Are you thinking of taking your direct mail campaigns to the next level? The topic of direct mail fulfilment is of critical importance within the direct mail campaign lifecycle. As a business, bakergoodchild have our own processes but here we have explained what’s typical and what can be expected for customers within the direct mail fulfilment phase of a project from a typical mailing house. Our processes work towards making sure that your efforts succeed.
What is direct mail fulfilment?
Direct mail fulfilment is a major stage of a direct mail campaign. Fulfilment takes the initial printed material and is a process which leads to its preparation and conversion into ready to mail items. Direct mail pieces to be fulfilled could include brochures, catalogues, letters and magazines within envelopes or polywrap, etc. You need a lot of expertise to undertake the fulfilment process. The approach you take will determine the level of understanding among the target audience. No wonder most people in the United Kingdom prefer the use of experts at the fulfilment stage.
There are several aspects to preparation, these include:
- • Gaining access to printed material – Having access to the various printed material and inserts for the mailshot starts the process. This is often stored in an onsite warehouse where mailing houses hold agreed stock levels for future direct mail campaigns. These printed material and inserts form the basis of any direct mail campaigns. These printed materials will later be converted into ready to send items.
- Address information – The addressee information (where personalised) will be supplied directly onto the printed material through variable data printing Addresses in virtually all cases will be sorted into a postcode order (e.g. Royal Mail PAF), which will ease distribution and reduce postage costs. The address information will also make sure that the mail gets to the right destination. It is critical to have all this information just to be sure that the mail will be getting to the right destination
- Materials availability – Checking whether materials are available, e.g. envelopes, inserts, stationery, packaging materials required, etc. You may want to prepare your direct mail, but materials are not available or insufficient. Evaluate all the available materials and make sure that they are enough. In case of any deficit, make sure you plan on immediate procurement to avoid any inconveniences in between the process. This may call for making actual purchase of the required material.
- Planning and management – this includes tasks such as ensuring the right staff and equipment are available at the time require to fulfil the fulfilment tasks as well as planning out each process of fulfilment. The staff should have the required knowledge to undertake the fulfilment process. Moreover, the equipment should be of the right quality to ensure safe delivery
Stages of direct mail fulfilment
Typical parts of the process would include (the steps used will potentially vary from project to project depending upon the requirements): This is because each project has unique requirements in terms of nature of material being fulfilled, volume, and expected time of delivery.
- Automated collation – feeding multiple inserts into an envelope at high speed to provide a highly professional organised mailshot package. These inserts could be free product samples, leaflets, letters, newsletters, order / renewal forms, promotional cards, vouchers/coupons, etc. The type of inserts entirely depends on the customer.
- Automated folding – using folding machines to create folds in the right places for the direct mail set and optimising the mailshot to fit in the smallest possible envelope (which reduces postage costs). This could also entail different types of folding such as accordion, roll fold and “slit & nest” as just a few examples of folding options. This is a critical stage because it determines the overall cost of the process. It is recommended to use the right machine to ensure successful folding.
- Automated envelope closing – machines automatically close the envelope and its contents (the envelopes could be plain or windowed depending upon the requirement). This is an especially labour saving task compared to the manual closing of envelopes. The envelopes will also be closed in a very secure manner to ensure safe delivery.
- Automated polywrapping and polyprocessing – polywrap where it is a requirement of the direct mail campaign. This is a common requirement for magazines, brochures and catalogues. Polywrapping is also an alternative to sending multiple enclosures without the use of envelopes
- Bundling, Packing and packaging – Bundling the direct mail into boxes, packing and packaging for preparation for mailing. The stage requires a lot of keenness to make sure that nothing is left out.
- Collection by postal carrier – The batches of mail are then collected by the postal carrier chosen for the project, who will distribute the batch to the eventual destination
Hand or manual direct mail fulfilment
Wherever possible a mailing house will always attempt to automate the entire mail fulfilment process. Automated machine based fulfilment is faster, more convenient, saves often mundane labour tasks and in the vast majority of projects is cheaper than hand fulfilment. Therefore, automation is the way to go.
Although it’s usual for tasks to be automated it is possible for some tasks to be hand fulfilled. This may be needed for low volume runs, mailing of odd/unusual shaped items and where there are size restrictions which can’t be processed by machines in an automated way.
For details of the automated and manual direct mail fulfilment services provided by bakergoodchild visit https://www.bakergoodchild.co.uk/services/direct-mail/ for further information.
Speak to bakergoodchild about direct mail fulfilment
We are experts in direct mail fulfilment and a leading UK mailing house. Work with us on whichever parts of the process you need or we can manage the entire process from start to finish. Call one of our mailing house experts today on 0800 612 1972 or complete our contact form to revolutionise your direct mail campaigns!