Posts tagged web-to-print

Mail Print Expands Facilities in Kansas City, Missouri

bulldozer 250x187 Mail Print Expands Facilities in Kansas City, Missouri Mail Print, a full-service printing and direct marketing company, is nearly doubling its Kansas City, Missouri facility from 40,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet in the Hunt Midwest Subtropolis located in the northeast region of Kansas City. The expansion is designed to support the merger completed earlier this year with Graphic Services Printing and L & L Manufacturing. The firm said its expansion includes a significant investment in equipment and technology and plans to create over 40 full-time jobs.

“We are excited about the future of print and integrated direct marketing services. The merger and addition of Larry Wittmeyer to our ownership group shows our commitment to growth and the future. ”Gina M. Danner, company CEO goes on to share, “Many people think that print is dead, but our experience shows that when print is integrated with online efforts like email, video, mobile and social media, organizations are able to drive more prospect and customer engagement. We know that when done right, integrated direct marketing makes our customers money.”

The state’s Department of Economic Development assisted Mail Print with its expansion plan, the Department of Economic Development and the City of Kansas City authorized a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.

Larry Wittmeyer, Vice President of Manufacturing at Mail Print goes on to say, “The EDC and Hunt Midwest were both instrumental in helping us navigate through the expansion plan. We are very excited to participate in the growth of our community.”

Expansion and reinvestment are not new to the company. In 2012 Mail Print underwent a $3 million round of equipment and technology investment and is looking at an investment round this year of similar size. Wittmeyer shares the vision, “Our goal is to create a leading edge organization that redefines the printed page in this region. By building on the vision set forth over the last 25 years by the Danner family, we are creating a company that drives customer engagement and delivers value to clients and team members.”

Mail Print is owned by Eric C. Danner, Gina M. Danner and Larry Wittmeyer, and today employs 90 team members.

About Mail Print

Mail Print specializes in the execution and delivery of complex, data-driven multi-channel direct marketing. Mail Print is a premier partner and test site for a number of equipment manufacturers and a variety of software providers. The company is also an industry leader in the latest direct marketing technologies, including Variable Data Printing, Personalized URLs, Web-to-Print and Print Automation workflows. Mail Print owns and operates a state of the art integrated technology and production facility and has served the direct mail and printing needs of the Midwest for over 25 years.

 

Marketing Management & Execution Solutions: So What Do You Call Them?

Reading a dictionary

Searching for the right words to describe the marketing automation, management, or exection systems you're looking for? Maybe we can help.

**This is a re-post from Mail Print’s early days of blogging.  Our readership has grown quite a bit since then, so I wanted to resurrect an early post.  Enjoy!

Marketing Asset Management. Print Automation. Marketing Automation. Communications Portals. Distributed Marketing. Web-To-Print. Confused yet?

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything fit in a nice, neat package that is easy to understand and explain?  In the world of marketing communications management, many people would think the above terms all mean the same thing.  I actually think they don’t.  I think there are so many terms because each means something a little different:

Marketing Asset Management:

Focuses on creating an online library of digital marketing assets such as logos, templates, stock photography, videos and radio ads  for use by centralized marketing staff or a network of remote users.

Distributed Marketing:

A term coined to define organizations that have many local markets that are marketed to differently, whether marketing strategy and execution is controlled by a central marketing department or the local stores and locations.

Web-to-Print:

The ability to order printed materials through an online printing management system. Typically, this reduces a company’s inventory waste and improves the customization available on the printed pieces.

Communications Portal:

A central repository for ordering and downloading all types of marketing communications and assets, including email, logos, direct mail, radio commercials, fliers, buck slips, etc.  Marketing Communications Portalsare very useful for distributed marketing organizations.

Print Automation:

Eliminates human intervention in creating printed pieces.    This could be obtained via a web-to-print application or communications portal that also employs print automation, or could be a standalone system that creates printed pieces automatically based upon data streams and live data feeds.

Marketing Automation:

The process of triggering marketing communications to a specific individual or audience segment without human intervention.  This differs from print automation in that the automated marketing campaigns could include email, direct mail and other channels, by themselves or combined.

