Manage Your Mail Costs
Good planning and
production partners can save you money
Postage prices continue to increase, as does the pressure to improve profitability. Direct marketers who depend on traditional printed promotions as one of their most responsive channels are again looking for ways to increase sales and reduce costs. Here’s a look at some of the printing and production techniques available that help trim costs, as well as best practices that can help you take advantage of these techniques.
Collaborate With Your Resources
“Collaborate with your package designers and writers,” recommends Bill Christensen, a direct response creative and marketing consultant whose clients have included CoreStates, Mellon, Time magazine and Advertising Age magazine. “A vendor who knows you and your needs can review your direct mail packages and make suggestions for small changes that can lead to big savings in the long run.” The adjustment may be as small as an eighth of an inch, he explains, but that little difference may make the promotion fit better and run better on the printer’s press with less wasted paper and time—and the smaller size may save on postage, as well.
You also can save money and increase your flexibility by making sure the components in your mailing are standard sizes. “[Design] for standard sheet sizes that come from paper stocks that are always available,” says Christensen. “And for web presses, lay things out for efficient use of standard stocks and standard roll sizes.” A standard envelope, such as a 6˝ x 9˝ or a #10, can be purchased virtually anywhere, and that gives marketers flexibility to negotiate a lower price.
Make your vendors your partners. “Buy as much stock as possible to cover your needs for as many months in advance as possible,” says Christensen. “You can get great pricing … plus, the printers who will be running the stock … will frequently not charge any storage fees—just because they know that keeping your stock on the floor means guaranteed business for them. It’s a win-win situation.” Buying in advance, however, starts with astute planning.