Qwest’s Direct Mail vs Yellow Pages Opt-Out Systems

While Qwest Dex is fairly incompetent when it comes to maintaining (or, more likely, honoring) an opt-out list, it looks like their direct mail marketing team understands that it does no good to deliver marketing materials to people who are not interested in receiving them. For example, here is the response I received after contacting Qwest through their website to ask to be removed from their direct mail campaigns:

Dear Ed,

Thank you for your recent e-mail inquiry to Qwest in regards to removing
your address from our mailing list. I apologize for the delay in
responding to your e-mail.

I have removed your address from our mailing list. Please allow 2-4
weeks for mailings to stop.

If you have further questions or concerns, please call the Qwest
Customer Service Center at 1-800-491-0118 or click the chat button on
the following page. When an agent is available the help icon will
appear in the top right corner: http://www.qwest.com/corporate/customerService/contactus/

Qwest Chat is available to assist you during the following hours:
Mon – Fri: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM Central Standard Time
Saturday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Sunday 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM Central Standard Time

Qwest appreciates your business and values you as a customer. Our goal
is to provide you with excellent service. If you need further
assistance, please visit us online at http://www.qwest.com/customerService
for a variety of customer service options.


[Name Removed]
Qwest Customer Care
Consumer Markets

Time will tell whether they do truly honor it, but based on my experience with other direct mail marketing companies, I’m confident that they will. Why? Because direct mail companies live and die based on the performance of their lists. And their lists perform better if they are targeted at true prospects. Clearly, someone who isn’t interested in receiving direct mail pieces either isn’t going to be swayed by materials they’re not interested in receiving, so the marketers can decrease their costs while increasing their conversion rates by removing people like me.

Compare that to the Yellow Pages model. Yellow Pages feel much less pain when they over-deliver their directories since they’re not directly benefiting from the sales that do or don’t happen from each book. Sure, their printing and delivery costs would be lower if they delivered to only those who planned to use the books. But they seem to be more concerned with creating the illusion that the books are nearly universally used so they can use that illusion in their sales pitches. Forget the fact that many people have moved beyond annual books for business information. Forget the fact that Qwest is one of three books delivered annually in cities like Minneapolis, so there is probably only a 1/3 chance that people will use that brand of book if they choose to use any yellow pages book at all. Just keep the illusion going a little bit longer.

That makes the yellow pages more similar to a media model like newspapers, where newspapers have tried to game their circulation rates to create a similar illusion over time. If I step on the newspapers placed outside my hotel room door, and my luggage rolls over it, am I counted as one reader or two for circulation numbers?

So, keep that in ind before you throw away a junk mail piece for the 100th time. Take a minute to send the company an email asking to be removed from their list. It really does work.

4 thoughts on “Qwest’s Direct Mail vs Yellow Pages Opt-Out Systems”

  1. They’re baaaccckkk
    It has been a few years since I’ve gotten steamed about the waste of a phone book. I caught Yellowpages as they were trying to leave a phone book on my door and told the young guys I have in my pocket a device that has all the phone numbers, maps and contact marketing information that could ever fit in a phone book. Phone books are MARKETING. And a WASTE. Say it loud! A din-a-sore. A Yellow book has been occupying some real estate on my front step for the better part of a month now. I call in once a week to tell Yellowbook it’s not picked up yet. I have learned not to swear or get mad. Just the facts. You marketing material is still on my doorstep and you need to remove it.
    They tell me I need to be on their OPT OUT list. Well for at least three years I have called in and given them my info to put me on the list. But I find out the delivery people get paid by how many books they get rid of. So why would they NOT put a book on my doorstep? And I’m sure they do not get penalized when I call in to have them taken off my step.
    For the people that defend YELLOWBOOK, you should pull yourself into the modern world. Have you seen a printing press and all the waste? Have you smelled the inks and seen all the trucks lined up to haul them? It’s a gross misuse of resources. Even if they are recycled. It takes a lot of energy.
    I don’t know anyone in my business circle or group of friends that has used them in 5 to 10 years. Knock it off.

  2. @Kerry, well said. There seems to be little interest from the YP industry to actually treat people with respect by honoring opt-out lists.

  3. To opt-out of Qwest direct mail lists, see http://www.qwest.com/privacy/#marketing_choices , which states:

    Direct mail. If you want to stop direct mail marketing, including the receipt of catalogs, from companies other than Qwest, you should contact them directly or go to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website at https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/home.action for more information.

    If you do not want to receive our direct mail marketing, you must expressly tell us by clicking here or contacting us at the telephone number above. We will stop sending you direct mail marketing for two years from the date of your request.

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