TransPromo Printing — Making a Strong Statement

IN THIS age of buzzword bingo and the “go big or don’t go at all” extreme lifestyle, it’s understandable that the printing industry should continue to see a string of next big things. Ultimately, market realities and technology considerations have tempered at least the pace of each of the predicted revolutions, starting with digital printing, then the dotcom gold rush, one-to-one marketing, JDF and now transpromotional (transpromo) printing.

That transpromo represents a significant business opportunity is not in question, although there are differences of opinion about how fast the market will develop. On the bullish side, the InfoTrends Inc. research firm, based in Weymouth, MA, is projecting annual digital color transpromo printing volumes to balloon up to 21.8 billion impressions in 2010, from 1.6 billion in 2006, for a 91 percent compound annual growth rate.

Factors seen contributing to this boom include:

• very high open rates for this type of mail;

• postage savings from combining pieces;

• reports of high response rates and ROIs from early adopters; and

• the potential for “Do Not Mail” legislation to restrict other direct mail marketing vehicles.

What’s less clear is how many commercial/digital printers are in a position to compete in this market. The answer depends on how narrowly or broadly one defines transpromotional printing.

Bills and statements are the traditional definition of transactional documents, but the concept of transpromo is being extended to a wider range of applications that don’t all involve selling. This is an important development for “graphic arts” printers because the early examples cited to make the business case have chiefly come from the financial and healthcare arenas. Stringent security requirements and data handling demands work against a new player trying to dislodge entrenched suppliers.

Companies held up as examples of the success that can be had in this market include the likes of DST Output, Datamatx, TPSi and Oniya Shapira in Israel. These companies are more data service bureaus and volume mailing houses than they are print service providers in the graphic arts sense.

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