[responsive][/responsive]A New Jersey legislator is sponsoring a bill that could potentially cost the state “tens of thousands of jobs, and hurt the economy in a huge ripple effect,” according to Seth Augenstein on NJ.com.
The bill would establish a statewide “Do Not Mail” list that would bar companies from sending unsolicited mail to anyone who signs up. The cost of administering and enforcing the list would fall on New Jersey’s Division of Community Affairs, and violators could be slapped with hefty fines, up to $10,000.
Two things make this bill a really bad idea.
First, consumers already have the ability to opt out of unsolicited mail through the Direct Mail Association’s Mail Preference Service. In other words, a costly new bureaucratic program would be largely redundant.
Secondly, the economic impacts could be massive, according to Melissa Jones of the Graphics Arts Association, who says “The effects of this are mind-boggling. It will have a huge trickle-down.”
The impact of a significantly lessened mail stream would be felt not just by the companies that mail, but by the supporting printing and design industries and the USPS, which is already struggling with falling revenues, the bulk of which comes from direct mail.
“Half of what’s printed in the country ends up in the mailstream,” said Tim Freeman of the Printing Industries Alliance. “We’re all witnessing what’s going on with the post office – this would have an even-bigger effect.”
“This is a tough-enough industry for the printers in New Jersey,” said Hallie Satz of Highroad Press in New Jersey. “Why would anyone want to add to this for no reason apparent reason. I am not sure how this law would help anyone.”
We wonder if the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May) even realizes how much of a non-problem receiving mail really is. Research has shown us that consumers prefer receiving marketing messages via direct mail over Internet or email messages. And unlike phone calls, mail is non-interruptive. It simply sits there quietly until you choose to look at it. And if consumers truly don’t want to receive certain types of mail, they already have a perfectly good way to handle that.
Direct mail remains a highly effective marketing channel for companies, and we can’t imagine this bill getting much, if any, business support. The legislation is redundant and economically dangerous, and we are happy to see the industry banding together to stop this boondoggle before it sees the light of day.