Postal Reform, Shmostal Reform: Beat any postal increase NOW (and look like a hero!) Part 3 of 3
Continuing the discussion started here a few weeks ago, I’m firing off some more tips to offset any postal increase, anytime. Use them in good health.
9. Get closer with your letter carrier: If you’re not using a printer who does destination entry programs, then find one quickly. With destination entry your printer trucks your catalog closer to the bulk mail centers and sectional center facilities. The end result is that your mail has travels a shorter distanceon its way to the end reader (your customer). The cost for trucking will be less than the discount from the post office. The end result: you save money on postage.
10. Partner up with co-mailing: Co-mailing your catalog allows you to bind together multiple catalog companies’ titles at the same time. The net effect of this is greater postal discounts. I’ve shaved off $.04 per catalog mailed using co-mailing. Ask your printer if they offer this service.
11. Trim off the excess: Postal and paper are the largest cost centers in catalog mailing. A catalog’s weight drives postal cost. A catalog’s trim size determines paper cost. By using a slightly smaller trim size for your catalog, you could shave off some of your paper and postal costs. Be careful here. Check with your printer to see that your catalog’s size is efficient on its presses, and whether you could save money if you cut your trim size a bit. Also consider your brand image in this decision. You don’t want your catalog to look too different to your customers. Brand recognition is important with so many catalogs competing for a customer’s wallet share.
12. Put your paper on a diet: Changing papers to a slightly lower basis weight can reduce your costs as well. Again, be careful that your catalog’s brand image is not affected. Test carefully before rolling out.
13. Reactivate old customers and inquiries: Have one of the catalog co-ops, such as Abacus, develop customer reactivation models for you. Co-ops can build a list based on your past customers and inquiries. This list is compared against recent buyer databases, and if the customers are in a buying frame of mind they go in to your mail plan. This is less costly than list rentals and the response usually is better than a cold list rental due to the fact that these customers have a prior relationship with you.
Note/caveat: Before you attempt to make any changes to your catalog or business model, always test, retest and run the numbers in advance. Don’t make global changes to your catalog or business model without it. The results can be deadly (as I’ve spoken about before ad-nauseum, so beware). Jim’s rule: always split test any new idea, your current catalog (the control) vs. your test (hypothesis) catalog.
Comments? Something I missed that you’ve tried? Disagree with me? Fire off your thoughts below.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing and a professor of direct marketing at Miami International University of Art and Design. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.