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Myths of Outsourcing Print and Mail Management

Businesses that do not limit themselves to one particular marketing style always look for new and innovative ways of reaching out to their customers. Their endeavor is to create individualized and personalized communication targeted specifically to that market segment so that it has a greater impact and provides better results.

In the recent years, many businesses have turned to outsourcing their print and mail requirements for such marketing campaigns. Those who have availed professional services, have seen the difference between an expertly run campaign with the right kind of materials and others that have dramatically fallen short. However, some still hesitate and this is exactly why we have created a ‘myth buster’ list to ensure that you understand and implement:

Outsourcing print and mail management services is expensive

Cost is definitely a crucial factor to consider when you decide to outsource. However, many print management companies ensure that you get the most out of your dollars and maintain a competitive pricing strategy.

Quality will not be consistent and your business will suffer

Myths of OutsourcingThis is the next and very important myth that needs to be busted. Well, the print management company has the expertise, the equipment and the resources to provide you with the best quality material for your marketing campaigns. They have a team working specifically to ensure that they maintain the quality standards that your customers expect. Their equipment is well maintained and of the latest technology. So, they are overall better equipped to deliver high quality services than you could in your own premises!

Print lead times will increase

This is another important factor to be considered. These companies work on strict SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) and hence deliver on time. They have enough resources to ensure that your campaign is not delays due to their services.

Will make your company less agile

Your employees are free from print and mailing tasks and can concentrate on marketing strategies and implementation instead. You can focus on planning while leave the routine tasks of printing marketing matter and mailing it to your customers to the specialists.

For businesses who strive to get nothing but the best for their marketing campaigns, outsourcing printing and mailing services could be the best choice. Once they have brainstormed their ideas and finalized the campaign, leave it to the experts to get the job done! It simply works out best for all!

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The Most Common Mistakes of Direct Marketing

The ability to reach customers reliably is one of the hardest parts of marketing. Direct marketing, unlike email marketing helps achieve this more efficiently. It allows you to elude that ‘spam’ folder and send your message directly in the hands of your target customers. Studies show that at least 77% of those who receive a direct mail sift through it immediately and your chances of them responding and taking action also increases.

While it’s a known fact that direct mailing service is a more reliable from of marketing, it’s also important that you do not make the most common mistakes while you run your campaign:

The mailing list

To begin with, the mailing list is by far the most important part of your campaign. However compelling your content is, or however alluring your design and print is, if the list of target audience is messed up, your direct marketing campaign is bound to suffer. So, it’s important to do some research and draw up a list of highly targeted list of customers who will most likely respond to your mail. Check out those customers who previously brought the product or a similar product. Check out the results and enquiries from your public relation campaigns. So, before you begin any serious marketing – get the list ready.

Direct MarketingThe testing

Not testing your mail is another mistake that most marketers make. The end result is that you repeat the same mistakes. The easiest way to find out whether something will work is to test it. You cannot depend on past experiences and assumptions to estimate the results. This is exactly why running a test on a small group of customers or potential customers is of utmost importance.

The sales letter

Receiving a package without a letter specifying what it is about is looked upon as ‘junk’. That’s the third most common mistake that businesses make. If you are sending out free samples of your new product line, make sure that you send a sales letter along with the package. This letter is one of the most important parts of your package and has the ability to draw greater attention to your product and attract a response.

Superficial copy

The lack of content in your direct mail totally kills the campaign. The idea or the aim of a direct mail is to create a response. So, make sure that your mail copy has to the point – precise information that includes facts about your products or services rather than concentrating too much on the glamorous designs (designs are important too, only of the content is compelling enough).

Finally, there are going to be some pitfalls on the way, but make sure that these are not due to sheer lack of research or homework on your part!

Take care of these points while you run a direct marketing campaign and you shall see success sooner!

Innovative Response Marketing offering Direct Mail Services in Toronto & Mississauga, which includes bulk mail services, envelop printing and more.

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Order Fulfillment Services Could Help Run a Smooth Business

Collation, assembly, warehousing, distribution and material management – quite a daunting task to handle single handedly. In today’s fast paced world, whether you are a startup that needs to handle smaller volumes of orders or a veteran business running all these processes in-house, it has become imperative that orders be accurately delivered to their destinations and in time too.

Fulfillment services are a great option if you do not want to deal with all the hassles of shipping and warehousing:

Storage issues sorted out

Well, when the orders start rolling in and your office or storage area looks over crowded; it’s time to sort out some storage issues. With professional services for handing all the storage, you will not be bogged down with inventory, packaging and shipping. These service providers ensure that they have secure premises for storage purposes and maintain high standards when it comes to careful handling of your products.

