NextGen has been proactively tracking and responding to the economic supply-chain and paper shortages during the last two years. We have minimized impact for our direct marketing print clients, working to ensure a consistent, compelling, and high-quality donor experience.
Key to our approach is analyzing and scoring audience segments based on response; adjusting deadlines and calendars to provide deliverables to partners and vendors as far ahead as possible; making more with less with 4-color postcards; and driving digital conversion with QR codes.
While some of this has eased over the past 6-12 months, we do not expect to see output from mills or the costs of paper to return to pre-pandemic levels. That means higher costs for direct mail printing and longer lead times for many campaigns.
Offsetting this trend requires lots of organization, extensive planning, and integration of digital channels to communicate and raise money from donors and prospects.
NextGen collaborates closely with our vendors who negotiate directly with paper mills. There is an ongoing exploration of other vendors to source for the best available cost and maintain a vast network of printers and suppliers to minimize exposure to rising costs and supply shortages.
At the same time, we are mindful of the current climate and work to consolidate formats/testing where possible. Where possible, we look into overprinting or lasering taglines (black only) along with tried-and-true approaches like flood coating vs. printing on colored stock.
We complement this approach with a focus on multichannel strategies and tactics that allow clients to pivot, as necessary, with messages, offers, creative, timing, segmentation, etc.