The Biggest Opportunity for Cost Savings on Print and Direct Mail

When you’ve been around as long as I have, you see stuff that drives you nuts. For instance, I witness countless dollars getting spent needlessly on two major line items: expedited shipping and expedited postage. Lots of energy is expended driving print production costs down, but then money is just thrown away on shipping and postage.

Companies that spend more money than expected on shipping and postage experience lower ROI, have less to spend on other marketing initiatives, and could be forced to dial back quantity or frequency to stay in budget.

Why does this happen? Because design files arrive late but the delivery date for the finished materials can’t move.

Whether you buy or sell print, you know this is true. On many direct mail projects, the postage costs more than the print and mail processing. First class can cost 30% more than standard in the U.S. The difference is more pronounced between lettermail and addressed admail in Canada. On projects that are shipped, two-day or overnight charges frequently cost 4-10 times more than ground or LTL.

Everyone knows this is the case, so why does it happen?

Here are some of the challenges I see:

  • Overwhelmed staff: Companies downsized in 2008. Many of them still haven’t ramped their staff back up to previous levels. The folks who are there are spinning lots of plates and need help. They don’t have enough time.
  • Poor project management: Most print and direct mail projects are multi-dimensional and are part of bigger integrated campaigns. With fewer resources and less time, the critical path thinking that is necessary for these projects is not accomplished. Some companies simply need project management assistance.
  • The brush doesn’t get lifted soon enough on content and creative development: I talk with creative professionals who tell me the number of rounds of revisions on creative is dramatically higher these days than just a few years ago. Not sure what is causing this is but perhaps new digital review processes make it easier to make changes, so people keep making them.

Organizations that are unable to solve these problems internally can look to a valuable supplier/partner to help them accomplish better results and ROI. By providing a higher level of project management assistance, the overall process is improved and shipping/postage costs are inevitably driven down.

Time is the new currency for marketers.

Let me know how you feel about this.

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