Direct Selling: Play Conductor
A well-executed print campaign is like a great performance by an orchestra. When all players come in on cue with perfect timing, the performance is elevated to greatness.
Various pieces—envelopes, letters and brochures—of your direct mail campaign are printed at different vendors and then merged together at a lettershop for personalization and mailing. Knowing each vendor’s work flow, scheduling, and dos and don’ts can be daunting—not to mention the maze of postal regulations.
Every detail has to be perfect. If the mailing is late, it can ruin the results. If it’s printed incorrectly, it can be costly to correct.
So, what’s the secret to executing flawless print campaigns? It’s seeing your role as the conductor of a performance.
Of course, the performance is the culmination of a good deal of hard work, planning and practice. The conductor, like a print manager, will communicate to various players their role and how their contribution fits into the whole campaign. He will communicate expectations and verify that his instructions are being executed properly.
Let’s use a sample project to illustrate the concept. Our print manager, Angie, has been given the job of managing the printing and mailing of her company’s upcoming holiday solo piece, which includes a full-color envelope and brochure, personalized letter, business reply envelope (BRE), and lift letter. It’s a complicated task, so how can she ensure a successful performance?
Start With Your Goal
When planning a great performance, the conductor begins with the goal—the final performance. First he will determine what will be performed, select the various musical instruments needed and then the musicians. In essence, he’ll plan from the final performance backwards toward the starting point.
For Angie’s project, her performance is a solo mailing. She will start her planning at the end of the campaign, when the piece is delivered in the mail. Then she will work backwards checking postal regulations (i.e., size and orientation of mail panel), inserting (i.e., verify all pieces fit into envelope), personalization (i.e., size of letter fits in laser printer) and printing (i.e., verify all pieces are sized right for best pricing).