3 Questions to Ask Your Printer/Paper Supplier
In these tough economic times, every penny is important, so marketers must look for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the offer or message. A good way to do that, says Trish Mathe, director of database marketing for Life Line Screening, an Independence, Ohio-based preventative health screening provider, is to ask your paper suppliers and printers questions regarding pricing.
“It just seems like in this economy, things that you knew to be standard and things that you knew to be truths are all being challenged and all being questioned,” she says. “So questions that you wouldn’t think of asking your paper suppliers or your printers … now’s the right time to ask those questions.”
Here are three questions Mathe suggests asking:
1. Are paper prices coming down/what have you seen happening with paper prices? In her experience, Mathe says, this question typically leads to suppliers finding ways to make paper cheaper. Sometimes, that means the price of paper is, in fact, going down, providing you with savings. Other times, this involves your supplier offering lower-cost grades or different paper stocks that could save your company money.
2. Is now a good time to think about a couple of process enhancements that might save time and therefore the cost that’s passed along?
- Make sure set or contract pricing that was put in place some time ago still makes sense, Mathe says. Are there minimum file charges in place that no longer make sense? You may be better off paying a per-record fee if you are mailing less than before.
- Is it possible to print some components ahead of time to get CPM efficiencies?
- Consider alternate postal processes, i.e., First Class vs. presort First Class vs. Standard.
- Test different frequencies: mailing once a month instead of three times a month.
- Examine lettershop charges. Printers are finding better ways to accomplish lettershop process. Are the savings passed along?
3. Are there things that have changed that would cause printers to be able to pass along some savings around personalization or color, etc.? Consider the expensive components of your control packages, Mathe suggests. Can you get the same results with less color? Can you minimize the sides of personalization? Can you downsize inserts or brochures? The same brochure in a smaller size may get you the same response at a lower cost. Printers invest in these new technologies that offer improved results and sometimes costs, Mathe stresses. They should eagerly bring these to your attention.