Marketing / Research
Who is the piece going to?
Identify your target audience for effective marketing results.
How will it be distributed?
Is the piece going to be placed in inventory for future use? Are you getting this piece ready for a trade show or event? Is this piece going to be mailed one time or more over a period of time?
Can existing material be used to achieve your goal?
Can existing or combination printed pieces be used to meet the current goals and objectives? Perhaps a companion piece to go with an existing piece? There are times that a new printed piece is created because we are bored with the existing pieces. Our boredom does not justify printing new collateral.
Can your piece be set up for personalized marketing?
Integrating a recipient’s name and address into your copy can further increase participation and response rates. Customization will fine tune your marketing message and recipient’s receive more relevant materials. Personalized, or one-to-one marketing, can often increase your response rate by 100%.
Reducing warehousing costs
Cost reduction for inventory items could be the size of cartons—large cartons holding greater quantities are less expensive than smaller cartons. The offset cost is that in the warehouse, or in store rooms, smaller cartons are easier to handle. In warehouses using pallet racks—what is the ideal pallet size and height to maximize storage efficiency and reduce storage costs? What is the preferred method of carton labeling so that pallets will not require re-stacking before pallets are placed onto pallet racks? Reduce the cost of inventory control and product location through the use of scannable barcodes on carton labels.
Also, consider on-demand printing, which could eliminate an inventory supply.
Reducing costs when shipping material to a trade show
The obvious way to save money is to ship the material early with the trade show booth. For a number of reasons out of your control this is not always possible. So consider the options.
Only ship the material that you will give away during the show. Avoid shipping everything overnight—part of it can be shipped two-day air, or even ground with enough lead time.
Material shipped to your hotel has a smaller chance of being lost than material shipped to the trade show hall. If it is coming directly to the hall, let the receiving desk know that you are expecting a package. In this situation an advanced tip of $10 or $20 never seems to hurt your chances of promptly getting the incoming package.
Reducing mailing costs by choosing the correct delivery service
The United States Postal Service has a 96-page book explaining their various rules and regulations which boils down to three basic services: Nonprofit Mail, Standard Mail and First Class Mail. Visit www.usps.com for more details.
Although not guaranteed, the serious objectives for Nonprofit Mail delivery is 10 to 14 days; for Standard Mail delivery is 10 to 14 days; for First Class Mail delivery is 7 to 10 days.
Write complete specifications to reduce miscommunications
Preparing written project specifications helps to solidify your thinking; it is a point of reference during the production process, and eliminates the chance of forgetting critical issues.
Specifications should include a proposed production schedule with relevant production milestones. A simple schedule would include acceptance dates for final design, final page proofs, release of digital file to prepress, an HP proof (blueline), a color proof, and final delivery date. As the complexity of the project increases, so do the milestone checkpoints.
The printing specifications should include quantity, number of pages or panels, flat size and folded size, weight and type of paper, colors of inks, types of proofs required, binding and finishing operations, special effects such as embossing or die cutting, and packaging requirements—all will help reduce miscommunication.
Specify a house stock
For a consistent branded look you will want all of your printed material to have the same look and feel. The stock you select for new projects should match in color the stocks you used on previous projects. Varying colors of stocks can make printed pieces look old or shop worn.
Using the same type of paper also allows you an opportunity to lower costs when several projects can be combined on a single press form. Additional savings can be realized when paper is purchased at the 40,000 pound level. Ask for a “house stock” for the best pricing.
When creating budgets or requesting estimates, asking for a specific stock allows for apple-to-apple pricing comparisons.
Have your text proofread by two people
The cheapest place to make a change is in the manuscript or original copy. This is the point of low cost or no cost changes. During the design and layout process, the page or laser proof changes become more expensive and time consuming. When the project is ready to print and the final proof is a blueline or HP proof, changes at this point are considered to be very costly (first page of corrections averages $100 and each additional page averages $50.)
A recent national survey of print buyers report that 9% of the respondents have one person proofread a project; 69% had two to three people proofread a project; the balance of the respondents had four or more people proofread a project.
We have found that it is best to have two people proofread and sign off a project at each proof stage, i.e. final copy, laser page proofs and final blueline or HP proof. The critical point here is that the people that sign off are actually proofreading and not just “looking” or “reviewing the project.”
Looking over a project at a proof stage gives a false sense of security and allows little mistakes to slip through the cracks. Little mistakes appear as embarrassing blunders after the piece is printed, bound, and distributed.
Edit text to reduce the number of pages
A good way to save printing costs is to have your document fall within a standard number of pages: 4, 8, 16, 24 – a multiple of 8 or 4. The savings could be substantial, so it might be worth it to edit your copy to make it fit within certain document lengths.
Consider a postcard as an economical option
Postcard mailings are an effective marketing tool. The most economical size for mailing a postcard is 4-1/4 x 6 inches. Larger postcards do not qualify for the postcard mailing rate.
What is your deadline? Can you accept a partial delivery?
If you need an extra-fast turnaround, do you need the full quantity delivered, or would a partial delivery suffice? Be flexible.
Which Printing Technology Will Best Serve Your Needs?
How to determine how many to print
Digital printing or offset printing produces the majority of printed products. Digital printing has a low fixed set-up cost and a high per unit cost. Offset printing has a high fixed set-up cost and a low per unit cost. Yes, this is the simple answer and there are a wide range of what-if’s but let’s keep it simple at this point.
Short print runs result in lower total initial costs, lower levels of obsolescence costs, lower inventory, and warehousing costs. Digital printing is ideal.
Longer print runs result in lower per unit costs. Offset printing is ideal.
Which way to go is often determined by type of paper desired, size of piece, number and type of ink colors used, and desired finishing operations. A ballpark estimate from your printer will give you a starting point to prepare the written specifications. Estimating up to three quantities for a single set of specifications is easy to do and will help you to determine your print run.
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