`It can be very tempting for any business owner to look at their requirements for marketing literature, then look at the technology available to them, and think “We can do that in-house.”
After all, you can buy business card blanks, download a template to create the look you want, and then simply print them out and separate them before distributing them to clients.
While this might work for a kid’s lemonade stand, it’s not the approach we recommend any business take in self-promotion or brand building. Please don’t view this as a sales pitch on our part, but more a cautionary tale as to what does and does not work when it comes to marketing your business.
Think of any time you’ve been in your local grocery store and seen a local service or business advertising their offering with a flyer, brochure or card that was obviously printed by themselves.
Do any of these DIY printed items have an impact on you?
Do you feel the desire to pick one up and bring it home?
Most likely not.
And the reason why you don’t do that is because they’re not visually appealing, which is the exact same trap most businesses can fall into when they decide to print their own marketing materials in-house.
There are a lot of reasons for you to outsource your printing and fulfilment to a company that specialises in commercial printing, but it’s not always to do with cost. In fact, it’s far more nuanced than you might have imagined.
#1 Time Efficiency
It can take an untrained designer dozens of hours to produce a basic flyer for your current marketing campaign. During that time that employee will have been unable to work on anything else, which means you’ve either had to push their tasks to another member of staff, or delay them until a later date.
Either way your decision to manage your own printing requirements in-house is now directly impacting your business, and more importantly, your overall productivity.
You’ve also tied up your printing and scanning equipment during this time, possibly preventing other projects from moving ahead as quickly as they should have.
#2 Cost Savings
One of the most common reasons given by businesses for printing their own marketing materials, or attempting to fulfil their own print requirements, is because they want to save money. This push towards cost efficiency is admirable, but it can also be a mistake.
The mistake is not in attempting to be more efficient, but in not understanding that there is a marginal difference between the cost of printing in-house, with mixed results, and the cost involved with professional printing. In fact, it can be the difference of a couple of cents per item printed, which means you may have invested dozens of working hours to save just a few cents overall.
This is a perfect example of something your parents would call being “penny wise and pound foolish”.
Modern printing presses and technologies allow you to personalise your marketing literature in a way that is simply impossible in-house. Well, not less you’re willing to invest in several thousand euros worth of equipment, and the training required to operate it at a professional level.
Numerous studies have clearly demonstrated that personalised marketing literature improves response rates in a very measurable way. We’ve seen that work in real life with our customers, and across multiple markets.
#4 No Limitations
Attempting to do your own printing in-house means you are limited by the type of equipment you’re using. This means you can only print on certain paper types, paper sizes and can only achieve a certain look and feel with everything you print.
Professional printers suffer from no such limitations, which means that the final products they produce can be varied in look, feel, size, and finish. And they can do that because it’s what they specialise in.
You’d never consult a dentist for advice on building a home, but you will actively avoid the more than worthwhile advice of a print and graphic design solutions provider when it comes to producing marketing literature.
When you see the argument framed like that you can see that it makes no sense.
#5 Inventory Management
Producing marketing material required for a given promotion will require that you keep your printing equipment stocked with the relevant inks and toners required, as well as all the different paper stock for the project.
This alone can require a significant investment of time and effort, which further eats into your cost reduction drive, reducing the price difference between in-house and outsourced printing and fulfillment to almost zero. In fact, in-house printing can actually be far more expensive when you take all the separate factors into account on a cost-per-page basis.
This is something a professional printing company doesn’t have to worry about because they already have all the materials they need ready for the next customer project.
The reality is that most businesses have no idea what’s required of them when it comes to in-house printing, which often leads to expense and frustration on their part. In our experience this frustration usually results in several days of wasted time before they approach us to help them resolve the issues they been experiencing with their project.
We’re always more than happy to help customers with these issues, but we obviously can’t make their existing expenses simply go away. That money has already been spent and there is no way to claw it back.