The Secret Sauce

It happened again last week.

We were in our “discovery” phase with a new client. The analysis had reached the stage where we were discussing postage optimization on their direct mail program. Then, that famous line surfaced once again.

It goes something like this…

“I don’t think we need to spend much time in this area. Postage is postage and there is not much you can do to impact it.” (This individual had been responsible for direct mail programs for years and was very knowledgeable in most areas.)

At that moment, you know that you have an opportunity to help someone if they are willing to learn and to trust you. (This is also why we don’t participate in many blind RFPs that don’t include the full picture of above and below the line costs.)

This case study evolved as many have previously. ADI was allowed to analyze three, fairly large direct mail projects that had recently been completed by another vendor. Our team processed the actual data and used our waterfall analysis workflow to re-create the project.

(Obviously, we don’t disclose the details of this process until we have an engagement agreement with our potential client. Suffice it to say that it covers a comprehensive study of everything from mail piece design through data processing and logistics.)

We were able to document over $24,000 in postage savings for the case noted above. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that the incumbent vendor was doing anything inherently wrong. They were likely processing the job using “normal” industry routines. Frankly, it just takes a great deal of knowledge, hard work and a very proactive approach to finding these opportunities.

This certainly got the attention of our new client. However, we still perceived there was a sense of disbelief. This particular individual needed to understand the process.   That’s a big moment in our discovery. We now have someone who is willing to learn about a topic as boring as postage optimization. He could see that the benefit to his organization could exceed $100,000 annually if all of this was true.

We spent the next hour walking through the process and documenting our findings along the way. We looked at decision trees and the advantages gained in both delivery speed, control and postage savings based on the specific goals of each project. You may be wondering about the connection between postage and delivery speed? Most of the enhancements in logistics that drive down postage costs also deliver faster delivery times and better control over in-home dates.

The client asked great questions and became increasingly engaged as they soaked in the details. At the end of the process, he sat quietly for a moment. Then he slapped his hand on the conference room table and said, “You guys have the secret sauce.”