When it comes to getting value out of a purchase there’s a saying that goes:

‘buy it cheap, and you’ll buy it twice’

With most consumer products this is mostly true. This generally means that there’s a trade off between quality, longevity, and brand values to buy such items at a lower purchase price.

When it comes to promoting your business, however, you have to go back to marketing basics to see that this doesn't have to necessarilly be true.

Mostly, because with advertising and marketing if you buy it once and it doesn’t work it’s because you’ve made the wrong choice. Value can only be achieved through reaching the right people for your product in a way that gives you the best possible return, either in direct sales or brand gains.

In these days of accountability, analytics and transparency in cost per acquisition every decision is scrutinised so it’s important that you get it right. Not all costs are as up front as they seem either.

So, let’s say that you want a direct mail or leaflet campaign. What represents the best value for you, your business and most importantly your gaffer?

We’ll start with the brief. The boss wants you to get some cheap flyer printing and business leaflets done for a sale event that your business is holding. 

What do you think will be the most important factor in your decision and deliver the best value, make you look great, and get the best return on the investment?

Here’s where you go to some of the key marketing ‘P’s’. All of these will interplay with each other to help you make the best choice:

Product: Does the printing quality meet the required standards? is it robust enough and will it survive getting through the letterbox, potentially getting walked on when your target customer gets home? Is it available in the required format – double sided a4, or double sided a5 full colour printing?

Place: How convenient is it to order your flyers or business leaflets? Can you order online and also get offline support? Is it secure and do they have customer testimonials? Can they get the product  delivered to you in the required timeframe? 

Process: How easy is it? What are their payment terms? Can you see and track your order? Do you have to chase your order or are you informed of where it’s up to at all times? Can you upload your artwork without problems? Can you expand order volume or reorder if needed? Are they able to get the product delivered efficiently to you in time?

People: Do you get confirmation or a call to show that it’s all in hand? Do they understand your needs? Do you feel confident that they’ll do their best to resolve any issues? Will they go that extra mile? Do they sound like they know what they’re doing? Do you feel valued as a customer?

Price: Aahh price..Now let’s look at price through two different scenarios..

You call business A and they are £200 cheaper than a quote from business B on a £1000 order. However you have to get a purchase order filled out, fill in a credit form and apply for an account; they only do business by phone and you have no sight of product. They are only contactable during business hours. You have to email the artwork and quote a reference number and chase them up to see if they’ve got it. They print their business leaflets on 80gsm which whilst nice is a bit thin. They promise 48 hour turnaround and will get it delivered to you for an extra £35 on the initial purchase price. You arrange delivery of your leaflets separately.

Let’s look at business B. You can order online with next day delivery, upload your artwork, and they then call to confirm receipt of your order and let you know of any issues with the artwork. You’re given your own personal contact and order reference. They call you when the order is complete, when it’s shipped, and give you an ETA on delivery. They also produce your business leaflets on a higher grade of paper which means better durability when it goes through people’s doors. They also have a deal with selected distributors to get your leaflets delivered through a variety of methods which helps you hit your target audience.

So, which is the better company when it comes to value? Direct cost driven purchases would obviously choose business A but value for money driven businesses would always choose business B and trade off the £200 saving with an increased peace of mind in delivery, customer service, and improved quality and robustness of the printed product. Not to mention possible distribution discounts through economies of scale by this printer passing on business directly to it’s distribution partners.

Business B, through their product, processes, people and place also save the purchasing business on hidden costs dealing with a less efficient supplier ie the time spent just getting things done to the standard your boss demands.

In the above situation selecting just any cheap printer isn’t necessarily the correct business decision  to meet your cheap flyer printing and business leaflets brief. You have to look at the long game, and that’s how you not only keep your boss happy but save yourself the time and trouble from having to ‘buy it twice’ when you didn’t need to do that in the first place.