Efficient distribution

ecommerce-graphicEnsuring that the product reaches the right destination is essential for the smooth running of a business. Streamlined and efficient distribution can increase customer satisfaction and at the same time save your business from extra costs that are involved in sending the package for the second time to the correct address. With professional fulfillment services, you can be rest assured that your transit time and delivery expenses are reduced.

Flexibility

Fulfillment companies provide enough flexibility so that you can instantly ramp up or gear down your distribution as per the demand. They take complete responsibility to meet the service levels agreed upon, even during peak business hours when orders flood in.

Cost effectiveness

Handling fulfillment yourself is not as cost effective as it appears. It has a lot of overheads that include storage space, racking, moving equipment, utilities, payroll, packing supplies, software, security, insurance, taxes, maintenance, etc. If you hire fulfillment companies to do the task for you, there are no capital expenditures. Since the only cost you incur is a onetime payment to these companies, your overall costs are more predictable and you can allocate funds and resources more effectively. You have more control over where you spend and how.

Innovative response marketing provides you with fulfillment services in Toronto. We have a 3PL facility for with a pick and pack cross dock capabilities, custom packaging and lots more. Our facilities are well maintained and highly secure. Monitoring, inventory and reporting provides us with greater control over the shipment. Well, our online portal provides you easy access to your inventory and provides you with the flexibility to work on your terms.

We work with multiple shipping carriers to ensure that your package is delivered where and when you need it.

Above all, if you are looking for a reliable, flexible and cost effective way of shipping and distributing your products, you can avail our order fulfillment services.

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5 Things to Look For When Choosing Your Mail Service Provider

Sure, price is always going to be a factor.  But when making the decision to award your print and mail campaign to a DM Agency, there really is more to think about.

Integration

A good mail service provider should do more than just stuff envelopes.  Choose a company with people who know the mail service but can also think creatively.  Collaboration with someone who knows Canada Post, USPS and how to effectively market your product or service in the mail will work with you from design to Post Office delivery.  Along the way to you can expect to pick up design tips that save you money on postage, get the best overall print pricing through trade partnerships and have a partner that can work with you creatively during the production process.  Your idea may not be as simple as a piece of paper into an envelope!

Customer Service

Face to face meetings with knowledgeable salespeople, one direct internal contact who supports your entire account (print, data, mail and fulfillment), accurate proofs, statements to confirm your mailing went out on time, accurate and timely billing……….all of these are crucial to a satisfying customer experience.  If you find yourself stuck in a revolving email cycle between several people, its time to look for a mail service provider who can provide all of the above – under one roof!

email-marketingInspiration

We’ve all worked with companies who say “you can’t do that”.  It’s frustrating for creative types who work in marketing and advertising to hit a wall when it comes to their print and mail service provider.  Pair with a company that works with you to find solutions to your creative dilemmas.  Good suppliers are here to achieve your objectives.

Accountability

Top mail service providers know that you have to take ownership of your services; from honoring the prices contained in your quote to dropping the completed mailing at the Post Office on the date specified.  A supplier who stands behind every activity is one that truly shows a commitment to your business.   There is much more to reliability than just honoring prices and drop dates though – where does your current supplier stand on data security and know-how?  Can they supply best practices for precision targeting?  Can they do variable data printing so your mail pieces stand out?

Confidence

There are a plethora of mail service providers out there.  So making your final selection sometimes just comes down to a gut feeling.  Always choose a supplier that has a strong industry reputation but a flexible approach.  The services of large shop, but the personal attention of small one.  Your job should be handled by people that you trust.

Interested in finding a mail service provider in the Toronto area who offers all of the above?  Contact Innovative Response Marketing today.

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The Science Behind Direct Mail

We’ve all heard the talk about how the internet will eventually kill the mail, and with the younger generations doing everything via a smartphone, it does seem like a valid concern to many.

However, as a direct mail service provider, we can tell you that marketing in the mail has not lost its momentum. For a variety of reasons, other forms of marketing have yet to beat out the humble letter or postcard that arrives in your mailbox! Let’s look at a few simple reasons before we get to some facts about direct mail:

1. It is very easy to block spam through basic email settings. Companies shy away from email marketing because it is just too easy for the recipient to block or delete the message. There is nothing tangible.
2. Marketing via social media is only good for certain industries. Typically, direct selling, home based businesses and smaller companies choose social media as their marketing tool of choice, but larger companies? They are not seeing the value.
3. Top internet search spots generally go to the Fortune 500 companies who can pay to obtain them. Factor in bots and click throughs and again, not a good ROI. Does anyone remember banner ads???

