One Size Fits All – Poorly

by TedV

My start in Relevance in Marketing, not Relevance in Selling, came in the printing industry. I sold color digital printing presses, which allowed for each printed piece to be customized very differently from the ones before and after.

The Real Value of Digital Printing Is Counterintuitive to Traditional Printer-Think

The most expensive aspect of printing a brochure or anything for that matter is press setup. Presses only make money for the printer when they are putting ink on paper. Setting up a press run of a particular piece takes time, and the press just sits there during this time.

Once a press is actually printing, the longer it spins the more profitable the press. Therefore, you pay less for each piece in longer press runs.

For example, a sales manager may request 4,000 brochures, but her company print buyer may buy 5,000 because the printer would give them a significantly deeper discount at 5,000. If the previous price break was 2,000, the buyer may actually pay less in total for 5,000 than 4,000. Print sales reps have price breaks aligned with the printer’s press considerations, not necessarily customer needs.

Everyone who buys or specifies print knows this. Marketing departments come up with brochure ideas that can be mass-produced for the broadest audience to lower unit cost of each sales collateral piece. All of that is logical from a cost perspective, and I always take discounts for quantity purposes where they make sense.

However, savings from cost per piece can be this senseless:

“I know that we’ve combined the brochure for the undertakers with the one for astronauts, and now neither of those people will read the piece, but look at how cheap we bought them.”

Digital printing presses can segment production of a brochure or mailer into logical groups. Therefore, your segmented contact management solutions brochures will tell undertakers how they can help their deceases’ families, while another brochure will inform astronauts how you can help them manage their speaking engagements and fan letters more effectively.

And the great thing about digital printing is, if you have a specific number of prospects for a mailing let’s say, you can print only 482 undertaker flyers and change to the 87 astronaut version without the digital press stopping for a second.

True, the cost per piece for these 569 mailers will be more than 1000 on a short run press, but then why pay less for ineffectiveness?

Spend enough and no more, that’s one of the benefits of Relevance in Marketing.

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