Save Money on Your Fulfillment Kits
Knowing your audience is a direct marketing basic and is key to saving you money on your fulfillment kits. Your first step in assessing your kit should be determining your goal: new sale, incremental business, customer/prospect awareness. With your goal in mind, develop fulfillment materials that communicate the right information in the most cost-efficient manner to drive the desired response.
“Most cost savings are coming from the appropriate use of appropriate materials. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. When companies fail to appropriately segment their audience, they print, produce and ship non-relevant items, which cost money,” says David Lowndes, director of product development for Comac, a fulfillment solutions company in Milpitas, Calif.
With so many options in kits these days, a good place to start is content. Creating a kit whose components can be tailored to your target audience will save you money. Gone are the days when cost savings could be achieved with mass printing of generic materials. Your sights should be set on digital/variable printing. These technologies are not just for companies selling luxury items, says Lowndes. Variable printing can save storage fees, disposal charges when material becomes outdated, and even compliance costs for highly-regulated industries, such as health care, finance or pharmaceuticals. “Cost cutting goes hand-in-hand with material relevancy. When a company knows its audience, the use of variable digital print is an extremely effective and cost-efficient manner to produce customized, relevant material. The last thing your target audience wants to do is waste time searching for the materials that apply to his or her needs and/or interests,” explains Lowndes.
On the mailing end, weight is the number one factor in cost savings. But you need to be careful when you lighten your kit. There are two considerations in weight: your packaging and your kit elements. Two ideas to try in packaging are padded envelopes, which provide protection for contents for little cost, and using a variety of box sizes to save on filler.
When it comes to weighty kits, many companies have eliminated or postponed the shipping of heavy components, such as manuals or directories. Some companies direct customers to an online version of directories or manuals instead of shipping one to every requester; others simply send these items upon request to customers.
Most weight in a kit comes from its components. It is important to evaluate all the elements of your kit for relevance, regardless of weight. Removing small items or even a few pages in a kit can make a huge difference.
“In addition to considering the various packaging materials to reduce weight, review each component being added to the kit to make sure it adds value relative to the increase in postage. In some cases, an extra piece added to a kit can push the weight of the kit to the next postage rate class. We recently had a client who wanted to add a six-page brochure to their kit. This would have resulted in a 37 percent increase in their postage because the kit weight was pushed to the next pound class,” says Jeff Ehrlich, president of Fulfillment Plus Inc., a full-service fulfillment company in Holtsville, N.Y.
Melissa Sepos is a freelance writer based in Wyncote, Pa.