Sending out a direct mail piece may seem like a simple matter of printing the piece, stuffing it in an envelope and then dropping it off at the post office. It is not always so easy, however, as there are innumerable details that must be attended to. This post points out some of the nitty gritty things people do not think to ask their direct mail vendor. The choice of the right vendor can make all the difference in how easily your project moves forward.
Here is a breakdown of somethings people forget to ask when they are looking for print and mail services:
1. Does the company have expertise and experience?
Direct mail campaigns are not all the same. That is, they are not a product that you buy off the shelf, but rather a customized production process specific to each customer. The best print and mail services combine expertise and experience to personalize the experience and help their customers get the most ROI out of their project.
2. Who will be your single point of contact?
For best results, a vendor should provide a single point of contact at their company for their customer. This person will oversee communication between your team and their own. Every detail of the project – from general questions to specific color changes in the artwork – should funnel through this conduit so nothing gets lost in the process. In addition, a single point of contact puts a human voice and face to the process – a not inconsiderable factor when it comes to delivering superior customer service.
3. Do they have in-house industry experts?
The best print and mail services pair their clients with in-house industry experts who not only understand the intricacies of direct mail campaigns but are also have extensive knowledge of your industry. These people can help your company avoid any regulatory problems and comply with any restrictions that may arise with your direct mail campaign. In addition, they can approve of any new marketing products or trends that are developing in your industry.
4. Will you have your own FTP?
Provisions should be made to provide an FTP (file transfer protocol) site to exchange the initial and intermediate images and designs for the piece as well as to get a final sign off and authorization before going to the press. The utilization of this technology tremendously speeds up the process as large files can be electronically transferred instead of having to be hand-delivered.
5. Do they understand the importance of accurate campaign timing?
Another best practice is to accurately coordinate the timing of a direct mail campaign. Many campaigns are time-sensitive as they must synchronize with other marketing offers either in-store or in other media. It takes an experienced professional to know what can and cannot be done in a certain time frame – and to ensure that a direct mail campaign is executed on schedule.