Narrow the Focus to Control the Big Picture
Targeted direct mail offers distributors a level of comfort, as well as an increase in profits.
Most distributors shudder at the thought of tackling high-volume, bulk direct mail projects, and with good reason—the labor that brings forth the fruit is pretty grueling work.
Targeted mailings to specific consumer groups and individuals, on the other hand, are contained, controlled, profitable opportunities that offer distributors the perfect transition into direct mail sales.
And, according to industry veterans Bob Boldig, president of Avant-Garde, Tullahoma, Tenn., and Paul Beegan, owner of B&W Press, Georgetown, Mass., targeted direct mail is a growing area that represents a true bright spot in the printing industry.
Both companies specialize in short runs (500 to 25,000 pieces) of personalized, targeted direct mail, bringing to market unique, cost-saving, value-added solutions.
Avant-Garde, for example, is known for its laser- and ink jet-compatible postcard-format designs, while B&W Press is unique in its one-pass, inline production of personalized, single-piece mailers.
"Manufacturers must consistently reevaluate where the market is going and offer the products that are headed in that direction," observed Boldig, "provided those products make sense for that manufacturer." (Luckily for Avant-Garde, adding new equipment to complement the existing forms presses was relatively easy.)
Boldig credited direct mail market trends in Europe—usually a precursor to what will soon follow in the United States—and end-users' shifting buying habits as dot matrix printers are being replaced by laser and ink jet technology for his decision to gear his product lines toward the newer applications.
Further influencing the direction of his company's product line, Boldig said, were the fears associated with receiving and opening Anthrax-tainted mail, as well as his research into the effectiveness of various mail formats. "The most read direct mail piece is a postcard," he reported, "and the most read postcard is one that is an unusual size. Making and mailing a card that is a little bigger than average doesn't cost a whole lot more, but the response rate will definitely increase."