The direct mail campaign your marketing team has been working on for the past month is ready to go. The letters, the OE’s, the brochures, the calendars, the postcards, the magnet chotsky, the return envelopes—all the bits and pieces. The overall concept is quite brilliant, you think, and you’re expecting a high rate of return on your investment.
The only thing to do now is get it in the mail. It looks really, really good on your desktop screen. And you want it to look just as good—even better—when you print it. It’s time to find the right production agency to partner with.
A great production agency can bring your campaign to life on paper—in the most cost efficient way for your company. Here are a few things your production agency can help you with when it comes to printing:
- Based on your mailing pieces and your artistic vision, offer recommendations on types of paper stock and mail carriers (envelopes). Then, they will shop their network to get that paper for you at the best price.
- This seems simple, but sometimes folks forget about this part: make sure your pieces actually fit in the mail carrier and return envelopes.
- Your production agency may offer advice on tweaking your package dimensions to help you save money, making sure your format is in line with USPS requirements.
- They should be aware of the latest techniques and trends.
Postage can be on of the most expensive parts of a direct mail program. Your production agency should know all the ins and outs of postage and delivery, and they will have all the knowledge needed to get you the best prices. Besides having a USPS optimized package, this is where you can save the most.
- Your production agency should perform an analysis of your data and mail package and develop a strategy for maximum discounts and optimal delivery.
- Prepping your mail first gets you a big discount with USPS. Commingling is one way to do this, and your production partner should have experience with this.
- Sorting—like commingling, is a way to sort mail and save on postage.
- Drop shipping—here, your production agency ships your mail to the main postal hubs, skipping the expense of taking it to the local post office. This will save you money and get your campaign to your customer quickly.
- Mail tracking—you’ll want to know that your mail arrived at its destination.
It’s an extra bonus if your production agency also analyzes data before the job goes into production. Here, we can identify issues you may not have considered, as well as ensure that addresses are up to date, names are correct, eliminate duplicate mailings, and potentially save you on postage costs.
Another thing to look out for is the production agency’s willingness to be flexible—can they adapt to your changing schedule? How much time do they need in advance to make the change? Ideally, your agency should be able to adjust to changes quickly.
Sum it up
In short, when you’re shopping for a direct mail production agency, you want to look for experience, industry knowledge, and data management. Keep in mind, production companies are limited to their own equipment and schedulers. A production agency, on the other hand, has unlimited resources to get you the best quality and the best prices, and has the ability to meet your deadlines with flexibility.
If you’re currently looking for a production agency, give EdgeMark a call today!