Postal Reform, Shmostal Reform: Beat any postal increase NOW (and look like a hero!)
Regardless of the fact that postal reform is on the verge of being signed into law, we all know one thing. Just like death and taxes, you can always count on postal rates to go up. So whether we get consistent, rate increases that are, alas, consistent with the consumer price index, or a whopper every few years, who cares? Because we always must work to compensate for increases.
The rule of thumb is for every penny your catalog costs go up, you must generate 2 cents per catalog mailed to compensate for it.
That means one of three things needs to happen: Your catalog has to work harder to generate more revenue, you have to drop some marginally performing house file segments or list rentals from your mail plan, or you must reduce your costs and increase your revenue.
For my money, I always choose the lower costs/increase revenue option. There are two ways to accomplish this: negotiation with vendors and strategic planning.
Here is my list of go-to techniques that can make you the rainmaker in your company — or maybe just rain proof your P&L for the future:
1. Gang up on your catalog. Do you have products that remain consistent through a season or a year? Paginate your catalog so that these products fit onto one or more signatures and gang print them for multiple catalogs. Your printer can store the signatures and bind them in as needed. Same goes for printed order forms, if you still use them.
2. Become a wrap artist. In a process similar to gang printing, you can add an 8- or 16-page wrapper to an existing catalog to freshen up the look rather than printing a whole new catalog. If you can plan your season in advance, print the wrap at the same time as your main catalog. That way, you can produce two catalogs at once. For example, if you regularly produce a 48-page catalog, print up an extra 16 pages. This means your print run will contain 64 pages of new material.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.