, , , ,

I am sure you can relate to the angry grad who wrote a letter to his university after they had sent him so glossy brochures (take a read here). Reading his post reminded me that I had wanted to write about a piece of mail I got from York University. Here is the back story:

One of the many packages from York that I have received over the years.

One of the many packages from York that I have received over the years.

I think back in 2002 I took a continuing education course at York University, a course on EQ so that I could be a better leader, better teammate. It was a great course. After it concluded I was entered in to the database and started to receive mail from York University. Great. I read a few course catalogues but wasn’t in the market for another course and actually haven’t been for over a decade – at least a course from York but these big packages keep coming! And sometimes 2 a week or even in the same day.

They immediately go in to the recycling bin, unopened.

Lets do some math. I am going to assume that a package like this is costing $4.00 including postage. If I get one a month that is $48.00 and over 12 years that is $576 for a former student who has done nothing in 12 years! Now let’s say there are a 100 just like me.

That is now a whopping $57,600!

So what could they do about this situation?

  1. Start segmenting! Look at recency and frequency and draw a line in the sand on how long is too long. I can tell you that over a decade is too long!
  2. Convert people to email. It is far less expensive (yes, I know there is a cost to create the email and there are servers to run but it really is cheaper to send me an email than a package) to send and it can link to all the same information that you think I need.
  3. Pick up the phone. If you haven’t heard from me in 10 years maybe it is time to check and see if I am still in the country, still in the same field and interested in what you are sending. For much less than $576 you can find someone to reach out to me and say “Hey, we’ve been sending you are packages and notice you haven’t signed up for any courses. Are you still interested in our continuing education? Can we put you on our email list instead?”
  4. Keep your data clean. There are many tools available with Canada Post and other providers that can check the accuracy of your address file.

Do you know any companies or institutions throwing away money with their direct mail?