I’m sure there are many more terms and buzz words that I haven’t noted here. Just like any rapidly advancing technology solution, new terms are created every day.  The most important thing to understand is what you really need in a solution, regardless of what it is called.


Retire Your 1980s Marketing Practices Along Side Your INXS Album

record, outdated, marketingThe 1980s Australian band, INXS (pronounced “in excess”) has yet to retire though critics plea that they reconsider.  The band’s name summarizes the excesses of that period, which include plenty of waste in the marketing industry — mass mailings, print overruns, static, soon-to-be-tossed collateral pieces, and one-way, non-triggered communication.

The spoilage and fallout of living to extremes or marketing to the masses has led us to today’s fine-tuned world of print on demand, variable data printing (VDP), and print automation. The pendulum has swung toward tighter controls, two-way communications, well-timed incentives, and just enough materials to get the job done and the results needed. Are you working smart or stuck in the world of give me 5,000 pieces instead of the 4,500 pieces really needed because it only costs me another $50 printing, one-way conversations, all delivered through one-channel vs. highly engaging multi-media campaigns?

When executed with tightly refined parameters and a laser-focused prospect list, VDP with multi-channel marketing is the new sensation because it generates higher results despite the smaller reach in most instances. Today’s marketing tools and digital print pieces reduce the cost of print communication by as much as 90% —shaving off the bottom half of the pyramid below.

With print on demand, there is no need to warehouse materials and no inventory obsolescence. Supplement print on demand with print automation and you also omit the last three line items at the base of the pyramid: external creative, internal creative, and fulfillment/distribution.

Printing, Communication, Marketing cost, obsolescence, cost of communication
Just in Time Printing Omits Waste

If you’ve ever had to throw away 7,000 image brochures because of a change in leadership, you’ve felt the pain of offset printing in today’s fast moving, ever-changing business climate.  It is Murphy’s Law that as soon as the annual report or other key piece gets printed, something will already be out of date.

Refine Your List, Blanketing Populations is So 80s

If you haven’t determined who your customer is, you can spend a lot of money blanketing populations of people and be missing those potential customers who are actually interested in your business.

If you’re pulling data from your internal database for your mailings, make sure your data is scrubbed and solid. A data quality survey revealed:

  • While 96.2 percent of organizations view data accuracy as an essential issue, nearly one-third of them don’t enforce it.
  • More than half of the respondents claim that at least 6 percent or more of the important information in their database is inaccurate or completely missing.
  • 63 percent of respondents say that five to thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted as a result of bad data.

If you’re using an outside list company or broker for your marketing project, make sure it’s been cleaned or scrubbed (the process of detecting and removing or correcting any information in a database that has some sort of error).

Errors can be the result of human data entry error, merging of two databases, a lack of company-wide or industry-wide data coding standards, or due to old systems that contain inaccurate or outdated information.

When in doubt about the accuracy and deliverability of your list, hire a mailing expert or partner with a reputable mail house to provide:

  • Data Normalization
  • Data Migration
  • USPS CASS-Certified Address Cleaning, Parsing (Splitting)
  • USPS NCOA Processing, Duplicate Record Removal (AKA: “De-Dupe” or “Purge”), Data Standardization & Reformat
  • Genderization
  • Casing

Finally, make sure you’re using the tools of the 21st century in your marketing practices today and have retired the shotgun approach of the 80s. This is a period of refinement, not excess.

 

Behold the Power of Postcards

direct mail and postcardsWant to start the New Year with a spike in business, web traffic, or sales? You can unequivocally without fail by mailing postcards. Do it now by following some simple guidelines and you can generate all the sales leads you want.

In today’s high tech world where social media campaigns and multi-channel campaigns that sometimes can take months to develop are the rage, we forget low-tech postcards still work every time when executed correctly.

The father of advertising, David Ogilvy, calls postcards his secret weapon in his book, Ogilvy on Advertising. After just a few months in advertising, a client on a limited budget tested Ogilvy’s wherewithal at the ripe age of 37. This client walked into Ogilvy’s London agency wanting to advertise the opening of his hotel with just $500 to spend. Ogilvy bought $500 worth of postcards and sent invitations to everybody he found in the local telephone directory. The hotel opened with a full house. “I had tasted blood”, says Ogilvy in his Confessions.

