Personalized transactions add marketing value

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Marketers must work hard to break through the clutter, constantly testing new initiatives and alternative channels in order to attract new business. But consumers are working harder, too, often wading through a sea of unrelated campaigns, and scams and spam do little to create an atmosphere of trust.

In this environment, many companies are finding that transactional documents, such as statements, invoices and notifications, have become more effective at generating sales and long-term relationships.

While the idea of placing promotional materials in transactional documents is not new, a more intelligent approach to these "transpromo" efforts has made it possible to create marketing experiences that are more personal and relevant. As relevancy increases profits can, too.

For example, a credit card statement may promote a special offer through a local retailer in a category of known interest. Or an auto lease statement may include photos of the latest vehicles at the precise moment the customer is contemplating next steps.

Some aspects of the appeal behind statement-based marketing include the fact that it is a communication that is opened and read each month, and the company is already paying for its print and postage. It targets likely buyers, the company's current customers, through a trusted delivery channel. Statements require customers' time to review them in detail, and they are viewed and handled more than once.

Recent events have led to an increase in transpromo use. They include the proven value of relevancy and the track record of published results, as well as the greater competitive pressures and the postage decrease on heavier mailings. There have also been advances in color variable print and on-demand customer analytics that make the tactic increasingly affordable.

While cost and technologies are no longer significant hurdles, companies must overcome certain challenges to advance their transpromo efforts.

Organize around a new marketing mindset. Integrating functionality across marketing and operations facilitates the switch from one-off campaigns to true relationship marketing.

Leverage existing data in new ways. Transforming information stored in disparate systems and inconsistent formats helps to create a single view of customers.

Build cross-channel reporting and metrics. Establishing measurable objectives - and tracking results over time - is critical to long-term success.

Fortunately, enabling technologies that address these needs are already able to boost customer acquisition, build customer loyalty and reduce costs. Their roots are in customer-communication management, which provides a strategic framework for optimizing customer touch points.

Location intelligence is fast becoming one of the most valuable assets in marketing segmentation and decision-making. Through geocoding, mapping and street-level profiling, you can identify location-based sales opportunities and increase your understanding of customer-spending patterns.

By combining data quality, integration and analytics, file-based processing and document output management, and electronic document and online account management, you can deliver relevant, purposeful customer experiences across every channel.

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