Three Steps to Optimize Marketing ROI
You also need to look at distribution and storage options in this stage. In some cases, it might be feasible to forego production of a printed piece and replace it with an electronic version. In other cases, you might find it advantageous to add a standing order to print a particular piece digitally, on demand, when physical inventory runs out, thereby avoiding out-of-stock situations and rush reprint charges. Electronic distribution and just-in-time printing also can dramatically reduce your storage and obsolescence costs.
All of these decisions are made with an eye on critical factors like shelf life, usage and reorder patterns, target markets and the value of the transaction, among others.
Step 3: Automate. The third step in communications optimization is to automate production, ordering and fulfillment. Virtually all fulfillment companies now offer Web-based interfaces that allow your marketing, sales and distribution personnel to order and track delivery of the materials they need online. Many vendors provide real-time reporting to enhance inventory management and decision-making. The best suppliers integrate all of these features along with design-on-demand and digital printing capabilities, backed by rules-based logic to ensure that only preapproved copy and graphics can be inserted into customizable fields, and that the selected copy and graphics are appropriate for the intended use and recipients. User access should be defined by department management, to ensure that all staff, field personnel and agents have what they need to do their jobs, while maintaining control at the chief marketing officer level.
It's important to note that communication optimization isn't a "one time and you're done" exercise. Instead, it provides a framework for continuous improvements in your marketing communications as you analyze results of current or ongoing campaigns, add new marketing initiatives, and address new needs and objectives over time.
Getting to "Yes"
If your company is suffering high costs for rush reprints, storage or waste, or getting lower than anticipated response and revenues from its marketing efforts, you may find it relatively easy to get management buy-in for a project of this scope. But less obvious situations may require some "selling" on your part, because of the time (several weeks to six months, depending on the size and complexity of your company's marketing program) and expense involved.