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 had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.