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TransPromo Special Report — A Concept Whose Time Has Come

June 2008
WHILE SERVICE bureaus and data centers will tell you that the concept of TransPromo (putting a marketing message on a statement) has been around for decades, there has been a sudden surge of interest in stepping up its use. During 2006, TransPromo full-color digital output represented only 1.62 billion equivalent images in North America. This is a very small base, but InfoTrends expects this output to experience a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 91 percent to reach 21.72 billion images by 2010.

There are four key drivers that make TransPromo an idea whose time has come:

The need for better ways to reach customers with a relevant message: Corporate marketers are seeking ways to invest in communications that cut through the clutter of the thousands of marketing messages. Marketers are seeking certainty that their messages are actually reaching the intended recipient.

Unfortunately, conventional methods of communication can make it difficult to determine which messages actually get through. Since 95 percent of transaction documents are opened and read, they provide an excellent vehicle for reaching customers with other types of messages.

The drive for ROI: The CMO Council publishes an annual marketing outlook report that surveys CMOs (chief marketing officers). Of the 825 executives surveyed, quantifying and measuring the value of marketing programs and investments was reported as the top challenge in 2008 by 53 percent of respondents. Marketers are seeking measurable media.

Advances in technology: The technologies available in the marketplace today facilitate TransPromo communications. Advances in digital color open the door for organizations to affordably merge those must-read statements and notifications with full-color, attention-grabbing, marketing messages.

A number of new products are being announced at Drupa with unparalleled levels of performance. Xeikon is taking its high-quality toner technology to speeds of 244 ppm. The Xerox 490/980 operates at speeds of up to 986 ppm. Océ, HP, Kodak and InfoPrint Solutions have high-speed ink-jet devices that generate anywhere from 900 to 2,600 impressions per minute. While the capital acquisition cost for some of these devices is high, operating cost per impression can be less than $.02.

What’s more, advances in software tools make it easy to design and implement complex, personalized communications applications with a full range of data handling, layout, graphical workflow, color management, content collaboration, approval, and proofing and message management capabilities.

Beyond e-bill presentment options, companies are working to make transaction documents true multi-channel communications vehicles with relevant offers linked to personalized URLs and landing pages. Mobile technology combined with Quick Response (QR) codes (see sidebar) is a significant advance in transforming transaction documents into true multichannel communication vehicles.

Changing postal regulations: Under USPS rates that went into effect in May 2007, businesses are given incentives to do more with existing communications. While the postage costs on nearly every class of mail increased (and, in some cases nearly doubled), it is now less expensive to send higher-weight letters. For example, the postage on a First-Class, two-ounce letter decreased by nearly 8 percent.

Creating the Recipe for Success

Marketers and print service providers agree: TransPromo has a proven value proposition. A successful TransPromo campaign requires a different mindset and several essential ingredients, including:

The right message: Marketing executives are no longer debating the power of personalization. If customers feel that they are receiving messages intended only for them, it increases loyalty, sales and revenues.

The right person: Database and marketing analytics are essential to segmenting and identifying the most valuable clients. Effective campaigns require organizations to dissect their customer database and assign a propensity score based on any combination of demographic, psychographic and behavioral data.

The right time: Marketing departments at companies in various industry sectors (i.e., banking, insurance, financial services, retail) recognize the crucial role that the timing of an offer plays in its success.

The right channel: Marketers need to build a repository that identifies which customer is more likely to respond via a specific channel. Messaging should be consistent and coordinated across print, online media and call centers.

Testing, measuring, and refining: Measurable objectives need to be established, results tracked, and feedback must dictate adjustments. This requires consistent messages across all channels and monitoring of customer activities, including e-mail responses and online or call center activities. PI


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