Unfold the Mystery of Envelopes
Envelopes are preferred stock in a technology-driven world.
Our futuristic, paperless society really likes paper. While we have all benefited from technology, people haven't begun getting rid of their mailboxes, so envelopes are a long way from being obsolete," said Steve Brocker, vice president of sales and marketing at Western States Envelope and Label, Butler, Wis.
Brocker said that a recent report published by the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), Alexandria, Va., indicates that envelope consumption was down 2.4 percent in units in 2002 due to a declining economy and the aftermath of events following Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent Anthrax scare.
The report also showed that in 2003, units were up 3.1 percent. "This was attributed to an improving economy and the realization by marketers that direct mail is the most effective way to communicate with a targeted audience," Brocker explained.
With the upsurge in conveniences such as e-mail, the Internet and automated services, the envelope industry has undoubtedly suffered some losses. Said Brocker, "Technology in the form of the Internet, e-mail and electronic bill payment had minimal effects on the envelope industry. Electronic bill payment has negatively affected transactional mail by a small percentage in units, and e-mail has had a negligible effect on envelope units, replacing some first-class mail."
Despite these showings, Brocker pointed out that a recent survey conducted for the cable TV industry found that 70 percent of adults prefer to receive advertising by mail, as opposed to 5 percent choosing e-mail and 1 percent preferring telephone.
Ron Pollock, associate marketing development manager at Wisco Envelope, Tullahoma, Tenn., said that new telemarketing restrictions established by the National Do Not Call Registry could positively affect the future of direct mail.
You've Got Mail
New technology inevitably breeds change. Brocker said that the envelope industry is evolving from being product focused to service oriented. "Western States' lead times have shortened, and a storage and fulfillment system has been added to complement our manufacturing capability," he said.