How Much of Your Budget for Print Marketing Materials is Wasted?

July 9, 2020 by Leslie Barton

Most companies are wasting a good portion of what they spend on print marketing materials.

In one survey, marketers reported spending an average of 20% of their budget on print materials. They also admitted that 25% of their marketing literature is never used. That’s at least 5% of the budget that just went up in smoke.

How does this happen?

While many factors can contribute to wasteful spending on print promotion, the culprits tend to fall into five categories. Let’s look at the ‘usual suspects.’

1. Lack of insight into actual needs

print marketingMany companies routinely print large quantities of marketing literature with little idea of how much they really need. Why? Because they aren’t tracking inventory and usage patterns over time.

Without historical data, it’s hard to know what you’ll need in the future. So many marketers just reorder the same quantities or bump them up by some arbitrary percentage. As a result, they over-order data sheets, instruction guides, flyers and other print materials.

The solution: an online ordering and inventory management system that tracks every piece from the time it enters the system until final delivery. The data that’s captured at each step along the way generates reports that help you determine if, when and how much of a given piece to reorder.

2. Poor inventory control

According to the CMO Council, 70% of sales representatives order more print literature than they actually need. This usually happens when a company lacks order and inventory controls. Here’s a real-life example.

One of our clients prints an expensive catalog only once a year. With their previous marketing literature fulfillment provider, the entire year’s supply would vanish from inventory as soon as the catalogs became available. Their sales team would order and hoard large quantities of the catalog to avoid being caught out of stock. When the customer moved its fulfillment to Amware, we set up group allocations and individual order limits to ensure enough inventory to last the entire year.

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3. Redundant materials

Marketers are creative by nature, and developing a new promotional piece really gets the creative juices flowing. But printing a new piece just for the sake of having something new doesn’t justify the expense. Before you add another SKU to your inventory, determine whether you have other pieces addressing the same need that you can refresh or update. It is possible to have too much marketing collateral.

4. The printing process

When you anticipate reordering or creating new print marketing materials, you may automatically think in terms of offset printing. But digital printing (DP) has come a long way over the past two decades, with output quality that rivals many offset jobs.

DP also has distinct advantages over offset when it comes to smaller quantities and the ability to customize. Through judicious use of DP, you can eliminate waste in your inventory by printing just the quantity you need, when you need it, and save as much as 40% of your printing budget.

5. Using multiple printers, warehouses and distribution companies

The more vendors you add to your print marketing supply chain, the greater the likelihood of costly delays and errors. You’re also paying multiple parties to accomplish what is, essentially, one job – to get your messages to market. You can save both time and money by switching more of your materials to digital printing and moving their production to your sales literature fulfillment partner.

To Manage Your Budget, Manage Your Print Marketing Materials

Even in this digital age, brochures, catalogs and other print items are important to a successful marketing strategy. They help build and reinforce your brand, drive traffic to your website and can dramatically increase sales. But overspending on print marketing materials can work against your results by reducing ROI.

If you have a nagging feeling that your print budget could be doing more for less, contact Amware. Our fulfillment experts can help you identify areas of waste and optimize your print marketing spend.

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Filed Under: Marketing/Sales Literature Fulfillment