Literature Fulfillment in a Flash
Reporting tools are key to helping marketers manage their program's inventory needs. Some automated systems, says Lowndes, offer a defined set of reports on product cycles, inventory levels, spoilage ratios, etc. Others also allow marketers to request custom reports as well as develop their own ad hoc queries.
Such automation systems are wonderful operational tools, says Lowndes, but they should never take the place of human support. He notes that marketers should have a dedicated account team that knows its goals and fulfillment kit materials so it can provide guidance on how the marketer can head off program problems as well as make tweaks and bigger changes to impact the program's response rate.
Fast Delivery is Priority No. 1
All fulfillment materials being equal, the factor that most impacts sales conversion is delivery time, states Blumenfield. You simply need to put the fulfillment kit in prospect's hands within two to three days, he says.
The two components of delivery are kit production time and the mailing process. On the production end, your goal is to get the kit ready within 24 hours, to give as much time to the mailing window as possible—and to reduce the need for overnight shipping, which increases program costs, says Lowndes.
Blumenfield points out that you might be able to pre-pack some kit components ahead of time to speed the production side.
Whether you can pre-pack or not depends on the lifecycle of the pieces in your kit, Lowndes adds. Short revision cycles mean having to strip pre-packed kits, which also affects your production time. He advises marketers to pre-pack kits that have a six-month or longer lifecycle.
Lowndes finds that more and more kits are using personalization to the degree that pre-packing isn't an option for most fulfillment programs, especially when print-on-demand is being leveraged to customize messaging and offers. In these cases, he notes, marketers can use pre-printed shells to shave some time off the production process.