Factor in these 10 must dos into your postcard mailing and your phone will ring as well as your company’s cash register:

  1. A clear, bold headline
  2. A graphic that supports the message
  3. Color that pops
  4. Subheads that lead into text
  5. Benefits vs. features
  6. A compelling, irresistible offer
  7. Your company logo (not too big now)
  8. A call to action
  9. Contact information (yes it can include a QR code)
  10. Return address

As for industry averages, the DMA analyzed 1,122 industry-specific campaigns and determined that the average response rate for direct mail was 2.61%. Postcard production coordinators see rates higher than 5% with a well directed postcard to send people to the web. Retail stores and catalogs can pull ROI as high as 7% with postcards.

Want to get really jazzed about the power per penny of a postcard? Yale Appliance mailed postcards at a cost of $8,000 and pocketed $2.3 million in sales in one-day. Pull out your Mac book and get your postcard campaign cooking.

Know your target audience, pull your list, design a simple postcard with a powerful graphic and call to action and start the New Year off by generating goodwill and good cash flow. Postcards are direct mail marketers best kept secret.

 

Assessment Guide: 10 Questions to Uncover Ways to Increase Marketing Efficiency

marketing efficiencies, variable data printing

Is it time to evaluate your marketing routine and dispose of obsolescence?

Last Week we discussed the results from a CMO Council Research entitled “Mapping + Tracking: The Optimal Marketing Supply Chain“.  This overview pointed out four key actions marketers could take to Obliterating Obsolescence:

While those are basic strategies any business can employ, we also know that before going down that path it makes sense to do some straightforward self assessment.  Spend some time with the questions below and answer openly and honestly.  As a marketing leader you are always looking for ways to ensure your organization gets better and better.

Marketing Operations Self-Assessment

  1. What inventoried items have become obsolete?  Why?
  2. What regular processes do members of your marketing team do that are wastes of time and skill set?
  3. If you could change the way you buy ads, deploy email, manage printed materials, trigger direct mail, hire talent, create copy, or plan your next move, what would that look like?
  4. How could you streamline your workday?
  5. What marketing processes have failed in the past?
  6. Do you ever cross your fingers, hope, and pray that nothing goes wrong when deploying a campaign?  If the answer is yes, it goes on the list.
  7. Would it improve your results if marketing campaigns could be deployed faster?  If so, what does an ideal timeframe look like?
  8. Is the work flow in your department planned, or hap-hazard?  How about between departments?
  9. What have you done more than twice this week?
  10. If you could waive your magic wand and have everything in your marketing department run smoothly and perfectly what would it look like?  What technology would be in place?  What people would you have on your team? What results would you be reporting to your superiors?

I personally love question #10.  Question #10 allows you to create the perfect world and once you can envision that world you can start to impact the day to day reality.  Spend lots of time on #10.  Create a real vision for what you can do and start chipping away.

My daddy always said if you don’t know where you are going then it doesn’t really matter what road you take.  Question #10 is where you are going AND what road you will take depends on your resources and how you answered questions 1-9.

Now comes the challenging part.  If you aren’t sure what your answer would be to #10, call us.  At Mail Print we have helped many companies realize great results implementing new marketing technologies and procedures that they didn’t even know were possible.  Read below about a nationally known, multi-million dollar company that has utilized a Marketing Asset Management system to unify their marketing message and cut-out obsolescence.

Ferrellgas Thumb Assessment Guide: 10 Questions to Uncover Ways to Increase Marketing Efficiency Ferrellgas, a Fortune 1000 energy provider, needed to manage marketing for their 900-plus locations more quickly and efficiently. In addition, they needed to increase the speed of their direct mail marketing production to ensure their time-sensitive messaging reached customers on time. Learn how Mail Print’s Marketing Communications Portal helped Ferrellgas reduce management time by 300 hours per month and speed production times from 10 days to 24 hours.

