The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail – Sin #1

…and how our clients avoid them and save thousands

After 20 years in direct mail I am still surprised to see some of the same problems in the industry today that we dealt with over a decade ago. Perhaps it is the constant influx of new people entering the market as experienced leadership moves up.  I guess not everyone can spend their entire working lives in the mailroom as I have, or even want to.

So, over the years we have built a list of the most common problems. We call this list The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail and I plan on giving you a “sin” at a time so it will be in chewable bites.

Direct Mail Sin #1

Pick the right paper for direct mail

The pursuit for the lowest print bid often means a printer will sacrifice quality on paper in order to get the job. It is understood that many printers have the exact same costs structures for their businesses so one of the most common tools of the trade is downgrading paper while trying to be as close to the specs you requested as possible.  We all understand this is done, we know it is part of the industry sales cycle as well. The trick is to not get burned by it.

The paper stocks used in direct mail processing are designed to meet requirements that other printed materials are not. Paper stock chosen for direct mailers should measure at least .009 thick in its final folded state and still absorb ink for postal addressing or laser personalization. For example, It is common for postcards to be printed on 90lb-110lb stock, or 9pt-14pt stock. These stocks vary in thickness and even a 10pt stock can measure less than .009 thick.  This measurement is critical to direct mail costs. It is the 5-10 cents per piece cost difference of automation rates and non-automation rates, as well as huge delays in delivery possible. Size does matter.

There is so much more to talk about as far as papers go in regard to laser personalization, perforated coupons, variable data printing, direct mailers and more. The main thing to remember is to have a new paper source tested and don’t just use it based on price. The money you save may cost you five times as much. CSG Direct always maintains a large selection of direct mail friendly papers. This comes from years and years of paper experience. This is another reason why a direct mailer that prints is so much more of a partner than a printer that just direct mails. Find your favorite papers and stick to them.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail series can be found in our Direct Mail Blog as each sin is posted.

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