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Noel Ward

Real World Digital

By Noel Ward

About Noel

Noel Ward is Managing Director of Brimstone Hill Associates, which specializes in marketing communications in the printing industry, including video production. He can be reached at 603-672-3635 or via email at noel@brimstonehill.com. His website is brimstonehill.com, and he has a YouTube channel.
 

Volly for Service?

 
Clutter. It’s the plague of every busy person and family. And it adds stress to everyone’s life, as evidenced by how great it feels to wipe the desk clean and take a mountain of outdated bills, coupons, catalogs, direct mail and more to the curb for disposal.

This vast volume of paper, especially transactional and direct mail, drives much of the printing industry. Yet big billers are working to replace print with digital delivery—largely to control postage costs—and savvy direct mailers are looking to reduce spray-and-pray mail volume with better targeting and cross-media campaigns.

Still, about the last source from which you’d expect to promote a shift to digital delivery is a company with a rich history of putting pages in envelopes and into the mailstream. But that just what Pitney Bowes is doing with Volly, a new service offering launching in the middle of this year. This was just announced on Jan. 6, so details are thin at the moment and I’ve yet to talk with anyone at Pitney (that’s coming), but here's the elevator pitch.

Volly is a cloud-based, secure digital delivery service for digital mail communications. Pitney says it will let consumers receive, view, organize and manage bills, statements, direct marketing, catalogs, coupons and other content from multiple providers using a single opt-in application that includes online bill payment. Let me say that again: A single application.

This is a big deal, because previously each bill has had to come from the individual biller, be it a doctor, utility, credit card company, whatever. Volly, once up and running, enables potentially all your bills to come through one secure portal. According to Pitney, Volly expands on the company’s Customer Communications Management (CCM) portfolio. Its meant to offer a secure, electronic means of communication and help organizations realize significant cost savings, while ultimately empowering consumers with an opt-in, spam-free experience to help organize and manage their lives.

OK, this will take a while to roll out, and the first ones to use it are likely to be the biggest mailers and billers in the country. In fact, Broadridge, a technology services company focused on global capital markets, processes and distributes nearly 1 billion shareowner communications annually, is the first strategic partner for Volly. Others will follow, probably fairly quickly, in my estimation.

But no matter how fast the adoption curve, this is ultimately a game changer, and will be doubtless mimicked by other players. Pitney is just the first one out of the gate with such a potentially broad offering. And, as you might expect from a company that has a presence in the majority of mailhouses in the United States, Volly is said to fit with existing Pitney Bowes’ mailroom technologies so it can complement physical mail delivery processes.

What I’m wondering now is how scalable the Volly solution is, how quickly it can be integrated for a given mailer or mailing operation, how it works in conjunction with paper mail, and how Pitney plans to roll this out. I guess I better make a few calls.

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