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Ramblings from the Road --Sherburne

October 2008

If you haven't yet taken my advice, and that of most--if not all--of my consulting colleagues, now is definitely the time to look at print MIS. My guess is that the market will be quite active as things settle out. Graph Expo 2008 is a good place to see it all.

From Las Vegas to NYC

Next up was the TransPromo Summit in New York City. While Manhattan can be as crazy as Las Vegas, it is more my kind of crazy.  

This was the second annual TransPromo Summit put on by research firm InfoTrends, which had just completed a major, multi-client study on the subject. TransPromo, which uses digital color printing to print promotional and educational messages on the face of transactional documents, such as statements and notices, is generating a lot of industry buzz.

It can be argued that billers and issuers of other transaction documents have been doing TransPromo for decades, in the form of inserts and those perfed return envelope extensions that you have to tear off before sealing the envelope and mailing your check--presumably at least glancing at them before throwing them away.  

TransPromo provides a new marketing platform that allows marketers to do even more targeting of messages than they could do with inserts. Companies are also looking at this platform as a great way to enhance the customer experience, bring more unity to customer communications, and educate customers about important things such as how to leverage the company Website for more information and services, as well as selling additional products from the company and/or its partners. Not only can this generate incremental revenue, but it can result in savings due to reduction in the volume and duration of calls to call centers, among other things.

So far, the focus has primarily been on large service bureaus providing services to large companies. But an interesting finding from the InfoTrends research is that 54.4 percent of their transaction document owner respondents indicate that they produce 100,000 or fewer statements per month. At the same time, there are a number of software offerings in the marketplace from companies such as Elixir, Prinova, Printable and RSA that make the production of TransPromo campaigns simpler and more affordable.

This adds up to a tremendous opportunity, bringing TransPromo to the 2.6 million mid-market companies in the United States. Selling TransPromo into a large organization is extremely complex. It involves lots of people and departments--many of whom are not used to working together and have different agendas--and with the high volumes they produce, cost of entry for the print service provider is prohibitive for the smaller printer.

Not so with the mid-market. The sales cycle is less complex, and the volumes are manageable.  

There is one more important reason you may want to consider adding TransPromo for the mid-market to your portfolio of offerings. InfoTrends projects that TransPromo will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 68 percent between now and 2012. But beware: This growth will not be additive to the market!

Yes, by including messages, coupons and other things on transaction documents, those documents are likely to be longer, and this can add some page volume growth to the transaction document market, which has been flat for some time. Its success is more likely to come at the expense of direct mail and inserts. Companies are already looking at how they can eliminate direct mail campaigns directed at existing customers (about half of direct mail volume) by printing messages on transaction documents that are going to be printed and mailed anyway, and that are more likely to be opened and read than direct mail.

All of this adds up to what could be a growth opportunity for your business, especially if you depend on the direct mail or inserts that are likely to come under fire.

My last stop on the summer circuit was in beautiful Meredith, NH, on the shores of Lake Winnipesauke. EFI VUTEk held a press briefing to talk about their business as a whole, and more specifically to introduce the VUTEk DS Series to the press. There was a non-operational version of this digital screen printer at Drupa but, this time, we got to see it in action. An amazing device.

If you attend Graph Expo, take a few minutes to take a look. EFI will be front and almost center on the show floor, right next to Heidelberg.  

Next month, I will be sharing my thoughts on the business opportunities offered by digital wide-format printing, especially in the grand- or superwide-format area. But for now, I am out of space. PI

--Cary Sherburne

About the Author
Cary Sherburne is a well-known journalist, author and strategic marketing consultant working primarily with the printing and publishing industry. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, a regular contributor to printing industry publications and has written three books, which are available for purchase through the Bookstore section on Printing Impressions' Website (www.piworld.com). Sherburne can be contacted at Cary@SherburneAssociates.com.


 

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