The Power of Three
Three, as the Schoolhouse Rock song goes, is a magic number. But there’s no such thing as magic when it comes to cutting postage costs. You can save money in only one of three ways: cut your catalog’s weight; qualify for automation and presort discounts; and get your mailing as close to its final destination as possible.
You can reduce the weight of your catalog by attacking two dimensions: paper and size, says Dave Riebe, vice president of distribution at Quad/Graphics, a printing company in Pewaukee, WI.
For the most dramatic impact, streamline the trim size of your catalog. Depending on your circulation size, the difference of only 1⁄8˝ or 1⁄4˝ can provide a substantial savings on both postage and paper without an adverse effect on response, says Riebe.
Before you start hacking your catalog’s dimensions, you’ll want to take into consideration the types of presses your printing company uses. It’s the law of the land in printing to always match the job to the press for maximum performance and cost efficiency.
You should also pre-determine your range of impositions, says Riebe, to ensure your cost-cutting move doesn’t waste paper instead of saving it. Another way to drop heft is by changing the basis weight of the paper you print on, including the order form.
Riebe explains that the increased emphasis on taking orders via the Web has convinced some business-to-business catalogers to drop their stand-alone order forms. Instead, they print more abbreviated instructions on how to place orders online on the inside back cover or other internal page.
Obviously, you would save on both paper and postage if you scrapped your order form. But this drastic move requires you to have a market that is comfortable and interested in buying online, as well as an internal shift in emphasis from the phone and mail to the Web.