Are Thank You Notes Really Necessary?
As a marketer by trade, I’ve always known that to be successful, you need to create an emotional connection with your customers. A simple but effective way of doing this, especially if working in e-commerce, is by popping a hand-written, personalised thank you note in with your products when shipping them to the customer.
Is this really necessary or is it literally just a waste?
My career path has taken me from working at an anti-bullying not-for-profit to promoting the benefits of playing sport so I’ve never really been involved in selling actual physical products to customers. Now I’ve entered the eco-friendly space, a passion of mine, I’ve noticed many other eco-friendly companies are sending these ‘thank you’ notes with reckless abandon. Surely in this sector the aim of the game is to provide quality, long-lasting products and cutting waste ANYWHERE you can - including the, admittedly aesthetically pleasing, thank you notes.
Am I being too extreme? Possibly. After all, for the last several years I’ve insisted on a strict ‘no birthday cards’ policy with my family as I’m perfectly aware that after the initial chuckle at the generic joke on the inside, the cards are going to end up in a drawer, only seeing the light of day when more cards are piled on top next year.
So what’s the issue?
Essentially, the way thank you notes are created is by deforestation. Many of us have a cosy thought-process when it comes to paper - assuming that everything is grown sustainably - but that’s a myth. It’s estimated that 90% of Canada’s paper output (the UK’s biggest source of pulp by the way) comes directly from ancient forests.
I’m fully aware that paper is widely recyclable but if we are going to use it, we should at least use it where it has a practical purpose. Using paper in the place of plastic? Absolutely. Using paper where its sole purpose is to say ‘thank you’? It’s time for a rethink.
It’s a topic which is very rarely discussed because we’re blinded by our emotions. It’s for this reason that finding statistics for the number of thank you notes distributed in the UK and how many are actually recycled is so difficult to find. The Independent suggest that whilst 42 percent of all paper in the UK comes from recycled sources, we’re only likely to reprocess the paper once despite the fact that it can be reprocessed up to 10 times. What does this mean for you? Whilst you may be responsible and recycle your ‘thank you’ note, you need to rely on 9 others to subsequently do the same. Any break in the chain means more deforestation.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on this - would you prefer to receive a thank you note despite the ramifications or does a simple email do the trick for you?
Let us know your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org