Co-mailing (also known as co-mingling) is the process of combining different catalog titles from different catalog companies into one mail stream to generate more carrier route discount mail.
On the surface, co-mailing sounds like a great idea. Why would any cataloger be opposed to co-mailing if it resulted in a greater postage discount? However, co-mailing can be challenging.
1. All of the catalogs in the co-mailing must be the exact same trim size.
2. The ink-jet areas must be the same on both the order form/page and on the back cover.
3. All of the participating catalogs must have page counts that are within 32 pages of one another.
4. The participating catalogers must have the same distribution pattern, i.e., the same in-home or mail dates. (This is for fulfillment purposes.)
5. One printer must do the ink-jet formatting and list sortation, since its machinery will do the coding. This work can’t be done by a service bureau.
How the Process Works
The co-mailing process occurs during the binding/ink-jetting phase of catalog production. The catalogs simply are processed for mailing together; they are not physically banded or bagged together in any way.
Morever, the mailing lists for co-mailed catalogs won’t be the same. Rather, the mail simply is combined in order to achieve greater postage density, and thus, discounts.
During the co-mailing stage, the process essentially is the same as selective binding. But instead of combining multiple mailing versions of the same catalog, the printer combines multiple catalog titles into one mail stream. This enables more mail to qualify for the carrier route rate.
For example, the piece rate for 3/5 digit mail is $261 per thousand (M), and the carrier route costs $194/M. Catalogs that fall into the carrier route rate structure save $67/M (the difference between $261 and $194).