Going cheap can cost you more

Posted on January 31st, 2019 | Tags: Marketing, Tips and Tricks

Everyone has a limited marketing budget. Doesn’t matter if you are just a one person operation or a multinational corporation, everyone has only so much to spend on their marketing and so wants to get the most of it. The problem is that the first response to maximising your marketing spend is by doing the cheapest solutions for it. Sure it allows you to do more but the important question is, does it give you best value? For that matter is it sending the right message when you use the cheapest solutions? We are going to look at this thorny question and explain why going cheap isn’t always the best solution.

This article has been prompted by some of jobs we have done at Copy Express over the last year. Some of them were the result of Vodafone no longer offering emails so quite a few business’ had to fix up their business cards. (We have talked about how to avoid this happening to you here.) Another set of situation is where a customer was working on event material and had spend all their time getting things approved before they brought us in to do the printing. The supplied file ended having to be heavily edited to be printable which we had to be billed for, if they had contacted us early on we could have provided them with templates to help have a print ready file quickly and painlessly. So with these situation in mind, what are a few causes where going cheap can cost you.

Recycling / reusing items for no good reason

Printing is expensive, and not wanting to throw it away is understandable. That’s why we always recommend only print as much as you need for about 3 months, or willing to write off at any one time. You can never completely predict your future situation so it makes sense to allow for unexpected changes. I’ve had a few examples where someone has had a business card where some of the details have changed. Instead of replacing the cards, they decided that they needed printed stickers to be put over incorrect information. Now I can understand why they did it, it’s a waste of otherwise good business cards. And few sheets of stickers seems like a cheap fix. But what sort of image does it project when you hand a business card over with a label stuck on it. It could say that you as a business are too cheap to pay the cents it costs to get new cards printed, does that mean you’ll be using only the cheapest solutions and not the best ones when you work for me? Also by the time you factor in the cost of labor someone attaching the stickers by hand, it could very well work out more expensive than to print replacements.

Contracting design work on freelance sites like Fiverr without planning for future changes

Now don’t get me wrong, using freelancer sites like Fiverr is a brilliant way of getting professional work done at a low cost. If you don’t have the time or need something put together fast, it’s hard to beat. But you get what you are paying for. If you are only paying $50 NZD to get a flyer put together, they are not going to spend a lot of time doing it. What you will get is something built from a standard template, using stock graphics, and quality checked with the absolute minimum time they can spend. And there’s no guarantees they give you files that you can use with a commercial printer like us. Over the years we have had many flyers and business cards come in saved as bitmap graphics making them uneditable, sized to the wrong format, lacking bleeds, or using fonts and graphics that if the customer wants to use they have to spend 10’s even 100’s of dollars to buy. So when they need to update something or make a new variation we often end up having to rebuild the design from scratch to make the changes and it ends up costing them just as much if not more then if we had designed it in the first place.

Focusing on price instead of purpose

I’ve said before that one of the advantages of print over things like the internet advertising, is that print is a very sense based experience. You might not think it but we have found that people have different responses to a print based on the paper it’s printed on, not only how it looks but how it feels in the hand. This is one of the reasons why we offer different paper/card weights and finishes to help enhance that look and feel. Another reason is that different weights of paper/card are better suited for different roles, using paper for a flyer sitting in counter displays but using a card when its being put into a mailbox. 80gsm copy paper is cheap and cheerful while 170gsm is a premium product. I could give more examples but in the end you decide first in what the goal is of the work is and let that guide your choices, not how expensive it is. If you are unsure, then talk to us at Copy Express, we can help you with suggestions and can even do your printing on different finishes to help you understand how they affect the presentation of it.

Not building in safety margins in your print orders

Now we always say order just enough to cover three months of operation or what you are willing to write off at any one time. This is a good common sense rule to follow for this situation. However what we often find is people order exactly what they think they need and then come back a few days later needing another small run to cover a shortfall. This adds extra delay to the work and makes the overall cost more expensive per unit. The simple fact is that every production run has a flat setup and finishing cost that has to be covered no matter how many units are printed. As such the more you order of a product the more the flat costs are spread out. So to increase a run of flyers from 4000 to 5000 is a fraction of the cost of having to do a stand alone run for just 1000. Printers also generally charge less per sheet the greater the volume of items printed as an incentive to print more and help cover the costs of having the printers operating. Unless you are ordering a item that has a very short use life or targeted to a very narrow range of people, in the end the cost of ordering a bit more than you need is a small price increase. If you don’t use it, its less of an ‘expense’ to write off than having to do a second run to make up the numbers.

Of course there are many other ways that by going cheap can cost you money. If you are thinking about how to get the most from your marketing dollar, then contact us here at Copy Express. We can help you decide what will give you the best return for you time and money