers who want what you’re selling—evolved some 25 years ago, but the old hard-head, off of the kitchen table entrepreneurs decided they could do it better. I asked one potential client in the late 1970’s how he bought his mailing lists. His answer was, “with my gut feel.” And that would preclude any recommendation I would make to him, based on years of experience. The landscape has changed—junk mailers are able to target better because there are 50,000 lists on the market today with several selection techniques in each to choose from—but the term “junk mail” is still in full force with basically the same definition criteria as 35 years ago.

1 comment:

Pak America Media said...

You have given a good answer to Junk mail's question.

I appreciate!

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