So why choose the mail? Well, studies have shown that for some target audiences, it’s simply easier to understand. Having a tangible piece of direct mail can actually increase your drive to action. Don’t think of a letter in an envelope here – direct mail has gone full sensory with mail pieces that can talk and even emit a scent to illicit a reaction from your audience!

Personalization plays a major role and is the cornerstone of any large, successful direct mail campaign. You need to tap into the information you have about your customers to increase the effectiveness.

66% of people keep mail that they consider useful. That pizza flyer on the fridge? The tip-on card in your wallet for 10% off an appetizer at your local restaurant? The sample you received of a new laundry detergent? All things that stay with your audience, and can be used later to influence a buying decision.

In a recent study, 57% of people feel more valued when brands contact them through the mail. It can be as simple as letting your customers know that you truly appreciate their business.

Want to add direct mail as part of your marketing mix? Then you should know that in response to direct mail:

~ 43% ordered a product online
~ 64% visited a website
~ 54% engaged in social media

When planning your next marketing campaign, think about leveraging these services to achieve the best saturation for your message. Working with a direct mail service provider can help you achieve the results you want, and offer many fresh new ideas.

Sources: Complete studies of Breaking Through the Noise, 2015 and A Bias for Action, 2015 are available for download at canadapost.ca/smartmailmarketing.

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Take Advantage of Print and Mail Services for Your Next Marketing Campaign

It is an established fact that 53% of customers are more likely to read and save a direct mail piece than an email. Only 26% might open a marketing email even if it is from a known source. It is also a known fact that direct mail works – even in today’s electronic age of emails and social media. In a world where there are a number of opportunities to send messages across to customers quickly, very few compare to the reliability of a properly prepared, tangible, direct mail piece. Direct mail campaigns that are printed and sent to a targeted customer list have a greater impact than an email that is most often considered as spam and filtered or deleted by the same technology that gets it out in the first place. Despite popular opinion, print and mail service is still a powerful tool that companies use to send out messages to their potential and existing customers.

Print Services
Extra care is taken to ensure that the message looks professional and yet has a personal touch. This personalization increases the response rates. Powerful content along with relevant images and colors ensure that your message is effective and highly targeted.

Printing services also include the printing of the letter and envelope that goes with it. All these elements are created after thorough research of the type of message sent and the target audience.

Direct mail pieces, if designed appropriately, have the power to influence the minds of customers and positively impact your marketing campaign. Customizing and personalizing your mail piece ensures that the potential customers are engaged enough to send responses and hence add to the success of your marketing campaigns. Adding appropriate graphics and ensuring that the content is precise and crisp means that your mail will not go unnoticed. Another important aspect to be considered is the color combination used in the mail. Make sure that the color combinations are inviting and create a positive initial impact on the minds of viewers. These are some of the important aspects of a mail marketing campaigns that need to be taken care of.

printing_mailing_services

Mailing Services
Today’s Direct Marketing Agencies are one stop shops. Reliable data, print, mail and fulfillment services are offered as a personalized, single source solution that ensures your mail reaches and engages your target to effectively increase your ROI. Working with the right provider means clean and up to date data, impactful marketing pieces that are professionally printed, and considerable postage savings. Postage is generally the highest cost of any mailing campaign and working with an established mail service provider will ensure that you are receiving the deepest discounts possible. That alone is a huge advantage.

If you are looking to run a successful direct mail campaign in Toronto, or simply want to obtain a competitive quote on your existing mailings, Innovative Response Marketing can provide you with the services to ensure that your campaigns get the right direction and the right coverage.

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Thinking About Outsourcing to a 3PL?

If you are, then you are not alone.  Approximately 20% of shippers now outsource fulfillment and order processing services to better meet their customer’s needs and to get processing at a low cost.

With a 3PL on your supply chain team, you will become more efficient in how you respond to your customers.  Working with a 3PL ensures best practices in fulfillment services and more delivery options.  3PL’s use proven, streamlined systems for the picking, packing and delivery of items to customers.

