Marketing Materials and the Circulation Director: Planning Ahead is the Key
When it comes to circulation materials, working with a single printer is a little less harried and has the added bonus of cost effectiveness built in. “Circ materials are ordered in large quantities, which means more press time, so the life of the job becomes longer,” says Sherry Sanchez, director of promotion purchasing at Hachette Filipacchi.
“I think that we do get some real leverage on buying because, for example, since we’re servicing 16 magazines, we can combine our purchase for materials. We also use more generic materials and we don’t have to do plate printing, which saves a lot of money.”
Circulation directors are responsible for designing and printing a myriad of materials including insert cards, billing and renewals, premiums and direct mail packages. Although their tasks are numerous, they have the advantage of being able to plan well in advance.
“Generally speaking, marketing and event directors often have to hand out projects that require a quicker turnaround time,” says consultant Nicole Bowman. “With circ marketing, you have planned, or at least anticipated, your mail volumes. We’re more scheduled, so nothing has to be turned around that day. And because we do plan ahead we can gang print projects together.”
But what a circ director does have to worry about is finding a printer that is reliable and familiar with the schedule.
“Although cost is very important, it’s also crucial to keep in mind existing relationships,” says Lori Birney, circulation director of Philadelphia Style and D.C. Style magazines. “If X vendor provides an estimate that’s a little lower than the printer you normally give the business to, think about these things: Can you trust the new printer to adhere to your schedule? How is their service? Is it going to be problematic to transfer the artwork to the new vendor? Will we work well together?”
The holiday season is usually the time when vendors can be tested. “A lot of promotions are sent out at this time, so a lot of print shops tend to get overwhelmed,” says Bowman. “Direct mail is also important during this time because it’s a great time to do gift promotions. You have to be cognizant of your vendor’s capabilities and get people to agree that they will deliver the product on the day that you requested.”
If your current vendor fails to come through during the holidays and a new printer is needed, Bowman suggests looking within marketing or events departments for assistance.
“Having a go-to person at the company is a good idea because they have a working relationship with a group of vendors and they know from experience. They’ve done the legwork for you. You could possibly even gang print projects because they might be working on items that are similar to yours.”