Responding to anthrax scare, DMA issues guidelines

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New York--In response to the spate of anthrax scares and infections, the Direct Marketing Association has issued a list of guidelines to promote security in the direct mail business. The organization consulted with officials at the U.S. Postal Service, as well as bioterrorism experts, in developing the list. The DMA said the USPS has confirmed that the federal postal service was used to deliver anthrax bacteria in only two instances, and that infected pieces were sent by individuals.The DMA recommendations to marketers are:

--Don't use plain envelopes, as printed envelopes, especially colored ones, appear less hand-prepared.

--Use an identifiable return address and consider including a company logo.

--Consider printing your company's toll-free number or URL on envelope.

--Consider using an e-mail or telemarketing campaign to let people know a mail drop is coming.

--Consider delaying b-to-b mailings because of potential logjams in company mailrooms.

--Use the DMA member logo to demonstrate your company's credibility.

--Contact your letter shop and other production services to stress the importance of security.

--Consider performing a security audit throughout your operation.

--Consider that personalization is temporarily less likely to increase response rates.

--If you are involved in production services, know who your customers are.

--Reinforce your existing internal guidelines about forwarding press and consumer calls to appropriate internal channels.

--Educate mailroom employees about identifying and dealing with personal threats.

--Use the DMA as a resource.

--Philip B. Clark

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