I recently outsourced a mailing to 40,000 non-members in a few zip codes around our Wallingford branch. The company I used took care of everything but the design. They printed the piece, put together a database and mailed it out.

Days after the postcard dropped, the call center started receiving phone calls from people who wanted to be taken off our mailing list. Since they weren’t members, and the list had been provided by a third party, I couldn’t really do anything but refer them to this site.

It was frustrating to get negative feedback about my mailing. I had sent it out in an effort to drive traffic to our new branch (by offering an incredible rate on a certificate!), but instead of hearing anything positive, I was mostly getting complaints. One person asked me why I was sending unsolicited mail to non-members in the first place. From my point of view, I’m trying to reach people in the community who have never heard of us and who may benefit from a relationship with Verity. But, others see it differently. To them, I am being intrusive, or pushy. This is a challenge of being a marketer.

I totally understand feeling overwhelmed by the amount of advertising I see every day, but I have been reluctant to put my name on any “do not mail” list. Maybe I’m afraid of missing those 2-for-1 Ben & Jerry’s coupons I get each month.

To make myself feel a little better about killing trees and sending mail to those who don’t want it, I’ve found a few resources to help you get your name off mailing lists:

  1. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
  2. A free guide to reducing unwanted advertising.
  3. Good info from an ID Theft prevention website.

If you are a member and don’t want to receive mailings from us, just call us and we’ll take care of it for you.


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5 Responses

  1. Cammie Morrow says:

    Dear Terrell-

    I love your blog for starters and as a marketer-I am in the same boat and completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m not a huge fan of direct mails-but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

    We too, are trying to reach a new audience by our new branch and gain some momentum in that area. I did the postcard and special certificate offer when we opened in March. But next, I’m doing an educational funky fresh piece about cu’s so they know they can join, I think there still is some stigma out there that they feel they have to belong to a certain company to join in our area.

    I do expect to hear some negative feedback on this as well-as far as some non-members receiving it, but I must admit, if you don’t know about us, how else can you learn? At least it gets our names in their homes and in their hands, whether they choose to read it is another story. but what’s a marketer to do?

    I’d like to think that people will take a second look-and wish you nothing but good luck in your future mailing endeavors.

    Just my thoughts!

  2. Christopher says:

    I agree with you Terrell – I love coupons and use them all the time. But I hate getting fat catalogs from companies I would never buy from. Here’s how to get off the mother of all junk mailing lists – the Direct Marketing Association:


    It costs a dollar, but worth it in terms of the environmental impact. For example:

    Some facts about junk mail: – 100 million trees are ground up each year for unsolicited mail. – It wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year. – More than half of unsolicited mail is discarded unread or unopened; the response rate is less than 2%. – The result is more than 4 million tons of paper waste each year. – It is difficult to recycle, as the inks have high concentrations of heavy metals. – $320 million of local taxes are used to dispose of unsolicited mail each year. – It costs $550 million yearly to transport junk mail. – We each get about 40 pounds of junk mail a year, more than a tree’s worth per family!

  3. Terrell says:

    Thanks for the support, Cammie. I think we’d both agree that even though we constantly hear about how no one reads their mail, some people still do. Having our logo in their mailbox also adds to brand awareness down the line, even if they don’t read the piece.

    Hi Christopher, thanks for stopping by. I too read those stats from the DMA’s website and feel guilty to be making any negative impact on the environment. Fortunately we do very few mailings to non-members each year.

  4. Christopher says:

    Thanks Terrell. I tell people now that you can spend less money and get more ROI by targeted advertising on Google anyway.

  5. Credit Union Warrior says:


    I share your frustration. We work in a great industry, and want to tell everyone with an auditory nerve about our particular credit union. In a world of DVR, satellite radio, CDs, and national “Do not call” registries, it has become increasingly difficult to communicate with the general public. Outdoor media (mall posters, billboards, etc.) and direct mail seem to be the only two traditional marketing mediums that actually reach people.

    In a perfect world the public would find us, rather than us having to find them. The reality is, though, that until 100% of the people know the money-saving power of a credit union and your cooperative’s place within the movement we must continue to find ways to spread the word. Credit unions can make a real difference in a family’s life – don’t feel guilty about giving people the opportunity to improve themselves.

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