Special Report Insert Media Buying Guide
Target Marketing: What are the main costs associated with running an insert program?
John Lyskowski: Anything you add to the package adds weight, which costs money. And [the extra postage] varies. If you're mailing bound printed matter, it may only cost you $2/M or $3/M per insert, but if you're mailing at the Standard rate, it can cost you … I don't know, up to $10/M an insert. … Each ounce, for instance, in Standard mail costs you 6 cents … it all adds up. So if somebody looks at [insert media costs], they should add up the ounces they're adding to the postage rate based on what class they're sending out, and see what it's going to cost them.
There's also an issue, more on the publishing [side], that if you're close to the limit and you go over the pound [maximum weight], there's a huge penalty. So you have to be careful on that aspect, which is all part of running [a program].
Another thing is the insert costs, especially if you're going to a third-party vendor. And even if your operation is internal … you still have to look at how much it costs you to man the insertion line. That's all real money.
And you have storage costs. I know it may not sound like much, but what ends up happening with these programs, in my experience, is the inserts sit around on the floor somewhere as you're waiting for them to be used up.
Finally, depending on how big the program is, you [might] have to take some of your own internal resources to run it. You're either adding to staff or taking someone from another area to manage it.
All that considered … I know in [Guideposts'] business, where we're using Bulk Bound and Standard, [costs] would range anywhere from $10/M to $30/M for an insert. I know when people start discounting [inserts] and after commissions, [marketers will] be lucky if they're making $20/M. So, net-net, you should look at how much you're making on these [programs]. Is it worth the effort?