Variable data printing has helped make personalized promotional messages on transactional documents a popular, growing trend. Lauren Bell reports.
While most people give at least a cursory glance to their monthly bank statements and other personal financial information, many don’t always open direct mail pieces from the very same marketers. Transpromo messaging — integrating a personalized promotional message into a transactional document — offers a way for banks, brokers and other financial services companies to get around that behavior, by placing marketing messages on personal transaction statements.
“The piece is not only opened, but you also have a captive audience,” explains Sandra Zoratti, VP of strategic development for InfoPrint. “Early indicators show that response rates and ROI for transpromo are much higher than for traditional direct mail.” In a world where consumers are overwhelmed with clutter, she continues, transpromo offers a way to cut through and get attention, by sending very targeted and relevant pieces.
Though the concept of transpromo has been around for over 20 years, the practice has recently taken off in a big way. Zoratti notes that only in the past eight to 12 months have companies become aware, on a large scale, of the practice and had access to the printing and database technology required to create effective and affordable transpromo statements.
Transpromo demands that companies fully understand customers and provide them with appropriate messages. Analytics play a key role: As companies adopt transpromo technology, they must audit their other marketing activities to see what types of offers work with which customers.
“Transpromo is a natural outgrowth of database marketing and relationship marketing,” says Pat McGrew, data center and transaction segment evangelist for the graphic communications group at Eastman Kodak. “It refines the story of digging into the customer databases that now exist and turning your transaction document into something more valuable.”
That added customer value doesn’t necessarily come from a cross-sell or up-sell, either. Particularly in the highly regulated financial services world, transpromo messages are often educational or informative — not marketing pitches. Rather than sending a message asking customers to sign up for a savings account, a financial services institution using transpromo would add a message on the benefits of savings accounts to their statement.
“Promote does not always mean sell,” clarifies Elizabeth Gooding, president of Art Plus Technology. “What you’re trying to do is strike that balance between informing the customer and giving a sales pitch that may annoy him.”
But cross-selling by selling real estate on a transactional document happens often, points out Duncan Newton, manager, business development at Oce Digital Document Systems. “It’s common to have another advertiser,” he says. “The cost of printing the documents is reduced, and the advertiser has a different way of getting their product in front of customers.”
Transpromo messages do more than create savvier customers — they can also instill deeper customer loyalty as part of an integrated communications strategy. Gooding points out that transpromo messages can be used to follow up with customers who have reported service issues. A company can offer a PURL with a downloadable coupon for free coffee to a disgruntled customer — apologizing, gaining loyalty and gathering metrics simultaneously.
As more financial services companies adopt transpromo, design, messaging and targeting are expected to become even more refined.
“Transpromo is a data-driven opportunity for direct marketers,” McGrew says. “The value is around the use of data and the ability to create something consumers want to respond to, rather than something that will go into the waste bin.”
This transpromo document was created when legislative changes created a need for generic mailings to the company’s customers. Rather than send a basic mailing, the company segmented its customer base by age and income and created colorful transpromo pieces full of information and offers targeted to specific customer types.
This piece from Boutique Magnifique shows that a clothing retailer dealing with customer transaction statements can also leverage transpromo technology to alert consumers to sales and special events. It also ties in CRM and loyalty elements by providing customer service numbers and an update on membership rewards points. There is also a link to view statements online.
Sage Shield Mutual Insurance
For this insurance bill, Oce Digital Document Systems wanted to help the insurance company move from a static black and white background to a document that was more effective. “They didn’t want to go to the expense of a four-color print job that was also slow to print, so we showed that you can add highlight color and still print fast,” says Newton. The marketing message was a cross-sell, offering a loyalty Visa credit card.