10 Production Tips for the New Year
The start of a new year provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at your production processes and strategies to streamline workflows, improve efficiencies, lower your costs, and identify new revenue opportunities. Bruce Jensen, vice president of sales at Transcontinental Printing, offered the following tips to Publishing Executive Inbox readers.
1. Take a total cost view. If you're stuck in a per-thousand mentality, you'll likely end up being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Today's demand-driven best practices often result in higher costs in some areas but lower total costs throughout the entire production supply chain.
2. Get your in-house tech skills up to speed. Workflows are more collaborative than ever. If your staff isn't technologically up to speed, you'll undoubtedly fail to capture some benefits along the way. Ask your printer for help if you need it.
3. Drive it digitally. Make the effort to work with your printer to digitally drive as many production processes as possible. This is how you bring more speed, cost efficiencies and often quality to print reproduction.
4. Start by thinking about distribution. Saving money on distribution as well as ensuring fast, accurate delivery starts with the planning process. You need to establish distribution objectives at the outset and then consider those at every stage of production. For example, you can eliminate your magazine from co-mailing savings by not conforming to dimensional and thickness standards. Form a distribution team that includes representatives from creative, production and your print provider.
5. Enhance your covers on the cheap. Everyone recognizes the value of a great magazine cover, and you'll get the most bang for your buck with ink and coating techniques performed in-line during the normal printing process. New ink techniques, like MetalFX® technology, print standard CMYK inks on top of specially modified silver ink to enable the creation of up to 104 million metallic colors-all on a five-unit press.
6. Get into the fold. Folding options are an especially effective and economical way to generate more revenue. A research study from Starch Research indicates that nothing pulls like cover ads, and special folds attract even more attention. Gatefolds are the most popular with single gates providing a powerful cover spread on either the front or back cover.
7. Get personal. Nothing draws attention like personalization, and today's advanced imaging and bindery technologies allow you and your advertisers to speak with readers one-to-one, beginning with the cover.
8. Drive more results for your advertisers. Recommend the inclusion of URLs on ads to drive website traffic. A study shows the biggest lifts in women's service (198%), home (203%), and travel (286%) categories vs. ads with no URL. Help advertisers further improve tracking with coupons, special pricing, landing pages, subscriber surveys, etc.
9. Match personalized inserts to the subscriber's name. New technology employing an optical character recognition (OCR) system can selectively insert highly personalized pre-printed covers, outserts and ads. This capability can be installed on any type of finishing equipment-stitcher, binder or polybagger-to enable one-to-one messaging for your advertisers.
10. Scrub those mailing lists. Update your mailing lists and use good list hygiene practices. There are horror stories from the postal front about associations and other publishers not updating membership lists and having huge numbers of undeliverable magazines. Undeliverable mail is pure waste that negatively impacts the environment and your budget.