In the data-driven direct marketing industry, we are very ‘due date’ focused. That’s because a great deal of work goes into aligning all the dates and deliverables across a marketing plan to make it successful. Direct mail needs to be timed properly to align with all the other channels, offer dates, call center staffing, and more. Getting to the final proof stage and discovering major issues can make it a stressful and potentially late campaign for everyone!
Using Direct Mail Templates to Keep Your Campaign On Track
We see some direct mail efforts that don’t utilize approved design templates—they often include artwork that isn’t built to the correct size and doesn’t allow enough room for the address block, copy, barcodes, card placements, etc. Discrepancies like these might seem small at first, but they can set off a series of changes that can affect all other components of the direct mail piece and impact mail dates, which may disrupt the schedule for other channels in the campaign.
Using an approved direct mail template is pivotal to the planning and production process because it ties all the requirements for every component into one set of planning documents. At the same time, it clearly defines the canvas or picture frame for the creative team to design the visual aspects of the mailpiece. Without this clear plan, you could be pulled into the common pitfall of numerous change and approval cycles. This consumes valuable resources for all groups involved and adds time and costs to the project that could have been avoided.
IWCO Direct’s planning process typically starts with either a specific request from the client or a list of formats we provide for the client to choose from. Once the client starts to zero in on the basic specifications and/or direct mail concept, then we begin creating an approved format and template. We continue to use the direct mail template to review and refine the format with the client. Using this approach gives our clients more confidence in the campaign schedule and the ability to move forward with committing their own resources to the project. It also allows them to shorten cycle times from creative to mail due to fewer required changes to art and copy.
The Project Engineering Initiative Brings It All Together
During our Product Engineering Initiative (PEI), we were able to step back and look at all the different types of planning elements (templates, formats, etc.) we use at IWCO Direct. As a result, we have standardized a vast number of these elements including terms, formats, templates, and more. With the help of the PEI, we continue to focus on delivering a consistent and positive experience for our clients.
Mike Dietz said this last month: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I’ve said it before, myself, and I will say it again. Images are the best universal language and can deliver great benefits. That said, the mailpiece visuals still need to be comprehensive and accurate to deliver the true value they offer. Sticking to a direct mail template and approved format streamlines the production of your campaigns while avoiding unnecessary delays.
To find out more about how standardizing your process and formatting will help you focus more time and energy on the creative aspects, get in touch with us.
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