Direct mailing and how it’s production takes place is an increasingly pressing matter as mail becomes a popular marketing medium. GDPR has only served to enhance the popularity of this marketing channel. While message and design are critical to engaging your customers, when developing a direct mail campaign you must also consider mail fulfilment. If you want your prospects to read and act on your campaign, your copy needs to stand out on their doorstep.


1. Direct mail fulfilment: the basics

Direct mail fulfilment refers to a key stage in the production of your campaign: the preparation of your marketing message and materials for delivery.  A fulfilment house will take your campaign and convert the concept into mailing items.

From your initial mailing concept to the final step of engaging with the customer, marketing campaign fulfilment can encourage response rates and boost ROI. There are several steps to direct mail fulfilment, outlined below, but all are designed to ensure the mailing process is smooth and effective.


2. What can be fulfilled?

When it comes to direct mail printing and fulfilment, a variety of mailing types can be accommodated. A fulfilment house can fulfil brochures, catalogues, letters and magazines in  envelopes or polywrapping.


However, before reaching out to a mail fulfilment provider you must have an understanding of your target audience. Are you reaching out to high-value consumers?  If so, a luxe-style campaign with heavier paper will boost responses.  By making it apparent through you mailing that you have spent a lot of effort on the campaign, your prospect will feel more valued and they will thereby be more likely to act on your message.  The right mailing partner will help you get the most out of your direct mail campaign.

Read more: 5 steps to a successful mailing campaign 


3. Preparing for mail fulfilment

Your mail fulfilment partner will ensure your campaign is ready for fulfilment.  If you’re working to short deadlines, however, there are several things you can do to help your partner reduce lead times.

Before contacting a fulfilment provider regarding your campaign objectives, ensure your prospect data is clean and accurate. Doing so avoids any potential costs that can arise from targeting houses where your prospects no longer live or even data duplication. If your data is up-to-date, your mailing fulfilment provider can place the addressee information directly onto the campaign via variable data printing.

Similarly, discuss the required materials for the design and the end goal of yourcampaign. Doing so will enable your mail fulfilment partner to ensure availability for the particular envelopes, polywrapping materials and other items you may require.

Read more: Direct mail jargon buster


4. The mail fulfilment process


At Dimensions we have various steps in place for marketing campaign fulfilment.  The procedure may vary depending on the project and the particular requirements of each client.  However, common parts of the mail fulfilment process include:


◾   Automated envelope inserting

Automated envelope inserting machines are used for high-volume direct mailings because they substantially reduce lead times and labour costs. Envelope inserting machines also help save money on envelope and postage costs.  The machines are capable of inserting letters, leaflets, brochures and high-security documents.


◾   Automated collation

This automated process with a mailing house refers to feeding multiple inserts into an envelope to ensure an engaging mailshot campaign. These inserts could include product samples, newsletters, ‘thank you’ letters, applications and more.  All inserts are designed to boost responses and engage with prospects. Again, this is a mailing company process that substantially reduces costs.


◾   Automated folding

Automated folding can determine the cost of your marketing campaign, so it’s critical you communicate  your objectives to you mail fulfilment provider.  The automated folding machines ensure the folds for your direct mail marketing campaign are positioned correctly.


◾   Polywrapping

Polywrapping is a brilliant option for those sending out brochures, magazines and catalogues. This mailing method ensures the protection of your mail contents while still detailing your marketing message to prospects. The mail is fulfilled through the aid of polywrapping machines.  This process is often used by those looking for robust enclosing. Polywrapping is also a direct mail service that appears more professional than an envelope at first glance (thereby best suited for high-value customers) and can hold multiple inserts.


◾   Dispatch

Bundling, packing and packaging is another part of the process that ensures your mailing campaign is ready for the recipients. This stage requires extreme planning and management to ensure all mailing is included, but it’s something a good mailing fulfilment provider can handle efficiently.


It’s important to note that, where possible, direct mail companies will attempt to automate the mail fulfilment process. Doing so reduces costs for your company, ensures the campaign is produced quickly and efficiently and is cheaper than hand fulfilment. However, there are times where your marketing campaign may need to be hand fulfilled – such as lower volume, dimensional mail pieces.


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