You designed what you believed to be the perfect mail piece for your direct mail marketing project. You incorporated eye-popping color and catchy graphics. You narrowed down your target audience to the best possible prospects. You're sure you did everything right, but your mailing was a failure anyway. You find yourself asking how is this possible? Where did I go wrong?
Savvy marketers know that utilizing multiple channels is the best way to reach a targeted audience. However, some choose not to utilize what is arguably the king of all marketing, Direct Mail. The reasons why are varied and sometimes based on incorrect assumptions, but the most common reason is cost. Those with a tight budget may not believe they can afford to include direct mail in their marketing mix. Others have experienced impressive results and automatically include direct mail. Whether you think you can't afford it, or are absolutely committed to using direct mail, there are options to fit any budget that you can count to achieve a winning ROI.
In the print production of direct mail there are many factors which affect costs. Because price is dependent on the design specifications unique to a project, commercial printers price every job individually. Color, paper choices, print method, and bindery finishing all contribute to cost and should be taken into account during project planning and budgeting. It is important to have a basic understanding of how your direct mail project will be produced. The following overview covers some of the more common considerations every marketer should be aware of and how different production techniques affect cost.
When was the last time you received a birthday present, wrapped in decorative paper, tied with a brightly colored ribbon, and you chose not to unwrap the gift? If you’re like me the answer is never. What’s in the box? Shake it. Does it make a noise? Is there something loose inside rattling around? How heavy does it feel? What could fit inside? These are some of the thoughts that might go through your mind.
The cost of paper is one of the most important considerations for any print project. In fact, paper can account for 50% or more of the total project cost. If your marketing budget is slimmer than ever, you may be tempted to buy your own paper from a paper mill or distributor as an alternative to buying it through your printer. But does buying your own paper really save you time and money?
Savvy marketers know the best allocation of their budget is a mix incorporating multiple channels. It could be a mistake to neglect the use of one particular channel over another, and eliminating one entirely could hinder your ability to effectively reach your target audience. Success or failure of a marketing campaign can mean rapid growth or calamitous loss of money.
Take a moment to think about which TV ads you remember most from years past. Chances are the ads you remember most are either the funniest or out of the ordinary. Two of my favorite ads both debuted during Super Bowls. One is the Betty White Snickers commercial created by BBDO North America from 2010, You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry. Betty White is playing a rough game of football and turns into a young man after eating a Snickers bar. The other is Cat Herders, made by Fallon in 2000 for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). In this one grizzled cowboys herd thousands of cats like cattle. My all-time favorite is the Quiznos commercial from 2004 which featured two rodent-like creatures, dubbed spongemonkeys, singing about loving Quiznos subs. One is wearing an old fashioned bowler hat and the other is wearing a seafaring hat and playing guitar. The ad created by the Martin Agency in Richmond generated a huge amount of buzz. People were divided, either loving or hating the ad. Quiznos saw a 400% increase in unique visits to its website in the month the ad aired on TV and the campaign is considered one of the first to go viral.
I confess I’m one of those people excited to get my mail each day. My wife calls me a mail geek. I prefer to think of myself as an aficionado. My interest has nothing to do with a love of shopping, or the anticipation of discovering a great deal or can’t miss opportunity. Rather, it stems from a passion for staying on top of marketing trends and understanding the production technologies employed to create successful campaigns. I don’t just glance at a postcard. I take note of the images used, the fonts selected, and what coatings were applied during or after printing. When I open an envelope I remove the inserts and study the paper stocks, folds, binding, always looking for a production technique I’ve never seen before. Admittedly, it’s not very often I come across anything exciting or new in my mailbox.
If you’re overwhelmed when choosing paper for your next job, you’re not alone. Paper options abound. Project uses vary. Mistakes are expensive.
In our experience, a few rules of thumb can simplify things. As you move your project from concept to print production, the time you take to review its purpose influences the success of your decisions. These basic questions can help state your objective, then help you analyze your options and costs.
It happened again...the deadline that once seemed light-years in the future is now breathing down your neck. How can you keep an already stressful project free from surprises and delays at your printer? We asked our top print account managers to provide insider tips that will guarantee smooth sailing on press.