What’s your Role in the Marketing Supply Chain?

integrated marketing, marketing management

Find money in your Marketing Supply Chain by getting rid of obsolescence.

Research entitled “Mapping + Tracking: The Optimized Marketing Supply Chain” by the CMO Council, depicts a threatening picture of inefficiency and waste in the Marketing Supply Chain. This post summarizes this great research.

As marketers seek to provide the timeliest and freshest content to customers and prospects alike, old, over-ordered or un-utilized materials tend to be stored, destroyed or ignored, left to occupy costly space in offices and warehouses. High levels of waste can generally be attributed to limited access to material usage information, a lack of visibility into the operational process, and a general lack of forecasting and operational rigor. All of these factors combine to create an epidemic of waste that can be summed up most accurately as obsolescence.

Obsolescence is not excessive ordering of un-used collateral. Excess materials are merely a visible symptom. In fact, it is what cannot be seen—what is behind the scenes and invisible—that makes an indelible impact on marketing effectiveness and can derail, detract or damage the customer experience.

The shelf-life of marketing consumables and promotional materials has never been shorter or more challenging to manage. Marketers are spending billions of dollars producing, warehousing and shipping marketing literature, packaging, documentation, point-of-sale displays, premiums, giveaways, signage and hand outs. How well this portion of Marketing Operations is managed and controlled can materially impact go-to-market effectiveness, as well as the optimal use of marketing dollars in creating business value and competitive advantage.

The Ramifications of Marketing Supply Chain Inefficiency

There are two key aspects to investigate while discussing impact of obsolescence: the impact on budget and the impact on customer or prospect experience. Marketers admit to the criticality of content, yet 51 percent also admit to having sent out old materials containing out of date content. Why you may ask? For a small few, warehousing error (2 percent) can be blamed. 61 percent did not have new materials ready in time and 23 percent of marketers did not know that irrelevant, old material was sent. Are these marketers not interested in the customer or prospect experience? Or could it be more likely that they are without the tools and processes they need to get the visibility they desire?

Staging a Priority Shift

If content is constantly updating and changing to deliver the most relevant and timely information to prospects and customers, why are marketers not applying more rigor to managing the flow of these critical elements within the supply chain? Most simply do not view the reduction of obsolescence as a key priority (50 percent). As one marketer stated, “Waste is just taboo as a can of worms. To open it holds little reward and no compensation, so there is little motivation to start down this road.”

Yet transformation is on the minds of savvy marketers dedicated to operational efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, there are very real strategies and opportunities to engage that can work to streamline the Marketing Supply Chain.

Obliterating Obsolescence

The opportunity lies with marketers to transform the Marketing Supply Chain operations and make significant strides to reduce obsolescence and in turn, redeploy budget that was once wasted on out-of-date materials.

  1. Leverage digital printing strategies – including Print On Demand (POD): Digital printing technology has come of age, enabling economic production of all quantity ranges. Smaller production runs result in a lower total cost of ownership by reducing capital investment in inventory, storage charges, and waste. A POD strategy can further reduce costs by eliminating inventory, storage, and in-bound freight costs. POD also enables more current and customizable content through the application of Web-to-Print and variable data printing (VDP).  Marketers can send personalized messages with up-to-date content, and eliminate the fear of materials with out of date or off -strategy content being stockpiled in inventory.
  2. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Marketers are working more closely with cross functional teams in finance, sales, procurement, warehousing and operations to better forecast and eliminate over ordering. Far too many marketers indicate that orders tend to revolve around a “cost per piece” target or guesses at utilization levels. Through collaboration across various functional areas, marketing will be able to better forecast, monitor and manage Marketing Supply Chain operations.
  3. Go-Green to Gain-Green: When it comes to the reduction of obsolescence, the more impact made on waste reduction, the greater the green-gains. Obsolescence creates an environmental impact that goes beyond paper.  A lack of process, visibility and measurement in the Marketing Supply Chain often necessitates rush ordering which creates additional shipping, handling and logistical demands that all impact emissions, natural resources and carbon footprint. By applying a clear strategy that is focused on reducing obsolescence, marketers can transform the Marketing Supply Chain into a greener operation that optimizes spend and operates as a global green steward.
  4. Bringing in the Big Marketing Supply Chain Brains: If you are not good at developing process, bringing in a partner or business process consultant is certainly a valid option.  As with all self-improvement programs, you should first start by taking a hard look at yourself.  The first step in the process is to identify where marketing operations can be improved.  By completing a self-assessment, you’ll identify your marketing process hiccups and what you could be doing if those hiccups were streamlined or eliminated. From there you can decide if you can tackle the improvements yourself, call in strategic sourcing or consult with a partner outside of the company.

