Narrow the Focus to Control the Big Picture
But, with laser and ink jet technology, as well as in-house databases, many end-users can send marketing messages right from their offices if desired, leaving the mailing houses out of the loop for additional cost containment.
Occasionally, distributors even handle personalization at their own facilities for additional profit-boosting rewards. Beegan added that some orders are for long runs of generic pieces, which are shipped to mailing houses and then personalized and addressed on an as-needed basis, for end-users who don't want to be inundated by huge mailings.
Boldig explained that targeted marketing is perfectly tailored for independent distributors. "Not only are the big direct mail houses not interested in the numbers generated by short-run personalized mailings," he said, "but the small- to medium-size businesses that utilize this type of personalized direct mail are also exactly the market independent distributors were meant to serve."
Boldig went on to say that unlike large bulk mail projects where customers frequently dictate pricing, "targeted mailings offer better margins and better relationships with customers, and the scope of the projects is something independent distributors can easily get their hands around."
Distributors oriented to purchase order-type selling will need to learn the nuances of solution selling. "Targeted direct mail still takes a lot of time, involves test runs and requires calling on marketing people rather than purchasing agents," explained Boldig.
He also touched on the fact that many distributors have a tendency to cling to the familiar and avoid exploring new areas. However, he reassured distributors that, whether they know it or not, these are products that they already understand. "This is printing produced by running rolls on web presses and then sheeting the product—something forms distributors are quite familiar with, including registration issues," he said. "These mailers involve many of the same factors encountered when selling statements, checks, invoices and unit sets, only the markups on these products are unbelievable."