As a busy marketer you understand how important it is to manage mail deadlines. A missed deadline can derail a full advertising campaign, resulting in a poor ROAS and weakening your credibility at your employer. Having tools and techniques in place to accurately plan a campaign deadline calendar is even more vital when you are relying on outside parties.
Direct mail printing has been increasing in its effectiveness as digital noise has been increasing in the lives of consumers. Because direct mail is more popular than ever, so too is the demand on direct mail providers’ time. Thus, it is even more critical to effectively manage direct mail deadlines and have strategies in place to ensure your campaigns are kept on track. This article provides you with 3 quick tips for meeting deadlines with you direct mail provider.
Tip 1: Have Clear Requirements
While direct mail advertising campaigns can be valuable, they can require more attention to successfully launch. Between choosing your recipients, selecting the size/shape/thickness of the mail piece, timing the drop, and managing numerous other elements it is critical that you choose a direct mail provider with a strong ability to understand requirements and communicate updates along the way.
Have an open conversation about expectations and requirements for both sides involved. Establishing each parties requirements in the beginning and reviewing them every quarter or biannually is a great way to check in and see if any requirements needs to be adjusted. Between those checks make sure your direct mail vendor is communicating back to you their progress, especially if they run into roadblocks.
Here are two examples:
- If you are a high volume mailer it might be beneficial for both parties to have you apply for your own permit. Making this move makes the process more efficient for each side.
- Shortening the allotted time for the art approval window in order to gurantee the requested mail drop date. It may help to establish a set time each day or a 24 hour window that art needs to be approved by in order to lock in the mail drop date.
Tip 2: Establish a Shareable Document
Sharing information while keeping that information centralized and trackable is important to managing direct mail deadlines. This may sound like a no brainer, but ensuring that both parties have a way to check each other and hold each other accountable to deliverables will promote organization, efficiency and a seamless working relationship.
A shared document, whether it is kept in Google Sheets, Evernote, Basecamp or some other real-time collaborative tool, will ensure that both parties can keep track of their own responsibilities and any changes in needs, timelines, etc. Most of these collaborative tools also have an easy-to-use change log history that can be viewed. That way you can see past revisions in the document to see where and what updates were made by a certain individual to the document.
Tip 3: Maintain a Project/Task Checklist
What’s the difference between a project checklist and a shared collaborative document? The purpose of a checklist is to give clear expectations about individuals tasks and when they are due within the direct mail deadline. It also allows each party to quickly check off tasks to communicate that they have been completed. The shared document, on the other hand, goes into further detail about project specifications and descriptions.
There are numerous free tools available that allow you to keep a shared task checklist; Podio, Asana and Trello are some of our favorites. They are all free and powerful tools that can be used between two organizations to keep track of a projects tasks. Keeping a checklist in a shared tool can help you see the big picture and make sure all details of a job are on track from start to finish.