Marketers must begin to look at individual symptoms of inefficiency with the Marketing Supply Chain in order to optimize budget allocation, operational management and delivery of the customer experience. Obsolescence is a serious challenge to marketers as they looks to maximize budget and operations. The good news is that a streamlined Marketing Supply Chain is possible. In these critical times where customer engagement is top of mind and budgets are restricting, waste and unchecked obsolescence are no longer issues left to other departments or hidden in a marketing closet.  It’s time for marketers to take action.

Watch our post next week for a Marketing Operations Self Assessment Guide – 10 Questions to Help in Uncovering Opportunity for Efficiency in Marketing Operations.

Is a Marketing Asset Management System Right for My Company?

direct marketing management, marketing automation

Shrunken marketing resources? Marketing asset management may be just what you need.

Prompted by growing demands from CEO’s and CFO’s for greater accountability, marketers have begun to focus on improving the efficiency of marketing operations.  They now recognize that improving the productivity of marketing operations can be a powerful way to stretch marketing dollars.  The equation is simple.  The dollars saved by improving the efficiency of marketing operations can be redirected to campaigns and programs that generate increased revenues.

One area of marketing operations that offers huge opportunities for improvement involves the procurement, production, storage, and distribution of marketing collateral documents.  This part of marketing operations typically produces a significant amount of waste and is filled with processes that are highly manual and inefficient.

Reduce Cost By Streamlining Marketing Processes

To eliminate these wastes and inefficiencies, a growing number of companies are implementing marketing asset management (MAM) systems that automate the process of ordering, producing, and fulfilling requests for marketing assets and materials.  In the right circumstances, these systems produce substantial cost savings and streamline the processes that surround the production and handling of marketing communications.    This chart depicts the streamlined process using Marketing Asset Management:

Marketing Collateral Supply Chain

To read more about how automated marketing asset management systems work and the factors that determine whether investing in an asset management system would be a good move for your business download “Is a Marketing Asset Management System Right for My Company?”

Is a Marketing Asset Management System Right for My Company?

Cost Justifying the Investment in New Marketing Systems

Hidden Costs of Marketing Collateral

Identify the invisible costs to justify the investment in new marketing technology.

As companies consider an investment in marketing asset management , Web to Print, communications portals, marketing automation, or other marketing systems, they eventually get to the stage where financial justification is required.  Based upon years of guiding companies through these calculations, we are proud to offer a guide to help you determine the true cost/benefit of these systems.

Download “How Much Are You Really Spending On Marketing Collateral?”

Although this paper was written specifically for marketing asset management and collateral management, it is really relevant to the majority of new marketing technologies on the market.  In this concise paper (it is really a quick read), you’ll find ideas and plans to justify the investment in new marketing systems.  The three main ideas are:

  • Learn how to identify invisible costs in your organization
  • Review a real life case study of a company saving over $80,000 per year
  • Develop a cost savings estimate for your company using the template and example provided

 You can download this resource here:  http://www.mailprint.com/mam-cost-savings.htm

Cost of Marketing Collateral

Download Report: How Much Are You Really Spending on Marketing Collateral?

Soft Vs Hard Cost Savings

Here’s something to think about that’s not included in the white paper: whether or not to make a marketing technology investment is often a question of how human resources are utilized.  A substantial portion of the savings comes from freeing up human resources.  Some companies look at this as a “soft cost” and simply redeploy the freed up human resources on activities that are more valuable to the company than deploying marketing materials.  Companies that are looking to reduce “hard cost” create a plan to reduce human resource costs through attrition, promotions, transfers or staff reduction.

