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October 17, 2006


Christopher grove

What I find strange is that we call it junk mail, but the companies sending it out don't realise they're throwing money away...
Hey, if they just want to market, why not simply do it intelligently? I mean, I agree with your points, but any company sending out junk mail isn't marketing intelligently... The % of returns are small on this sort of marketing tactic, so why not take the time to think about a marketing campaign that will increase the ROI? We live in a world where marketers should increasingly target niches, this is mentioned time & time again, and yet...
I'd actually group junk mail in with most TV adverts. In France record companies will advertise albums saying things like "your favourite group". NO IT ISN'T. Sorry, you're wasting:
-Your time
-My time
-Your money.
Companies should think before they act.

BTW, very alternative good ideas you've got there Jon.

Jon Strande

Chris, yeah, the returns must be high enough that they continue to do it. I recall reading stuff about America Online, for years they sent out trial CDs and it turns out it was a good strategy, they ended up getting tons of subscribers that way. People must be replying to these offers or else they wouldn't keep doing them... at least you hope that they're measuring the effectiveness, right? ;-)

Thank you!


Christopher grove

yeah, but don't forget that for every AOL example you have loads that don't work out as well. As I recall from my lectures, in France companies consider that approx 1-2% returns for a mail shot is a good figure. Junk mail is nothing more than a less qualified mail shot.
So why did AOL work? We need to take into account the context (Internet was just traking off, AOL was one of the better known brands, etc...) plus the fact that they gave away a certain amount of time of free internet access with the CD. And once people were using an Internet Service Provider at that time, they often didn't change. Loads of people were willing to try something that was free, AOL was reputed to be one of the better ISPs at the time, so people stayed with it.


Chris, good point and at the end of the day companies can measure the return rate quite easily but what they can't measure is the frustration factor...



Blindingly brilliant! By the way, that letter to your boss? It's in the comments of my post.




Mike, you're too kind! Thank you! Don't forget to include a phone number when you type up that letter, my boss might call with questions!


You've made a lot of good points! I think that this form of junk mail will continue so long as credit card companies are not forced to feel the pain of those whose identities have been stolen. When a company like Capital One is forced to absorb the cost of someone racking up charges on a stolen card, those costs are just passed along to the other card members whose identities have not been stolen. So, identity theft hurts everyone, not just those whose identities have been compromised.

All of this will continue until people take their business only to companies that practice good security. Unfortunately, most of these companies don't disclose information information about their internal operations.

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