With the latest postal rate increase weighing heavily on catalogers’ bottom lines, you’ll be needing advice on how to mail more efficiently. While list brokers can offer considerable guidance on which lists to rent, printers are another key source for money-saving tips.
Naturally, the issue du jour is the May postal rate hike. Printing company officials say that the postal situation has given them a chance to collaborate more with their catalog clients. Now more than ever, printers are giving catalogers input on co-mailing, customization, paper selection, trim size, and even list hygiene and database management.
“I’ve never seen so much conversation and reaction,” Rick Dethloff, vice president of purchasing for Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Arandell Corp., says of the hubbub caused by this year’s postal rate increase.
Don Landis, Arandell’s vice president of postal affairs, agrees, and says that during past postage increases, he would just tell catalogers how much their postage was increasing. “This one has almost the entire plant involved,” he says. “We’re looking at different scenarios as far as size, basis paper weights and addressing list hygiene are concerned. We’re running the whole gamut of trying to lessen the impact of this rate hike.”
Back to Basics
To mail more efficiently, start at the very basic level by cleaning up your list, says Claire Ho, a spokesperson for Sussex, Wis.-based Quad/Graphics.
Bruce Jensen, vice president of the catalog and magazine group for Montreal-based Transcontinental Printing, notes that catalogers have to understand who they’re mailing. “Make sure your catalogs are getting to the right people with the right products,” he says. “Go back and refine your lists to ensure your lists are clean and up-to-date. Make sure they’ve been through the national change of address (NCOA) system — the merge/purge part of it.”
Landis points out that database management has become an important service offered by printers in recent years. He suggests looking closely at the files of requesters who haven’t ordered. “How long do you keep mailing before you give up?” he asks.