Print and Production: Controlling Print Costs
It's true postage is usually the single-most expensive part of any direct mail campaign. But if you're not careful, printing costs can consume a large portion of your budget, as well. Here are eight tips you can implement tomorrow to keep your print production costs on a healthy diet.
1. Optimize Formats With Your Printer
Engage your suppliers to optimize your print formats. Format optimization will reduce cost by increasing throughput and "runability." Once you have identified a format for your mailing, ask your supplier to optimize the specifications for the equipment they will be using to produce the job.
This applies whether you plan to produce an envelope package or a self-mailer. It also applies whether you're using a conventional print platform or digital equipment to produce the mailing.
Be sure to share your design concept with your supplier as early as possible. For example, if the supplier knows the piece is being designed as a full bleed, it may impact equipment options and paper specifications. The earlier this is communicated, the earlier a menu of other considerations can be mapped out.
2. Align Your Partners
Make sure your agency (or internal creatives) and printer are working from the same playbook. If you work with an agency, be sure they are working with templates and specifications from your printer(s) to ensure you're not paying an unnecessary premium to accommodate a slow-running format or substrate.
It's never a happy surprise when artwork arrives and it doesn't match the specifications for the job. Cost savings rarely result when this happens—especially when you're facing a deadline, and the schedule doesn't allow time to start over and meet the delivery date.
3. 4-Color Flexo Envelopes
Investigate four-color flexo printing for your outer envelopes. It has come a long, long way in terms of quality and line screen—and it may offer a substantial cost-savings opportunity over a litho/convert envelope.