This is the fifth in a series of blogs focused on getting the most from your marketing fulfillment program. It includes insights drawn from an Amware-sponsored Mighty Guide titled 8 Experts on Marketing Fulfillment. You can download the eBook here.
Do you know what companies like as much as they like making money? Saving money! And that’s a challenge your marketing fulfillment partner can help you with.
As Supriya Raina, director of marketing for pharmaceutical manufacturer Piramal Critical Care, frames it, outsourcing fulfillment means marketers no longer have to struggle with inefficient in-house programs that waste time and money. Experienced vendors already have the equipment, staff and best practices needed for this critical portion of the marketing supply chain. Partnering with a third-party vendor allows marketing professionals to concentrate on other, core responsibilities, including delivering more sophisticated programs to create meaningful relationships with customers.
So how, exactly, can a good fulfillment partner help you reduce costs? In large part, through attention to fundamentals. Let’s look at some of the specifics.
Getting Your Inventory Under Control
Marketing collateral has a way of proliferating, so it’s not unusual to have overlapping content among documents, which means some pieces don’t get used. Then there are the pieces that go to waste because of a change in product design, product replacement, price changes, new terms and conditions, regulatory requirements or similar business realities. Finally, there are materials that are for one-time (e.g., a special sale) or seasonal usage that either occupy expensive shelf space or end up in the trash.
One of the best ways to avoid these situations? According to Patrick Swisher, program manager for Billtrust, a B-to-B provider of payment cycle management solutions, it’s keeping marketing materials updated.
“Most marketing departments are looking at pushing out new collateral to keep engaged with their prospect base or their customers,” he notes. To avoid redundancy and resulting waste, his marketing fulfillment partner has set up a process that regularly checks with Billtrust on their existing collateral, to ensure that it’s necessary, fresh and accurate. “They make sure that the materials they put together are still current or whether changes need to be made before they push out the next batch,” Swisher says.
Offset printing is time- and labor-intensive, which means it’s expensive. Often, marketers print large quantities to reduce the cost per piece. But printing too much can lead to obsolescence, which means money wasted.
Supriya Raina has been there. “In today’s world, things become outdated very fast. Your logo could change, your product label could change, or your message could change,” she says. You could print 10,000 brochures, use 6,000 of them, and then find that some of the copy needs to be edited, leaving you with 4,000 obsolete documents.
The solution, says Brian Kemp, director of marketing and compliance technology for insurance giant Nationwide, is judicious use of digital printing. Digital print is ideal for shorter production runs, materials that change frequently, personalized materials and pieces requiring multiple versions (for example, different languages for distribution to different countries). Using digital print in the right circumstances can save as much as 40 percent over offset.
“We do a lot of analysis and decide whether it’s more cost efficient to use offset versus print-on-demand, based on volume order history” and other factors, Kemp says. His team also periodically revisits their initial cost benefit analysis. “If we see low utilization, we will move it over to print-on-demand to help save money and reduce waste.”
In addition to choosing the best production process, a good fulfillment partner can help you do more with existing budgets by suggesting design modifications, notes Beth Moorhead, marketing consultant for Legrand AV Technologies, manufacturer of display solutions for audiovisual presentations. “If you change up your design in a certain way, it may be more cost-effective to print, cheaper to mail and you can get it out the door much more quickly,” driving additional growth you might not have been able to achieve otherwise, she says.
Gathering Good Data
As “keeper” of your marketing collateral, Amware can provide you with important data to help you better manage your inventory, including days on hand, backorder rates, monthly usage and order frequency. This information can help ensure that you maintain adequate, but not overstocked, inventory levels, as well as to set reorder points to avoid rush reprints or out-of-stock situations.
Diving deeper into your data can also help you identify troubling trends, like that region, office or individual who always orders way too much collateral. When you find patterns like these, you can set up automated ordering privileges to limit the number, amount or total cost of items ordered; limit access altogether; require authorization for expedited printing, and institute chargebacks, among other controls.
These are just a few of the ways a good fulfillment company can help your marketing budget work harder. For more tips and insights, download our new eBook, 8 Experts on Marketing Fulfillment or contact Amware and speak with our fulfillment experts.