Posted by: AG | May 12, 2009

Get the Best Printing Results

In an earlier article, I stated three reasons that often contribute to printing problems and unsatisfied buyers: addiction to a printer, sales pressure, and ignorance about printing production. Any of those can prevent direct mail managers from taking full command over their printing. What can be done? Here are some general suggestions:

Create the desire. For this you only need look at the total dollars spent on printing during the year along with the ratio of printing costs to total expense.


You can also try to give an objective appraisal of how satisfied you’ve been with the printers you are now using. Remember, however, that problems with a job are sometimes the customer’s fault.


Develop Confidence. Some managers have too little confidence in their own abilities to understand printing. One obvious symptom of this problem is the delegation of the critical printing decisions, including which printer to use, the production personnel.


A qualified and talented production department can only manage the printing well if a) they have the same priorities for matching cost, quality, and service, as the direct mail manager; b) they have an adequate incentive to maintain control over costs and quality of print production; c) there exists a foolproof way of verifying that all production phases are handled efficiently, such as by demanding accountability for all key decisions.


Take the initiative. In other words, get more involved with all phases of production, including printing. Just because you know embarrassingly little about printing or graphic production is no reason to remain ignorant. The quickest way to learn is by asking questions—especially those that begin with “why…”


For instance, when a particular printer is chosen for the job, ask “Why?” When five colors are to be used rather than four, ask “Why?” If someone else is making costly decisions about paper, trim sizes, folds, etc., don’t be afraid to ask the reason for each decision. In fact, practically every printing-related decision should be explained and supported by a cost-benefit calculation.


By doing those you’ll get greater control over the entire print production of your direct mail programs—control that will give you expected quality of printing at the best possible price.



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