Spam or Ham? Assessing the Value of Direct Mail
While letter volumes are declining overall (primarily driven by e-substitution), direct mail tells a slightly different story. The provision of direct mail is instead threatened by policy initiatives, notably: opt-out schemes, opt-in schemes, tax on direct mail, and data protection regulation. Regardless of which policy initiative we consider, its introduction has been primarily motivated by the cost of direct mail to society in terms of a negative environmental impact or unwanted nuisance to consumers. The positive value of direct mail to society has often been neglected. This paper makes a first attempt to analyze the socioeconomic value that direct mail bring to consumers and businesses. The results indicate that direct mail is likely to have a positive real value to businesses and consumers that should not be ignored when assessing and evaluating initiatives that will reduce direct mail volumes.
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