Human Resource Planning Plays a Vital Role

An important second part of the cost justification process is to know how and what you plan to do with these soon-to-be “additional” human resources.  Plans that are presented without giving clear insight into how you will handle this are often disqualified as fluffy or inaccurate, and can ruin the possibility of gaining new marketing systems.

Print 2.0: Smart Print that Works Harder

Multi-channel campaign recipient

“By mixing the message across different media you increase the likelihood that the recipient will see the message.” – Dr. John Leininger, Professor of Graphic Communications, Clemson University

This is a guest post by Lorrie Bryan, a writer and public relations professional based in Atlanta.

Today, smart companies understand how to leverage the inherent value of traditional print with Internet technology. The old adage says, “Work smarter, not harder.” Today’s print (we’re calling it Print 2.0) melds the virtues and value of traditional print with the intelligence and efficiency derived from digital technology to create smarter integrated marketing. Here are the critical success factors to put marketing Print 2.0 to work for you:

1. Know your customer.

Successful marketing with old-fashioned print ads or high-tech QR codes begins with a thorough understanding of the person you are trying to engage. “Know how they behave, know them inside and out,” says Jonathan Turitz, creative director at VSA Partners, a premier graphic design and brand strategy consultancy. “All media is being tested in today’s world. Because we are so inundated with information, everyone is working harder to be heard. The key is to be smarter.”

2. Make your message as relevant as possible.

Since there is a proven correlation between the relevance of the message and the response rate, more and more direct mail pieces are utilizing variable data printing (VDP) technology for personalization, versioning and customization. “The per-piece cost for VDP is higher,” notes Cooper. “But the higher response rates are causing marketers to think about the cost of printing differently. They stop thinking about the cost per piece and start thinking about the cost per response. Variable data printing costs more per piece but each piece can be significantly more relevant. Increased relevance means greater response and ultimately that leads to a greater return on investment.”

>> Want to learn more about how you can use variable data?  Watch this video on advanced variable data marketing, which includes three case studies.

3. Use print in tandem with other marketing channels.

Although Internet ads strive to be relevant, they are frequently perceived as intrusive, and many Web users tend to ignore them. Many unsolicited e-mails are sent straight to the spam file. A multi-channel approach to marketing has the best chance of being successful.

Dr. John Leininger, professor of Graphic Communications at Clemson University, says he tells his graphic communications students they should reach out to their clients in a variety of ways utilizing print as an integral element of a multi-channel campaign along with PURLs, QR Codes and e-mail. “By mixing the message across different media you increase the likelihood that the recipient will see the message. Many studies have shown that direct mail combined with cross-media in a multichannel campaign produces higher response rates.”

4. Utilize digital tracking technology to optimize content.

Not only are multi-touch campaigns more effective, they have the potential to increase efficiency and significantly reduce marketing spending by tracking responses and refining databases. Referred to as “print with intelligence built in,” PURLS and QR codes help segment prospects appropriately so that marketing strategy can be more specifically tailored and communication can be further personalized.

>> For more information, check out Creating Trackable QR Codes.

5. Reduce cost by utilizing interactive marketing storefronts and print automation.

“It can all be automated,” Leininger says. Unlike mass mailings and generic blasts, automation programs offer tailored efficiency. All types of direct marketing touches: postcards, e-mails, PURLs, and text messages can be personalized and sent at designated time intervals based on predetermined parameters. Online ordering systems streamline this process for small marketing departments, as well as for large companies with distributed locations and sales forces.

The integration of marketing strategies and the evolution of print technology have led to the evolution of print, the emergence of Print 2.0.

>> How is your company taking advantage of Print 2.0? Please share your insights by commenting on this post.

Recovering Your Marketing Budget with an Optimized Marketing Supply Chain

Wastebasket full of dollar bills on desk

Throwing away marketing budget on obsolete or wasted materials? Optimizing your marketing supply chain allows you to save and redeploy those dollars.

