Budgeting for Print Projects and Direct Mail Campaigns in 2022: Things to Consider

Your marketing budget is a critical element of your marketing plan. You already know that. In 2021, much of the planning and budgeting you did for the year likely went out the window due to supply chain issues and other unforeseen circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the year now coming to a close, it’s a good time to start thinking about budgeting for direct mail and print project in 2022, if you haven’t already. How do you plan your budget in the face of so much uncertainty? The answer is simple. Be prepared for unpredictability by allowing flexibility with where and how you spend your marketing budget in the year ahead.

In this blog, we’ll share what goes into a direct mail budget, along with some essential considerations for print  projects  and direct mail so you can create an estimated marketing budget plan.

What Goes into a Direct Mail Budget?

Your direct mail budget depends on a variety of different factors. Some of these factors, such as postage rates, may not be very flexible. However, there are some factors you can complete on your own to enable more flexibility within other areas of your budget. Direct mail campaign pricing typically includes the following elements:

  • Design services
  • Copywriting services
  • Mailpiece size and volume
  • Database and list selection
  • Paper selection
  • Print production method
  • Level of personalization
  • Postage rates

Don’t become too focused on cutting costs, though. What’s most important when budgeting for direct mail is optimizing your campaigns to increase your ROI as much as possible. Check out some things to consider for your 2022 budget below.

Things to Consider for Your 2022 Budget:

Data Hygiene

Data hygiene is one of the top considerations for direct mail campaigns of all sizes. The simple act of cleaning up your database and appropriately segmenting your lists is a great way to increase the efficiency of your direct mail program. If you neglect your database, this can result in mailing to duplicate contacts or contacts with outdated information—which only wastes resources and eats into your overall marketing budget. Updating your database and sending highly targeted, integrated mailing campaigns can help you achieve higher ROI, ensuring that you spend your budget as effectively as possible.

Level of Personalization

Personalization is a very effective way to increase customer interaction. Variable data printing makes it easy to personalize direct mail marketing campaigns of all sizes with customer names, addresses, purchase history, and various other data points sure to catch recipients’ attention.

Postage Rates

For direct mail marketers, the biggest expense is postage. In September 2021, the USPS announced that it would not raise prices on Market Dominant products, which includes marketing mail, until July 2022, and marketers everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. However, starting in January 2023, the USPS will change postage rates for Market Dominant products twice a year. First in January, then again in July. As you develop your marketing budget plan, keep these dates in mind, as planning in advance of rate changes will increase the cost-effectiveness of your campaigns.

Rising Paper Costs

Rising paper costs due to the paper shortage and transportation constraints have impacted marketing communications and packaging since the start of the pandemic. Demand for paper and paperboard has been increasing since the beginning of 2021, and all signs point to these supply chain constraints continuing into the second quarter of 2022.

To combat these cost increases, talk to your print provider about what they’re doing to combat the shortage and what recommendations they have for ordering products. They may recommend ordering stock well in advance of your project to mitigate any possible increases. You can also ask your provider for more cost-efficient, available stock options for your project. In the past six months, many marketers needed to change the paper used for their control packages or specified by their designer, but have seen no change in their response rates.

Diversity Spend

Another way to stay on top of your print and direct mail budget is to work with a diverse printing partner to help you fulfill your supplier diversity program. The Phoenix Group can work with you to allocate projects appropriately so that you can meet your diversity spend goals while keeping print costs in line with your marketing budget plan.

Fulfilling your print procurement through a minority business enterprise is a win-win endeavor. Not only does the disadvantaged business enterprise benefit from increased revenue and new customers, but the company also demonstrates its commitment to diversity through its actions. Studies have shown that when companies earmark 20% or more of their spending to diverse suppliers, annual sales can increase by 10-15%.

Choosing the Right Printing Service for the Job

Digital and offset printing both have unique advantages. Understanding which is the best printing service for the job, whether a print ad or a direct mail campaign, can help guarantee that you get the most out of your marketing investment. The most important factors that should drive this decision are quantity, format, color, and timing.

Offset printing offers more flexibility for print substrates and sizes, but pre-production costs can drive unit prices up for small quantities. For higher volume runs, offset printing is often the most effective option. If you need to do a shorter runand  have a tight timeline, or your project is highly personalized, it may be wise to consider digital printing for your project.

Choose a Single-Source Print Provider

Choose a printer and mailer that can do it all—print, bind, kitting fulfillment, and mail—in one location. Working with a single-source print provider like The Phoenix Group can help you avoid the high costs and possible delays associated with shipping between multiple facilities. Some marketers even go as far as to partner with a supplier who produces everything from wide format signage to brochures and catalogs. This increases the effectiveness of their marketing budgets, as the printer handles the packing or kitting of each component, along with the logistics of delivering everything as single shipment, optimizing costs, timing, and making their jobs easier.

Variable data and personalization also come into play and affect costs of printing, so it’s wise to consider these when designing advertising or marketing campaigns.

Use Your Printer’s Direct Mail Expertise to Drive Better Results

Having the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances will be crucial to marketing success in 2022. To maximize the effectiveness of your print projects and direct mail campaigns, look to your print provider for their expertise. Your print provider likely has tools and systems you can utilize to ensure that your campaigns perform as well as possible.

If you’re interested in working with a print provider known for higher quality and trusted digital and offset capabilities, get in touch with the Phoenix Group to explore our services and see how we work.

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