How to Create a Recession-Proof Print Marketing Strategy
With inflation and endless supply chain challenges driving costs higher (not to mention signs pointing to a possible recession) many businesses are scrambling to find ways to cut operating costs so they can continue covering expenses and providing products and services to customers at reasonable rates. And, too often, the initial thought is to slash the marketing budget—in particular, print marketing, which is (incorrectly) considered too outdated to achieve a strong return on investment.
Not so fast, however. Far from being “dead,” print assets—from direct mail to point-of-sale displays—are still critical components of a successful multichannel marketing campaign. In fact, recent research has shown 77 percent of consumers say print advertising drives higher levels of recall than digital, and at OneTouchPoint, we’ve helped our clients see a marketing ROI increase of more than 200 percent when combining print outreach with their digital campaigns.
So, if the goal is to keep attracting and retaining customers through economic hardship, the strategy is not to slash print marketing—in fact, it might be wiser in the long run to lean in. Rather, the strategy is to streamline print marketing operations, cutting out excess costs in order to produce more robust, eye-catching campaigns on a smaller budget.
Why Print Procurement Brokers Aren’t the Solution
In an effort to reduce costs on print marketing spend, many branding leaders turn to third-party print procurement brokers and intermediaries. These vendors promise to find the best rate for their clients’ marketing materials, a tempting offer on the cusp of a recession. But there’s a reason it sounds too good to be true. Frequently, the advertised savings and efficiencies of these models ultimately yield more disadvantages than advantages. In fact, when it comes to working with print procurement brokers, three distinct disadvantages stand out:
- Print intermediaries apply a markup to every service, eating away at the savings.
- Working with a broker instead of going directly to the supplier cuts out savings opportunities, such as supplier rebates on product cost, which benefit the broker, not the client.
- Businesses lose control of their branding, with no way to vet quality, accuracy, or reputation of the suppliers brokers work with to secure the “best price.”
When you’re working with a print broker, more often than not, the difference in price tag is negligible at best. And worse, the opportunity costs of inconsistent or poor-quality branding materials may outweigh any potential benefits altogether.
The Right Way to Recession-Proof Print Marketing
All that said, efficiency is critical to marketing leaders, too, and we know that going direct to suppliers, handling negotiations, juggling contracts, and managing communication for each project takes valuable time from your team.
So how can you achieve increased efficiencies and lower costs?
A single-source marketing execution partner can cut out the middle-man and centralize print execution. The ideal partner can ease the communication burden by managing print projects from a single platform and ensure lower costs without compromising quality by supplying and producing materials on their own equipment rather than outsourcing to the lowest bidder.
So, what should companies look for in a single-source print marketing execution partner?
- A vendor who owns all their own equipment, allowing clients to cut costs on machinery leases, raw materials like paper, and significant freight expenses. (And, of course, there are no broker markups this way, either.)
- Minimized waste. Look for a vendor with sophisticated inventory management practices and digital print-on-demand services.
- Local partnerships and a national presence, enabling them (and, in turn, you) to leverage economies of scale for production and lower shipping costs.
- In-house workflow management.
- Full transparency and regular reporting across critical KPIs and the entire marketing supply chain.
- Strict quality control standards, ensuring accuracy, efficiency, and stellar products.
It’s a tall order, but at OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on being the partner that provides all of this (and more) for our clients, managing both repeat and one-off print projects from our nationwide network of printing and fulfillment facilities. And we’re not just a printer — we offer full-service marketing execution solutions, from localized digital marketing to centralized customizable assets and easy ordering to real-time inventory and budget tracking and direct mail and fulfillment, truly lifting the logistics burden from corporate marketing teams’ shoulders.
In addition to the average of a 15 percent markup we save customers over print procurement brokers, we’ve successfully shown companies additional savings of 10 to 25 percent or more simply by streamlining management and ensuring every print project is implemented properly and efficiently. And all of this without jeopardizing quality. In fact, we’ve produced more than 155 million pieces for clients in a wide range of industries, with accuracy rates exceeding 99 percent.
In the midst of economic turmoil, marketing leaders are searching for ways to lower costs without sacrificing the quality or frequency of customer connections. To learn how OneTouchPoint can recession-proof your print marketing initiatives, we invite you to contact us or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.