Outsource Solutions: Insert Media
The ABCs of Creating a Package Insert Program
If you have an established mail-order business and ship more than 500,000 packages annually, you can leverage those outbound shipments—and the postage you pay to deliver those goods—by creating a package insert program (PIP). This additional source of revenue is relatively simple to institute and can add to your bottom line.
The key is to target customer shipments that won’t push your package into another postage class when you include an additional 1.5 ounces to 2 ounces. Evaluate your operating system to determine if it can track how much “postal” space remains after the merchandise and marketing material are placed into the shipment. If you don’t have a system capable of performing this function, don’t fret. One additional hand-drop likely will not blow your postage costs.
It also helps if you are able to insert your program materials only into complete or the first of multiple shipments. This is the best way to drive response, which translates into higher CPMs for your program.
Hire an Insert Manager
The next step is to hire a package insert program manager. Ask other mailers and list professionals for a recommendation. If you currently use insert media in your own customer acquisition strategy, ask your insert broker which managers provide the best service.
Prepare your anticipated monthly package volumes, and send a request for proposal to a few managers. Then, create a grid to compare proposals. Your review process should consider:
1) Realistic financial goals/planned growth.
2) Resources—reporting, proposed sales team, promotions/marketing strategy and operational experience.
3) Category analysis/testing goals.
4) Other clients served.
Like their list brethren, insert managers are paid the standard 10-percent commission, and I caution you against seeking this service at a discount. Remember the old adage: “You get what you pay for.” The management of these programs is a detail-oriented service, and you want your program to realize its full potential with the best sales and service available.