Insert Media: Panel Uncovers Keys to Hidden Savings
A bulk distribution approach can help keep the high costs of insert media in check. This was the primary theme of an insert media session at last week’s DM Days New York Conference & Expo. Whether it applies to printing your inserts or distributing your mailings, doing so in bulk will help to save you money, the speakers emphasized.
“Talk with your printers to find ways to add volume to your orders,” recommended Deborah Durst, Sr. national account executive for Direct Technologies, and one of three panelists at the seminar. “Find a partner to print with to add quantity to your printing to reduce costs.” Durst stressed creating partnerships, especially with your printers.
Bulk product distribution also yields cost savings. “Insert mail has an advantage in that it has a commonality of date,” said panelist James Reifenberg, chief marketing officer of Fairrington Transportation, a provider of logistic services to the general manufacturing distribution marketplace. “This can allow you to control delivery. Run an annual insert date, then stagger the release dates.” He added that controlling your shipping to bulk shipments only helps to eliminate unnecessary shipments, and therefore added costs. Formatting your labeling according to the specifications of the warehouse can also help drive costs down, he said.
Cutting out middle men can also cut insert media costs. For instance, “Go direct to your transportation provider, instead of having the printer manage the distribution who charges a fee to do this,” Durst said. What’s more, proof of delivery is critical to keeping costs down, and insert media companies need to know that their inserts have gotten into the hands of their consumers. “You need full visibility. So make sure you’re able to watch your product,” Reifenberg said. This can be done through online tracking of your shipment to help ensure on time delivery.
While printing and distribution are major concerns for catalogers using insert media, creative, programming and formatting can’t be overlooked. “It’s important to be efficient in two ways,” said panelist Thad Lee, vice president of production for MRM Worldwide, a full-service direct and interactive marketing solutions agency. “Keeping printing prices cost efficient and the amount of time it takes a person to find your message” help design an approach to effectively produce an insert media campaign.
One effective way to help customers find your message quickly is to avoid bundling your inserts, Lee advised. Durst added: “The least the consumer has to do, the better the response.” A simple thing like making sure your return postage information is correct is a major factor. “The insert is no good if it can’t be returned back to you,” Lee cautioned.
When it comes to keeping creative and formatting costs down, make use of stock art, “which is readily available on the Web,” Lee said. He also stressed the importance of following format specifications. “I’ve seen cases where everything is printed and ready to go and the insert is too big to fit in the envelope. Have your size requirements, paper weights all decided on before you go to print.” These factors will also affect your postage rates, a major concern in today’s insert media environment.
As for as the actual inserting, the panel included tips on this matter as well. Among them,
* run a test sample before going to print and then insertion to allow a final look-over to make sure everything is correct; and
* know where they are going to be inserted.
“Be precise,” Durst said. “The front end planning and formatting needs to be right to keep down back end costs.”