But how does it work exactly? Here are the key steps involved in 3PL fulfillment services:

1. Choose a Reputable Partner

Find an established 3PL that shares your values and can deliver the service levels you promise to your customers.  Many printers and courier companies offer these services but be wary, they often lack the knowledge of a seasoned 3PL or force you to use only one carrier for deliveries.  As part of your research, ask about their systems and processes.  They should have a proven warehouse management system (WMS) in place that provides accurate inventory control and offers efficient order processing.  If you are planning on growth or have an Ecommerce platform, ensure that the WMS can easily integrate into your system. Try to gauge how quickly the 3PL can adapt to your businesses changing needs, can they ramp up if your 200 orders per week quickly evolves into 600?

2. Setup Systems

3PLOutOnce you have chosen your 3PL, you will need to work to get your customer information and inventory information set-up.  For smaller, more informal arrangements, this can be done through an import process or even via manual data entry.  For integration with your corporate website or Ecommerce site, your IT people will need to work together. Ensure that the 3PL you choose has flexible options as a well integrated approach adds value to every order shipped and increases customer satisfaction.

3. Establish Work Flow

You can sit back and relax at this stage!  All 3PL’s should have a dedicated representative in place who quickly becomes familiar with your items and who will work with a knowledgeable in-house production team.  This will ensure accurate and cost effective picking, packing and delivery of your items.

4. The First Order – Picking, Packing & Shipping

When the first order comes in through the WMS, the order is verified and sent to the floor.  Trained warehouse personnel will pick your items, pack them securely and ship them to arrive based on your wants or the customers needs.  Once order volume gets established, your team will have enough background data to make crucial decisions about handling and shipping.  A good provider should recommend different packaging options, will move fast moving stock to a closer area and will host a wide range of delivery options with reputable carriers.  3PL’s have the benefit of combined buying power, consolidating shipping for multiple companies through rate contracts ensures that every customer gets deep shipping discounts.  The power of many!

5. Reporting

You should have full access to reports on your stock and its movement.  Ongoing visibility of orders, stock levels and stock movement is a crucial component for managing your business.  Your 3PL will have options available to you that fit your business needs and will regularly audit their processes to ensure the information they provide through reporting is accurate.

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E-Commerce Fulfillment Services – The Benefits of Partnership

You’ve started your online store and are getting ready for orders to start rolling in!  As a start-up, it makes sense to leverage your growth by doing everything yourself; until your basement is full of product and the spreadsheet you used to track your inventory has crashed.

Not everyone wants the rules and regulations that come with the big 3 fulfillment providers or has the tech knowledge to do everything “in the cloud”.    Sure, you can turn to a shipping company for these services, but are you really getting the best price by committing your entire business to just one carrier?

Sometimes the practical solution is the easiest solution and in our case, good people make all the difference.

Support

FulfillmentWe’ll help you set up your account, manually count all your inventory as it arrives and customize our reports to your unique business requirements. We offer a clean and secure warehouse in Mississauga Ontario.  You pay only for the storage that you need and all receiving and inventory control is done automatically by our team.  You can choose to do and review everything 24/7 via a web portal, or you can do things in a more personal manner, by direct communication with your dedicated representative.

Subject matter expertise

We have been offering fulfillment services in the GTA for over 20 years.  We know how to manage your inventory, pick and pack your products securely and only ship through reputable carriers.  In fact, since we do this for so many customers, we offer the benefits of combined shipping rates.  Our customers help each other save money!

Flexible solutions

SMALL-B2BNeed custom outer packaging?  We have a supplier for that.  Want your products gift wrapped?  No problem.  Want to include a personalized letter or card with the order, our on-site variable printing can do the job.  All of our fulfillment services are on-site and all are handled by your dedicated representative.  Ask us for help.

Strategic account management

Feel confident in the care of a dedicated Account Co-ordinator who is familiar with your history and business needs.  He or she will guide you through the initial set-up and ensure that your orders get to your customers on time and on budget for years to come.  Our fulfillment services are completely scalable; we grow as you grow!

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Do’s and Don’ts of Direct Mail Campaign [Infographics]

Canada Post Expert Partner Status

With over 20 years of experience as a Direct Mail service provider in Toronto and GTA, Innovative has the knowledge and expertise to handle campaigns of any size and requirement.

We have been awarded the prestigious Canada Post Expert Partner designation consistently since 2012.

Only a few companies throughout Canada meet the criteria necessary to achieve this designation and we are proud to be a partner.

Our expert status has many benefits for our clients:

  • We are informed on the most recent product and service offerings from Canada Post
  • We can advise on new marketing and selling tools available to your team
  • We can guide you through obtaining a no cost Canada Post Customer Number/Account
  • We can provide substantial discounts on postage costs and parcel shipments