3 Keys to Saving Money on Your Direct Marketing Communications
What if you could save 30 percent to 40 percent of your total marketing spend and still maintain, or even improve, your current results? It is possible, if you're willing to put some time and thought into optimizing your marketing communications.
Optimizing means analyzing the purpose of your communications against your business goals and targets and determining how well they meet those objectives in relation to what they cost. When calculating costs, you should take into account not only direct production charges—such as copy development, design, photography, paper and printing—but also indirect costs such as storage, insurance, distribution, destruction of obsolete materials, and staff time spent managing your inventory. If your response rates and ROI for a particular piece don't justify its expense, you can take steps to make it more effective, produce it more cost-efficiently or, ideally, both.
Sounds good, you're thinking—but how?
First Key: Make It Relevant
The key to making your communications more effective is making them more relevant by addressing your recipients' needs, desires, fears and pain points. Studies have shown that enhancing relevance through customization and personalization increases response rates, generates larger orders and boosts repeat sales.
But what about cost?
Adding personalization and customizing copy and graphics used to be costly when offset printing was the only game in town. However, today's digital technology makes even four-color printing more cost-effective for short runs. Printing smaller quantities also reduces inventory and associated expenses. Finally, because digital print takes only hours, not days, to produce, you can get to market faster.
Second Key: Streamline Your Inventory
One way to ease into communication optimization is to look at your inventory with the primary intention of reducing costs—something print-on-demand achieves by streamlining production. Pieces that are generally suitable targets include:
- Generic documents with annual usage of less than 5,000 pieces
- More complex documents with annual usage of less than 1,000 pieces
- New pieces for which no shelf life or usage history has been established
- Items that change frequently
- Materials about to enter back-order status
Third Key: Evaluate for Effectiveness
Once you've maximized cost savings available through streamlining, you're ready to take a more comprehensive approach, optimizing your materials for both efficiency and effectiveness. Say you have a generic sales package. Should you continue sending the same content to all of your prospects, or change some content for different recipients? Would customizing some of the pieces or adding personalization be cost-effective? Consider factors such as: