We need to communicate a special deal, share event details, send out invitations, notify customers of an address change, and of course, it has to be done yesterday. There are some things we depend on others to help us with - mail lists, graphic design, copy, budget approvals, and more - but we still have crazy short deadline to deal with and we have to get this message out now. Keeping up is tough. Deadlines and drop dates have to be met in spite of schedules being pushed back and delays from contributors or team members. Sometimes we have no choice but to figure out how to get it done more quickly. While there is a lot of organization and coordination required to get the project ready for printing and mailing, there are things that can be done well in advance that can help us be better prepared for the communication emergency.
Having designed templates ready to fill in with the latest message can save a good deal of time. Any documents we use frequently, such as a standard 8.5” by 11” letter, postcards, flyers, newsletters and/or booklets are examples of materials that could be pre-built, just waiting for final copy or other design elements to come in. All production specs, from stock to bindery, can be decided upon and quoted in advance. Once we have it all on our desk, we can pipe it into our templates and push it out to production.
Producing our standard collateral in advance means it can be delivered where it’s needed quickly. Static documents (or generic materials) without personalization such as pocket folders, corporate letterhead, spec sheets or rack cards, can often be produced in bulk and warehoused. Careful planning helps us avoid overproduction and obsolesce. When the urgent need arises materials can be picked, packed and shipped out in a flash.
If printers and other suppliers are aware of their customers' needs and familiar with their process they can provide critical support when it's needed most. As true partners, trusted vendors become invested in our success and want to help us achieve our goals. Having this type of relationship means we are able to count on them to get the job done!