The New Vanguard
Brophy explains, “We hear the terms ‘media neutral’ and ‘multichannel’ and ‘cross matrix’ for instance, and we know that marketing is handling a wider scope of responsibility with more varied direct marketing initiatives that serve a broader base internally, yet are more specifically targeted externally … Production has to be a resource. We are expert buyers but we are consultants, too, and we have to do our research.”
This research pertains not only to finding the right materials and production processes at the best prices, but also to understanding response rates and other factors in a mailing’s chance at success. “To incorporate sustainability goals into direct mail campaigns, marketing gives production the opportunity to devise tests,” Brophy explains. As such, she says that production’s “recommendations have to be credible and viable in marketing’s eyes. Then I can introduce new initiatives.”
Some of the advances Brophy and her team have made on the sustainability front are a reduction in format sizes; the use of high-yield, recycled content and other environmentally friendly papers; and the transition from poly-based film patches to corn-film patches on some envelopes.
She also is proud of production’s ability to respond to ninth-hour requests from marketing to accommodate extra names on a mail drop. “In this way, we support the goal of increasing response, but additionally we know that it will be more efficient and consume fewer resources to add quantity during certain seasons. This adds up in the aggregate. We want to consume less.”
While Brophy and her team are far from tested out when it comes to ideas for reducing consumption without compromising response, she does have her eye on an additional goal: “What I’d like to see is a way in which we can encourage our customers to recycle what they receive from us.”—HM
The Relationship Builder