Measuring the Impact of Mail Pooling and Co-Mailing on Cost Savings, Part 2 of 2
In the final part of this two-part series on helping catalogers realize maximum postal discounts, I’ll look at how to compare the differences in postal costs when comparing printers. I’ll also provide a checklist of questions you should be asking your printer to guarantee you’re maximizing your postal savings.
(For part 1, click here.)
Understanding potential postal savings is a critical part of comparing a printer’s total cost. Printing costs used to consist only of printing and paper costs. Now a third “p” has been added — postal costs. Print buyers need to know how to compare the differences in postage when comparing printers. (Click on the chart below for a comparison.)
It’s not easy to compare the postal savings when choosing between printers. Here are some factors to consider:
* Does your printer offer a variety of mail pool, inline and offline mail pool options so your catalog will fit, regardless of circulation or trim size?
* How are mail pool and co-mail savings shared? Is the program based on cost per thousand, or are the savings shared between the printer and the cataloger? What’s the formula for sharing costs, and is it negotiable?
* Volume is the key to maximizing savings. The bigger printers bring the advantage of larger volume to the table. But medium-size printers like Arandell and Dingley can be very competitive in providing postal savings. On the other hand, smaller printers can be at a distinct cost disadvantage.
Here are several questions to ask your printer before signing a contract:
1. Do you mail pool daily, weekly or at some other interval?
2. How can I know the size of the mail pool the week I need to mail?
3. How much do you charge for the mail pool? A printer generally charges 50 percent of your savings, as determined by the incremental-entry discounts.
4. Is your co-mailing inline or offline? Does it depend on finding a partner, or will I co-mail in a regular weekly pool?
5. How is the cost of co-mailing calculated? Do you take 50 percent of the savings from the tier-qualification discounts? Are there other charges for processing my mail tapes?
6. How long have you been co-mailing? What are the restrictions in terms of trim size, weight and ink addressing live area that I need to be aware of?
7. Do you deliver the mail into the postal system, or do you use a consolidator?
Dig into your printer’s potential for postal savings through mail pooling, co-mailing and co-binding. It’s going to take some work on your end to sort out the differences between printers and how their different programs translate into bottom-line dollars. But it’s worth it. Finding the lowest postage may be the biggest cost savings you realize this year.
Jim Coogan is president of Catalog Marketing Economics, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based consulting firm focused on catalog circulation planning. You can reach him at (505) 986-9902 or email@example.com.