What does Junk mail mean in marketing terminology?

Junk mail

Junk mail, otherwise known as unsolicited mail, is a term used to refer to unwanted promotional materials received through the postal system or email. It is called ‘junk mail’ because it typically contains advertising flyers, brochures, sample products, promotional letters and other offers that are sent out in bulk to a variety of addresses - and many people see it as being less valuable or beneficial than other mail deliveries.

When it comes to sending out bulk mail, there are a variety of steps that businesses, organisations and individuals can take to ensure that their promotional materials are delivered efficiently and accurately to their intended recipients, and that their chance of being marked as ‘junk mail’ is minimised.

The UK Royal Mail requires that all junk mail advertise goods or services that comply with all relevant regulations, business codes of practice and legal mail best practices. In addition to being in keeping within the law and accepted good practice, the criteria set out by the Royal Mail’s Best Practice Code states that:

• The promotional material must be clearly and concisely worded in plain language, with no gimmicks and no sensational ad-copy.

• The promotional material must clearly and accurately display the identity of the sender, including their name, address and contact information.

• The promotional material should be addressed to an identifiable recipient, and not to a general audience (example ‘Dear Occupier’).

• Care should be taken to comply with all relevant legislation, including data protection and consumer protection

• Care should be taken to check the accuracy of the addresses included on the mailing list. It is recommended to check the list at least 28 days before sending out the mail.

Become a Sales & Marketing Rainmaker

Learn valuable skills to win more customers, grow your business, and increase your profits.
The Rainmakers Club

• The promotional material should not include any false or misleading claims or use the false endorsement of someone other than the sender.

• The promotional material should not cause distress, be threatening or attempt to embarrass the recipient.

• The promotional material should only be sent to those who have expressed their consent for receiving the mail.

• Care should be taken to ensure that the contents of the promotional material are suitable for receipt by children.

It is also important that the sender takes care to ensure that the materials themselves do not appear to be junk mail. The Royal Mail suggests that options such as not folding the mail, using coloured paper and printing identifying phrases or company logos help ensure that the material looks more like genuine letter post. Additionally, using a pre-printed return address or adding a return envelope can help to eliminate doubt as to who the sender is.

Many businesses and organisations choose to use a reputable junk mail service to save time and money. A junk mail service sends out the promotional flyers, brochures and other materials on the customers’ behalf, and ensures on time delivery, with no fuss. Additionally, the service complied with all the criteria necessary to avoid being categorised as junk mail. As a result, items sent in bulk through a junk mail service are far less likely to be unwillingly discarded by the recipient.

It is important to be aware that some companies allow people to opt-out of receiving junk mail. This means that individuals have the right to choose if they wish to receive unsolicited mail, and can usually do this by contacting their local post office or by registering themselves on the Mailing Preference Service. By doing this, they can ask that their address not to be included on any future marketing lists – preventing themselves from receiving any more unsolicited mail.

Junk mail remains a popular and effective way of reaching potential customers and clients, but a careful approach must be taken to ensure that it is won’t be marked as ‘junk mail’. Adhering to the guidelines set out by the Royal Mail, using the services of a reputable junk mail company and being sensitive to the needs and wishes of individual potential customers is the best way to ensure that the mail reaches its intended recipient and isn’t viewed as undesirable material.