Printed marketing materials are probably an essential component of your overall marketing strategy. But managing the process can be stressful when you don't have a lot of lead time, especially if you don't have the right systems and vendors in place to help.
While you may not be able to change the pace that marketing moves, there are ways you can make it less stressful when you find yourself facing a tight timeline for printing and delivering marketing materials.
Below are three ideas you can use today to make it faster, easier and less stressful to get your printed materials out the door and in front of your customers.
1. Use an online order platform
When you use a printer that has an intuitive online order platform, you can not only save time and stress, you can better mitigate the risk of having the printed materials not meet your expectations. On the marketer side, for instance, an online platform can provide a secure place that you can access anywhere at any time to upload and store your brand guidelines and approved templates or artwork for those with the correct permissions to access the files. This helps ensure brand consistency across your organization because you can load final assets for others within your company or franchisees to leverage in their communications.
An online platform can also help marketers meet their deadlines — even when those are tight. For example, one retail client of FedEx Office had only 24 hours to print signs and assemble employee product kits for a large-scale electronics product launch. By being able to initiate the printed materials request via FedEx Office's online platform, not only could FedEx Office download the retailer’s files quickly and begin the production process, they could digitally distribute those files instantly to FedEx Office production centers located closest to the customers locations, which helped expedite delivery of the materials.
2. Use a printer with a national footprint
As the previous example highlighted — sometimes there simply isn't time to print and ship materials where you need them by the time you need them. The way to get around this obstacle is by using a printer who can print your materials closest to your point of need.
With FedEx Office, for instance, you can simply share your print materials and they will digitally distribute the print files to be produced closest to the final destination, eliminating both time and cost involved in shipping those materials. In addition, because the files are stored digitally on their online platform and every FedEx Office location undergoes a rigorous color matching process to ensure color consistency on its printers, it's easy for them to route projects to the closest location and still ensure your brand colors, messages and other details will look the same whether it’s printed in Portland, Oregon or Providence, Rhode Island.
As Franco Alegria, National Account Manager, at FedEx Office, points out, having printing done close to home doesn't just help with tight deadlines, it also helps with the need to be agile around messaging as well. "One of the biggest stressors for marketers is trying to figure out how to get all this stuff out there and how to make sure it's still relevant by the time it arrives," he says. "Helping them increase the time they have to make last second changes is crucial and relieves a significant amount of pain and stress."
3. Find a trusted vendor
With so many demands on your time, you likely don't have the capacity to manage the entire print process. If you have a trusted print provider, you can turn the logistics over to them and focus on your core business or critical tasks that need to get done.
For instance, the retailer who had only 24 hours to get their materials printed, distributed and assembled at 600 stores, was able to trust not only that FedEx Office would deliver first-rate quality printed materials, but that they could handle the logistics of getting the materials printed on such a short timeline and delivered to the stores. Even with a massive snowstorm under way in the South and Midwest, FedEx Office was still able to deliver the materials in time for the launch.
"With digital materials it's easy to make changes and updates, but with printed materials once you send it off it's set in stone, so it's important to think about how you can maximize time to account for changes," says Alegria. He notes that while traditional printers might need three weeks to complete a project, because FedEx Office has a nationwide network, they can print materials closer to the point of delivery. This can reduce the time required for printing by a week or two, giving marketers more flexibility to get their messaging right.
Stay ahead while staying calm
Your workload and the pace you need to move isn't going to change — it may even get faster. So, find a print provider you can trust to help you shorten the time it takes to print and manage all the details. This will ensure your messaging is always on point and on time, and you may be able to get a few more hours back in your day.
Ready to reduce your stress with your printed marketing assets? Contact FedEx Office for your corporate printing needs and to see how they can help.