Photo credit: Image provided by Xerox Corp.
Transpromo started with bang, but now skeptics dismiss it as the product of marketing hype. Some of this criticism is justified. Transpromo has not lived up to its potential.
Many would-be adopters couldn’t combine relevant customer information with the requisite print data, in part for lack of well-maintained customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The discouraging results included duplicated mailings, missing phone numbers, and out-of-date email and postal addresses.
These campaign crippling errors show that it’s not the color or the message that makes or breaks transpromo; it’s the data that drives transpromo success. Having current data easily available is essential, whether transpromo communications get delivered in color or black-and-white, or by print or electronic channels.
Complex Approaches Depend on Data Most
Don’t be shortsighted by focusing on a print-only transpromo strategy, especially when other popular outlets are available such as email, Web portals, and mobile devices. Approach your transpromo planning with an eye to all possible formats. E-bill adoption rates, while slow, are steadily heading in a positive direction. Electronic channels are easier for many consumers to use, and they don’t require a hefty hardware investment.
What scenario comes closest to your transpromo approach? Are you a company that needs to:
• Add non-individualized advertisements in the same spaces on each pre-printed bill
• Optimize data streams for dynamic “white space marketing” to fill blank spaces in each statement with advertisements
• Optimize data streams for more complex “white space marketing,” in which personalized text is selected and formatted on the fly
• Prepare output in a variety of formats for print and electronic delivery
In the first case and second case, only the advertisement needs to be sent to the program to create the document. The real-time composition engine must also consider whether there is even space for an ad or personalized message. The third approach is more complex, analyzing the data (including each customer’s name, address, gender, date of birth, and buying behavior) on the fly. The fourth approach can be part of any of the others and brings its own layer of complexity.
Lack of a Critical Connection
Important conclusions can be made from customers’ purchasing behavior, which—in theory, anyway—should be integrated into the promotional message. If ads and messages are to be tailored to each recipient, additional customer data is required from a centrally accessible system, such as integrated CRM software.
Most companies are not technologically equipped for this connection. They lack precisely defined workflows to transfer customer data to the systems that create documents and prepare them for printing or electronic delivery. To have any hope of success, users must clarify the technology and workflows required to execute their transpromo strategy.
What would-be transpromo users are now recognizing is that a different type of software expertise is needed that focuses on the data. Data-capable software plays the central role in converting, processing, transforming, and formatting customized transpromo documents.
Transpromo strategists are shifting towards platform-independent output management systems (OMS) that concentrate on analysis, consolidation, and modification of various data streams via various submission channels. OMS can also offer corresponding support for integration with CRM systems.
What to Look for in an OMS
Transpromo communications require high-performance processing to optimize and coordinate various data streams so high volumes of documents can be created and submitted on schedule to the correct recipients, whether in print or in electronic form. This is still a complex process, particularly if it involves color and printed output, and OMS seems to hold a great deal of promise as a comprehensive solution.
The best practice is to handle as many steps as possible within one OMS software platform. Otherwise, when many different products are pulled into the composition and production workflow, the greater the chance of problems with integration, compatibility, different software versions, and various levels of user expertise, to mention a few.
What should you expect from a multi-purpose, multi-channel OMS software platform? Look for these features in the software’s scope of services. Make sure the transpromo vendor’s OMS offering can provide:
• Analysis of data streams and display of optimization potential
• Review of the entire workflow infrastructure, including hardware and software
• Consultation and creation of concept
• Professional service and integration of the transpromo solution into existing infrastructure
• Integration and connection with existing CRM systems
• Maintenance and support
• Complete training program on the products and how to optimize data streams
An output management system can be the anchor of almost any transpromo system that requires integration and “smart” output of dynamic data. With OMS as the basis of these communications campaigns, transpromo skeptics are likely to become converts.
Carro Ford Weston has been writing about the document industry for longer than she’d like to admit. For fun, she helps B2B technology companies communicate with the marketplace through a variety of content marketing tools. Reach Carro at firstname.lastname@example.org.