There is an epidemic that threatens the Marketing Supply Chain. The CMO Council’s recent report “Mapping + Tracking: The Optimized Marketing Supply Chain” paints a clear picture of inefficiency and waste in marketing operations.

As marketers seek to provide the most timely and fresh content to customers and prospects, old, over-ordered or un-utilized marketing and sales materials tend to be stored, destroyed or ignored, left to occupy costly space in offices and warehouses. As the CMO Council discovered, high levels of waste can generally be attributed to limited access to material usage information, a lack of visibility into the process used to create the materials, and a general lack of forecasting and managing current and future material usage. All of these factors are creating an epidemic of waste that can be summed up most accurately as obsolescence.

Obsolescence Threatens Both Marketing Budgets and Customer Interactions

There are two key aspects to investigate while discussing impact of obsolescence: the impact on budget and the impact on customer or prospect experience. Marketers admit to the importance of communicating with relevant, timely messaging, yet 51 percent also admit to having sent out old materials containing out of date content. Why? According to the CMO Council study, 61 percent did not have new materials ready in time, and 23 percent of marketers did not know that irrelevant, old material was sent.

This seems to indicate that while marketers care about the customer or prospect experience, they are likely without the tools and processes they need to eliminate marketing obsolescence.

Why Aren’t Marketers Reacting Faster?

We know most marketers are highly focused on both protecting their budget and the prospect/customer experience.  So why are marketers not applying more rigor to managing the flow of their critical marketing materials and sales collateral within the supply chain? As the study found, most simply do not view the reduction of obsolescence as a key priority (50 percent). As one marketer stated, “Waste is just taboo and a can of worms. To open it holds little reward and no compensation, so there is little motivation to start down this road.”

However in the current business climate, where organizations are cutting budgets and trying to run more lean and nimble, savvy marketers are seeing opportunities to redeploy budget that was once wasted on over-produced, out-of-date materials.  Let’s look at four elements of putting in place your optimized marketing supply chain.

Four Elements For Obliterating Obsolescence

1) Leverage Digital Printing Strategies:

Digital printing technology has come of age, enabling economic production of all quantity ranges. Smaller production runs result in a lower total cost of ownership for your marketing and sales materials by reducing your investment in inventory, storage charges, and waste. A Print On Demand (POD) strategy can further reduce costs by eliminating inventory and storage costs completely. POD also enables more current and customizable content through the application of variable data printing (VDP).  Marketers can send personalized messages with up-to-date content, and eliminate the fear of materials with out of date or off-strategy content being stockpiled in inventory.

CASE STUDY: See how Ferrellgas reduced marketing costs by $80,000 using marketing and print management >>

2) Cross-Functional Collaboration:

Marketers are working more closely with cross functional teams in finance, sales, procurement, warehousing and operations to better forecast and eliminate over-ordering. Far too many marketers indicate that orders tend to revolve around a “cost per piece” target or guesses at utilization levels. Through collaboration across various functional areas, marketing will be able to better forecast, monitor and manage Marketing Supply Chain operations.

3) Go-Green to Gain-Green:

When it comes to the reduction of obsolescence, the more impact made on waste reduction, the greater the green-gains. Obsolescence creates an environmental impact that goes beyond paper.  A lack of process, visibility and measurement in the Marketing Supply Chain often necessitates rush ordering which creates additional shipping, handling and logistical demands that all impact emissions, natural resources and carbon footprint. By applying a clear strategy that is focused on reducing obsolescence, marketers can transform the Marketing Supply Chain into a greener operation that optimizes spend and reduces environmental impact.

4) Start With a Self-Assessment:

When you’re ready to move forward with optimizing your company’s marketing supply chain, the first step is taking a good hard look in the mirror. Check out Rhonda Basler’s post It’s Time to Engineer the Marketing Process for a great list of questions you can ask yourself to quickly identify issues with your current marketing supply chain.

Finally, there’s good news: optimizing your marketing supply chain doesn’t have to be a one-person gig; it may be a great idea to bring in a partner or business process consultant to work with you on analysis and implementation.

What challenges are you experiencing? How are you improving your marketing management? Join the conversation by adding a comment.