You Too Can Sell Direct Mail
Take small, manageable steps on the way to big direct mail profits.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. A step-by-step approach can turn seemingly impossible tasks into manageable projects. That's something forms distributors need to remember when considering the direct mail market, where high-volume, high-dollar projects can be a bit daunting.
Dick Kuntz, president of GBF Graphics, Skokie, Ill., pointed out that forms sales are fairly straightforward and tend to repeat, while direct mail almost always in-volves new copy—not to mention a proofing process and press checks.
"If a forms distributor gets a $10,000 or a $15,000 order, it's been a good day, but a $10,000 direct mail account isn't worth the trouble—unless it's a steady customer or a test case," said Kuntz. He added that direct mail costs are typically never less than $40,000 or $50,000, and actually tend to fall in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.
Dan Reid, marketing manager for Thorn Hill Printing, Freedom, Pa., offered this perspective. Since the printing costs are approximately 12 precent to 15 percent of the overall cost of a direct mail job, $5,000 to $7,000 would be the cost on a $30,000 to $40,000 job, and the remainder of the cost goes to postage and handling.
"Forms distributors are very accustomed to working with print orders for that amount," Reid said.
Pushing the Envelope
When it comes to making it in direct mail, Reid believes the key is for distributors to form strong partnerships with the right suppliers and to ask customers the right questions.
Some of those questions might be the total number of mailers, the number of inserts (typically two or three), if anything is going to be lasered—such as a letter or membership card—and if window envelopes or business reply envelopes are needed. Chances are the customer has experience with direct mail and knows what's involved. It's also likely that the distributor and customer worked together before.