Marketing mail

Mailboxes stuffed with junkmail


Everyday, 6 days a week, 100's of millions of Americans perform a daily routine without much thought: A quick trip to the mailbox to pick up the mail, followed by a slow stroll back while inspecting it. Before even being back inside, most of us have sorted the mail into 2 piles: One with actual mail, and one with 'junkmail' as marketing-, or advertising mail is colloquially known. That pile consists of never ending credit card offers, the umpteenth catalog, flyers, coupons, brochures, non-profit solicitation and yes, the realtor with that huge white smile still wants to sell your house.

That second pile usually finds it's way right into the recycle bin, or worse, the trash.

[ For statistics on how much advertising mail is sent annually, check out the annual USPS Household Diary page. (hint: 63% of ALL mail is advertising mail) ]

Junkmail or Bulkmail

Junkmail or bulkmail as people refer to it, is actually named "marketing-" or "advertising mail". On this site we do not prefer to call it junkmail, and you will not find the word on any of our webpages besides this one. People consider it junk or course, because they judge it irrelevant, burdensome and wasteful.

But advertising mail is a valuable tool for many small-, and medium businesses to solicit products and services and find potential customers. A business owner with an idea, a designer with a vision, and a printer preparing these mailings were all involved in creating a piece of advertising mail. Some of these pieces are probably very welcomed to boot: "Look! a 30% discount for a McDonald's Happy Meal"!

But the majority of these mailings were never requested, non were solicited, and almost all were undesired and unwanted. As a result most of us have simply accepted advertising mail as a fact of life, like death and taxes.

It is our view and motivation, that despite the best of intentions, that in the end the mailbox holder should be able to control delivery of this kind of mail as he or she sees fit.

Two Kinds of Marketing Mail

The USPS is the sole distributor of advertising mail, and offers 2 main 'programs' for mailers who wish to reach out to customers.

The two main mailing offering the USPS features are:

  • USPS Marketing Mail © (here)
  • Every-Door-Direct-Mail © (here)

While a First Class Mail stamp costs 55 cents (2020 price), mailing via these 2 programs can cost as low as 19 cents per piece (here), and as low as 10 cents for non-profit mail. How is that even possible?

The difference between USPS Marketing Mail and Every-Door-Direct-Mail

USPS Marketing Mail differs from Every-Door-Direct-Mail ( or "EDDM)" in that it USPS Marketing Mail is usually more targeted. A mailer can select addresses by age group, income level and from an address pool and over a larger physical area. These mailers typically use mailing lists which are compiled, sold and traded/shared among mailers themselves. The mailer is required to sort this type of mail though, and organize it per ZIP code. This results in savings for the USPS for not having to do this work, which are then passed onto the mailer.

The idea behind EDDM is that a mailer can simply select a ZIP code anywhere in the US, and then within that ZIP code select 1 or more carrier routes. The USPS then delivers the advertisement mail piece at every mailbox (door) along those routes, hence the name.

Both USPS marketing mail and EDDM contribute heavily to the USPS bottom line.

If interested, read a bit more about USPS Marketing Mail and Every-Door-Direct-Mail on how these programs work specifically.