An Interview With the Director of Marketing of Zumbox, the New Promise for Paperless Mail

This post was originally published on Eco-Libris blog on October14.

If you didn’t hear yet about Zumbox, you need to recheck your news resources.

In the last couple of weeks you hear about them everywhere – from an announcement on two new clients: the cities of San Francisco and Newark (NJ) that will start using their web-based mail delivery system to an announcement on a partnership with New York City for Five Borough Pilot Program.

So what is exactly Zumbox? according to their website “Zumbox delivers paperless mail online – from street address to street address. What used to only be sent as paper mail can now be sent without the paper. How? We’ve created a nationwide paperless postal system with a Zumbox for every street address in the United States, including yours.”

Well, it sounds very promising, but paperless mail is just like the paperless office – something we believed for many years to be just around the corner but somehow it never happened. Their success to partner with cities like New York and San Francisco showed skeptics that these guys shouldn’t be ignored, but will Zumbox succeed in making an impossible mission possible? Will they revolutionize the mail system?

I decided that I need to learn more about Zumbox (still, we’re talking about saving paper and trees here..) and asked their Director of Marketing, Joergen Aaboe, to answer couple of questions on our blog and tell us all about the new promise of paperless mail.

Hello Joergen. Firstly, where does the name Zumbox come from?
As far as I know, Zumbox is actually just a made-up name. Having said that, there has been a lot of speculation on this topic. Some ask if β€œzum” refers to the German preposition, while others wonder if it’s some sort of play on the word zoom. Sadly, we may never know the real meaning or origin of the name.

What is the main added value of Zumbox for businesses and organizations in comparison with the traditional option of sending emails instead of mail?
What we have learned from several of the organizations we have been talking to is that they are truly struggling to get the email addresses of their customers and supporters. In fact, many businesses have email addresses for less than 10 percent of their customers. But these companies already have the street addresses of their customers on file, which means they can start sending paperless mail via Zumbox immediately, as we have created a Zumbox (a digital mailbox) for every street address in the U.S.

Another key value is that Zumbox is a closed system with bank-level security that allows businesses to send sensitive mail like bills directly to their customers. As we all know, with email we simply get a message that lets us know we can view a bill at another website where we have to log in with a separate username and password, but Zumbox offers the security required for all sorts of transactional mail and other sensitive information to be delivered directly to a recipient’s Zumbox.

What will be the incentives for people to adopt Zumbox?
We’ll see the value of Zumbox to people evolve over time as more organizations start sending mail and as we develop the product further, but the most immediate value we offer is the opportunity to join this paperless movement. Through our campaign – Paperless Please (www.paperlessplease.org) – people can, among other things, request paperless mail delivery from several of the largest mail senders in the U.S. It’s a way for everyone – people, businesses, non-profit organizations and government – to get involved in the conversation about paperless mail and our corresponding preferences.

Control, and the ability to manage a transition from paper to paperless mail, is a key part of the value Zumbox offers both businesses and individuals who want to make that transition. And now that paperless mail is being delivered, people who claim their Zumbox will start experiencing the convenience of accessing their mail from anywhere and anytime, practically speaking.

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