8 Tactics to Save Time, Money ...
With today’s tough economic times calling for catalog/multichannel marketers to tighten budgets on every front, one of the biggest challenges is how to cut catalog production costs without diluting the brand or skimping on key creative elements. But what stone has been left unturned on that front? Here are eight cost-cutting, brand-retaining production ideas to consider.
1. Marry and involve both your production and creative team members at the very beginning of each project. Their insight and experience will identify pitfalls, time-saving technology opportunities, and ways to streamline the production and proofing process.
2. Take full advantage of your vendor relationships to minimize paper, postage and printing costs. As the paper and printing industries consolidate, the relationships you’ve built with your vendors will serve you well.
“Volume speaks volumes” to vendors, since they like to line up future work just as much as you do. Use them to help you:
• identify lower basis weight or high-bulk papers to make your pieces weigh less, then test against your current weight;
• examine dummy samples with various page counts to see if you can make cuts;
• look at different formats or trim sizes that print more efficiently or offer savings in mailing;
• consider buying paper up front and storing it for future use rather than on a per project basis; and
• catalog size must sort and mail with the maximum discounts.
3. Plan purposefully, schedule strategically. Don’t skimp on the schedule. Detailed schedules are essential to a smooth, on-budget workflow and for stakeholders to understand what’s expected of them over time.
If one element of the project gets out of sync, the entire project could unravel, a potential disaster when immovable and expensive events like press time are looming at the end of the project. Effective schedules must include the following:
• immovable major milestone events that cost money (i.e., press time, legal reviews and others);
• flexibility for any unforeseen bumps in the road;
• ample time for proofing and rounds of revisions;
• specific deadlines for all assets;
• realistic time frames; and
• the schedule must be shared and approved by everyone involved.