Special Report The 3Ps: Printing, Production and Paper
Your Co-mailing Potential
To say that “co-mailing requires cooperation” would be an understatement. Not only do you have to work closely with your printer, but the partnership may extend to include other parties, such as two or three other, non-competitive catalogers as well as list-management teams.
To determine whether a printer’s platform (or co-mailing abilities) is efficient or inefficient comes down to some parameters, says Schneider. When printers co-mail, they have to bring together the right types of clients, but even then, there may be technical challenges.
He explains: “Say you have two customers who want to co-mail. One has a catalog that’s complicated — maybe a lot of versions or unique bind-ins. It’s a heavily personalized type of piece in and of itself. That job alone is going to take up a lot of pockets on the binder. And if the printer doesn’t have a line with a lot of pockets, it’ll be very limited to what it can offer the other piece that’s being co-mailed. The more pockets the printer has, the more opportunities [for co-mailings].”
Catalogers and their printers also must look at the physical makeup of the catalogs they’re considering for co-mail. Says Schneider, “We start looking through our pool of clients and separate them by catalog trim size. And then we can organize them by those that share the same manufacturing or distribution cycles.
“For example,” he continues, “we might search for clients who have an in-home date of March 4th and share an 8-by-10.5-inch trim size. … As a printer, you have to be well-equipped internally to manage all of this information, synthesize it and put together proposals for customers that make the most sense.”
Another key variable, says Schneider, is to share a common list. This obviously is simpler when the co-mailing project is from a single client. It’s easy to get a single distribution file. “But when you have two clients engaging in a co-mail partnership, there may be some trepidation,” Schneider says. “They’re concerned their lists will somehow be fair game for the other participant.”