Cut Costs and Keep Creative
The clock already may have struck midnight on postal reform, but that doesn’t mean your catalog has to turn back into a pumpkin. There’s no need to strip it down in ways that sabotage branding, creativity and, most importantly, sales. Even within the design and financial confines of today’s postal rates and structure, the dream of an effective, financially viable catalog doesn’t have to be a fairy tale.
Through postal reform the U.S. Postal Service is developing a more accountable rate-making structure, as most catalogers should be aware by now, replacing irregular rate hikes with more predictable and regular adjustments. It’ll take serious housecleaning to find budget relief in the production and design process while working within these new postal rates — but it can be done. Here’s how:
Right Paper, Right Price
Last year not only brought some of the largest postage increases, it also saw dramatic changes in the paper market. Paper is very tight right now, and everyone is feeling similar pressure to cut costs. The winners in the paper game will be those who do the dirty work of finding the best possible paper for the best price — sooner rather than later. Since postage is likely to increase again soon, making smart paper decisions now will pay off down the road.
Typically accounting for more than half of a printed project’s cost, paper is the first area you should examine for budget cutting. The touch, feel and brightness of your paper are significant indicators to customers about the quality of your product and your company, so any changes should be discrete and virtually undetectable.
There are several ways to cut paper costs without a significant drop in quality. One option is to consider imported (European or Asian) papers. These papers do have to clear U.S. customs, so that means crucial planning and timing. Also, the foreign paper market is impacted by the strength of the dollar. Another option is to work with a paper merchant on your particular needs; this especially is helpful in tight markets.