Avoid Production Pitfalls
Good planning can help circumvent cost missteps with your catalog mailing.
By Kathy Johnston
Launching a direct marketing campaign is not so different from hosting a dinner party. You select the place (vendors), time (schedule), guests (mail list) and menu (printed pieces). And, like other events, direct marketing campaigns are fraught with the potential for hiccups and disasters.
The manufacturing process begins when your project moves from concept to reality. Like the dinner party, everything prior is conceptual—the design, mail plan, even the merchandise. Once you begin putting ink on paper, however, it becomes real. Any error becomes a costly mistake instead of a minor revision.
To smoothly navigate the production process, perform periodic "reality checks"—points at which concepts are compared against manufacturing limitations. Here are some potential pitfalls and workflow solutions.
It Can't be Manufactured as it was Designed
It's frustrating to design the perfect package only to find you can't manufacture it, or at least not for less money than a space shuttle launch. Problems can crop up in design, size, location of perforations and folds, and ink-jet areas. Special printing treatments may require additional set-up or passes through the press.
Reality Check: Involve your production team—including all vendors—at the conceptual stage of the project. Have them review the concept from a manufacturing perspective and ask them to offer alternatives if the original concept won't work.
The Price Increased
Last-minute changes to the estimated manufacturing prices can occur if the price was dependent on a special order of materials or based on a standard schedule instead of the rush schedule you need.
Reality Check: Place your order as early as possible with your printer. Determine when it will need to place the materials order, and agree to confirm the quantity and specifics before the actual purchases are made. Also, agree to the schedule when you place your order. This allows the printer more planning time and gets you the best prices.