Special Report The 3Ps: Printing, Production and Paper
Dollars & Sense: Catalog Co-mailings
For catalogers, the past decade has been explosive with innovation. For example, desktop publishing led to computer-to-plate manufacturing and digital prepress. Files replaced film, and the process of print production became more streamlined and efficient. So much so, in fact, that catalogers now must look to operations outside the prepress and pressroom realms for cost savings, to what some consider a hard-numbers-based necessary evil: postage.
“As postal costs continue to be an ever-increasing part of a cataloger’s total budget — and in order to stay competitive — they have to seek out new efficiencies in the process,” advises Tom Benedict, senior vice president of sales and marketing for catalog printer Banta Corp. “With co-mailings, catalogers can reduce their total postage expenditures.”
How Does It Work?
Eric Schmidt, print sales executive at catalog printer Quebecor World, explains, “Co-mailing uses demographic-binding technology to significantly reduce postage costs by marrying multiple catalog titles on a binding line — and ultimately within carrier route presorted mail bundles.”
Co-mailing allows more catalogs to be mailed from a single ZIP string, he continues. “This results in more catalogs that qualify for the enhanced carrier route postal rate — 6.7 cents per catalog less than the next postal automation three- and five-digital presort level,” he notes.
Mark Schneider, manager of technical services at Quad/Graphics, says to think of co-mailings this way: “You’ve designed a catalog that’s going to have two covers — one that speaks to your house list and another to prospects. It may be a total run of 1 million or 500,000 each. You’d naturally think of this job as two separate mail streams, and the cost per piece for postage is about 25 cents.” Schneider continues, “If you ask, ‘Why don’t we co-mail these together, print them and demographically or selectively bind the covers and prepare distribution for them as we would a single list?’ the cost per piece for postage might be 23 cents. … You’re creating more efficient packages, pallets or containers for the USPS to handle.”