With signs showing the US economy headed into a possible recession, some businesses are battening down the hatches in an effort to minimize expenses without jeopardizing quality or customer experience. In marketing, some already-stretched budgets are shrinking even further, and corporate brand leaders are looking for ways to continue creating and implementing powerful omnichannel marketing campaigns with no wasted expense—and no lost impact.
It’s a tall order, no doubt, but not impossible. At OneTouchPoint, we love optimizing marketing operations to make our clients’ initiatives both effective and efficient. Based on our work with national and multi-location brands in a wide range of industry, we’d like to share five places where you can start to recession-proof your marketing strategy.
Embrace Print on Demand With Improved Inventory Management
The first big step to reducing costs is reducing waste in print marketing by ensuring you’re not overprinting materials. There are two ways approach this goal (and we recommend both at once):
Print on Demand
Many traditional printers require high minimums for any given piece of collateral. When you’re required to print 1,500 flyers when you really only need 150, that’s money (not to mention paper) wasted. On-demand printing, however, can be a budgeting game changer. With quick turnarounds and no quantity minimums, the right partner can enable you to print exactly what you need, when you need it. This means no more paying for more than you need just to meet a minimum or paying for extra copies “just in case.” And as an additional cost-saver, it means no longer paying for extra storage space to stock high volumes of inventory.
Speaking of storage space, transparent inventory tracking is another key to cutting costs by minimizing waste. Lack of clear insights into what you have, what you need, what’s working and what’s not can lead to unnecessary expenses as you continue printing assets that aren’t being used or that you already have excess of. It can also lead to paying for warehousing space to store outdated material that would be better off in the recycling. But when your marketing team invests in real-time inventory tracking, including stock tracking, production status, and ordering patterns, marketers can make more informed inventory management decisions, reducing waste and minimizing overspend.
Next up, look for ways to streamline your operations, as trimming out inefficiencies can have a significant impact on cost. Again, we recommend two places to start:
Efficient Shipping Practices
Depending on where you’re sending your printed marketing assets, it may not make sense to ship them all from headquarters, or even from the same offsite production facility. For example, when your new stores are opening in the Pacific Northwest, shipping materials from a production facility in Seattle would be much more cost-effective than shipping them from your corporate offices in Florida.
To ensure every batch of printed assets gets where it’s going efficiently and inexpensively, consider finding a print marketing partner with multiple fulfillment centers located across the country. This will help ensure a cost-effective distribution journey—with the added advantage of consistent quality and service.
For both digital and print marketing, a key part of streamlining is ensuring everyone who has a hand in campaign creation has access to the latest, corporate-approved messaging and assets in one centralized hub or digital asset manager. This way, local marketers aren’t spending their limited time and resources creating their own content, and the national team can rest assured they won’t have to spend money fixing campaigns that don’t meet brand standards. Additionally, this centralized hub empowers local marketers to print, order, and pay for their own assets while giving national teams the visibility they need to keep the budget in check.
Nix One-Off Design Requests
With the never-ending need for assets for every channel, it may seem like the easiest way to handle the demand is to forward collateral requests on to your in-house design team or your trusted freelancers. Unfortunately, though, relying on one-off design requests to meet collateral needs comes with significant costs. After all, every hour you’re paying a freelancer to tweak the holiday sale postcard for various markets (essentially creating something you’ve already paid them to create) is an hour you can’t afford to have them work on bigger, more strategic initiatives.
Instead, we recommend leveraging modular (or templated) content through that digital asset manager we just talked about. By giving local marketers access to pre-approved collateral templates and content modules, you empower them to customize and order what they need (quickly, easily, and within carefully curated brand standards) without paying designers for small changes.
Leverage Social Media as an A/B Testing Ground for Print
When budgets are tight, it’s critical to reserve print marketing spend for just the right designs. Social media marketing can double as a testing ground to identify the best-performing design and messaging for print collateral. Test your postcard’s copy and visual elements as social media ads first, and then study the engagement analytics.
The insights your social posts will provide as to which images and copy perform best will help you make a confident, data-driven decision when it’s time to commit to a final postcard design. Not only will you have conducted an effective A/B test with little to no additional marketing spend, but you’ll have introduced potential customers to your campaign via social media, so it’ll be familiar to them when it hits their mailboxes in postcard form.
Minimize Vendor Management & Contracts
Finally, while companies can and do hire different partners for different aspects of marketing operations, the more cost-effective (and all-around simpler) solution is to find one marketing management partner who can be the single source for everything from asset management to printing to mailing. While a suite of vendors requires extra time spent juggling varying contracts, payment terms, contact preferences, and other details, a single partner that offers an end-to-end service model will empower you to control spending, manage inventory, reduce turnaround time on print materials, and ensure marketing content reaches customers in stores, in their mailboxes, and online. All with just one point of contact, and at lower overall cost.
At OneTouchPoint, we understand the need to create impactful omnichannel marketing campaigns at low cost, and we’re obsessed with helping our clients do just that through our U.Connect platform, our world-class production and shipping facilities, and our dedicated support every step of the way. When you’re ready, 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.