Rate hikes spur transpromo use

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In Lightáof the recent postal rate hike and advances in printing technology, the transpromo trend has quickly accelerated.

Transpromo is a technique that combines obligatory transactional customer communication with revenue-generating promotional offers.

"Just about the only mail customers don't immediately throw in the trash bin are their statements and bills, so this mail is a very valuable marketing vehicle," says Cheryl Kananowicz, DST Output's VP of sales and corporate communications.

"We're already seeing a real acceleration in our clients' statement-based or transpromo marketing efforts," she said.

Transpromo differs from traditional bill stuffers because the offers are highly personalized based on customer profiles and preferences that are printed right along with the transactional content relied upon by custo¡mers.

Americans spend twice as much time reviewing printed bank and credit card statements compared to the 3.5 minutes spent examining their Web statements, according to research by Group 1 Software Inc., a Pitney Bowes company.

The study's findings indicate that organizations who put targeted cross-selling messages on physical statements may achieve higher return on investment.

In the study, more than 1,000 consumers were interviewed through a Web survey in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United States in May and June. Respondents were asked to estimate the amount of time that they spend looking at a range of documents, including their monthly bank statements and direct mail they receive.

Ford Motor Credit Co. converted to DST Output's transpromo capabilities, with the goal of increasing sales of its Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda and Volvo vehicles.

The company added a customized page and brand information to its 3.8 million statements sent each month, infusing marketing and promotional messages.

"Marketers are challenged with the recent postage increase," Kananowicz pointed out. "The good part in the new rates for companies with high-volume mailings is that the rate to send an additional ounce of First-Class Mail actually decreased from 24 cents to 17 cents on an individual piece.

"[Through] letter automation discounts, the rate declined even further to 12.5 cents," Kananowicz added. "Factor in the 1 cent rate increase to 21 cents for Standard Class Mail and companies now find it less expensive to send promotional offers and messages with their transactional statements than separately.

"And they can now use the additional ounces in the First-Class envelope as another marketing channel," she said.

In addition to advantageous postal rates, the transpromo trend is accelerating because of advances in printing technology. New high-volume capability printers serve the exacting requirements of some of its largest financial, telecommunications and retail clients. n

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