It’s not really going to be a good DM idea of course. I can’t stand the stuff. Instead it’s really an anti-junk mail idea. And it is also – entirely coincidentally – an idea that might help solve some of the problems of The Royal Mail, all those sweet little rural post office and red post boxes etc. So, two birds with one stone.
The idea is simple and I think The Economist would be proud as it’s based on putting a price on things we don’t like.
The idea is that any corporately sent mail (not just what companies themselves deem to be marketing), would have to include a return address and code for that company (issued by RM).
Now, If a customer currently recieves a piece of mail currently for someone not living at that address (a ‘gone away’ in DM parlance), they simply write ‘no longer at this address’ on the envelope and stick it back into a post box.
My suggestion is that we introduce a new convention. On recieving anything we believe to be ‘junk mail’, customers are encourage to mark it with the word ‘spam’ and pop it in the post box.
Royal Mail would then return it to the sender, at the sender’s expense. The sender might also be under some form of legal obligation to act on the feedback, but ultimately, this wouldn’t really matter, as it would become uneconomical for companies to send bulk mail without considering the cost of returns. Plus it’s a bit more cash in the pocket of Royal Mail.
Imagine how satisfying it would be to know that 5 minutes with a pen and walk to the post box and you could be charging companies for misusing your data and trust. We could even give the money to charity, making the whole venture a bit of a feel-good exercise.
It’s good for the customer, good for the environment and, actually, good for the DM people who would be forced to raise their game. Who’s in? And could we do something similar for junk emails?