Transpromo print services represent an increasingly robust opportunity for PSPs. Making the most of that opportunity as a full-service provider of transpromo work requires PSPs to adopt what one expert calls “a full-circle approach,” one that requires them to identify the right targets, market the service correctly, and ensure they possess specialized equipment and skills.
The most likely prospects for transpromo services are in industries that regularly produce statements, invoices and other documents based upon transactional data, usually on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, said Shelley Sweeney, vice president, service bureau/direct marketing with the Graphic Communications Business Group at Xerox Corporation.
These industries include telecommunications, banking, financial services, insurance, health care and utilities. Their transactional documents often are the main face they provide their customers, and have among the highest “read rates” of any consumer communication. The opportunity is to tap the transactional data the company keeps on each customer to craft highly relevant offers that can be included in these transactional documents. Often, the effort generates strong business results and boosts customer satisfaction, she reported. Among the leading Xerox customers providing transactional print services is CDS Global, the Des Moines, IA-based provider of innovative and flexible marketing, technology, customer service and fulfillment solutions.
An effective way to market the service is a vertical marketing approach.
“Recruit your most successful and loyal customer as your lighthouse account, and use their success as a proof point in marketing to companies in the same industry,” Sweeney advised. “Nothing sells your services better than a satisfied customer who advocates on your behalf. When describing the lighthouse account’s success, focus on business results [such as] revenues, leads and responses generated; time and money saved through process efficiencies and reducing calls to call centers; and challenging print windows met with error-free production and delivery. Tactics can include developing written and video case histories, producing a webinar featuring the lighthouse account, and having prospects speak directly to the lighthouse account.”
For businesses already involved in client statement activities, highlighting the visibility that transpromo print services brings is a great way to present the offering to customers, added Kurt Konow, director, vertical marketing for Ricoh.
The industry is very familiar with the statistics in support of transpromo, such as that 95 percent of transactional documents are opened, and that readers spend an average of one to three minutes of face time with these documents.
“As a provider, it’s incredibly effective to emphasize that transpromo services provide not only opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell without cost of additional mailing, saving companies mailing and production costs, but also the opportunity to leverage the stats in favor of their business,” he reported.
“Consumers are busy and finicky. They bypass traditional direct and promotional mail, which means you have moments to catch their attention. With the transpromo approach, you already have their attention as they review their invoices or statements, and you can capitalize on their short attention span as they review the bill with relevant promos.”
With today’s increasingly sophisticated technology, PSPs even have the opportunity to engage with in-house production operations, Konow said.
How viable these opportunities prove to be often hinges on key differentiators, such as advanced capabilities PSPs may be able to offer to in-house customers that can spur collaboration between the entities, he added.
“Because PSPs are required to be highly specialized and keep abreast and aware of the latest transpromo trends and methods in this data revolution, they can provide a wealth of additional services and analytical expertise that could enhance in-house operations and drive ROI for transpromo campaigns,” he asserted. The PSP should have innovative approaches for the transpromo that address gaps in what in-plant printers can provide.
One such example of this opportunity is linking to other channels from transpromo communications, for example to micro-sites for tracking and more.
One key element of transpromo work is data management. “Anyone who wants to participate in the transpromo space needs to have a fundamental understanding of how to work with data, preferably in many formats, both current and legacy, because not all customers are up to date,” Sweeney noted.
“Part of that expertise is knowing how to handle data in a secure, error-free fashion. Clients need to know that sensitive information will not be compromised, that the checks you cut will have the correct number of zeroes before the decimal point, and that the personalized offers you send go to the right targets. In addition, to be successful in transpromo, you need to know how to use data strategically to improve business results—and your client’s customer’s satisfaction,” Sweeney added.
A plant tour can communicate your capabilities by showing clients and prospects that access codes are required to reach areas where sensitive data is stored, Sweeney continued. These visitors can speak with your data technicians. Your systems for catching and correcting errors in printing, inserting, and other processes can be demonstrated. You can show the efficiency and productivity of your processes for producing forms of print and electronic communications.
You can share success stories highlighting customer satisfaction with your handling of their data, and the business effectiveness in how you deploy it. And you can speak to prospects directly about how you would handle their specific data formats and applications, she said.
As for Konow, he advises print providers to keep top of mind the goal of making transpromo communications relevant and meaningful to the client.
“With the influx of collecting raw data today, the purpose gets lost amid the spreadsheets and charts of information,” he said. “Showing customers you can identify and analyze the intended recipient and streamline data into personalized, pertinent messaging increases the likelihood that consumers will respond in ways that increase your customers’ bottom lines. Data management is a science. It is detailed work, and goes beyond just the offer and layout.”
The PSP, he added, has to commit to understanding the true value of data management and make that a key aspect of the process, not an afterthought. “We hear all the time how data management creates better conversations and dialogues with customers, but this typically doesn’t happen. Too often customer responses are captured, but then nothing is done with the data. Systems or processes must be in place to ensure something is done with the data.”
Adjunct Services Required
Providing transpromo services requires specialized equipment and skills right across the board, according to Sweeney.
On the front end, providers need to be able to receive and manipulate a wide range of current and legacy data formats from mainframe and other computer systems. They need personalization software that processes data efficiently for high-speed transactional document production and also enables production of high-impact, full-color designs for marketing offers. And they need a system that can output both print and electronic versions from the same data sets as efficiently as possible, preferably in a single operation, she reported.
Transpromo printing equipment must be reliable and productive, to meet oft-challenging print windows. “Data arrives on a certain day each month, for instance, and must be delivered to customers within specified windows,” she added. “High-speed black-and-white printers have long served the transactional printing market well; transpromo applications benefit from color. Many operations have sufficient volumes to support the highest volume roll-fed printers, but cut-sheet printers meet the volume needs of many, as well. Color quality needs to be good, but not necessarily at annual report level, so inkjet suits the space well and xerography continues to play a key roll, too.”
For instance, she reported, Xerox recently unveiled a modified version of its flagship iGen presses, the 8250, designed to better meet the cost and quality requirements of transpromo printing.
In post production, PSPs need complete mailing systems and software to optimize postal costs and offer safeguards against insertion and other errors. Perforators and binding equipment may also have a role on some applications.
For his part, Konow reported printers should have the right software in place to meet the workflow needs of transpromo printing. Transactional statements that include promotion fall under the “critical communications” heading, in that they need to be produced accurately and delivered to the intended recipient. Workflow solutions that offer piece-level tracking empower printers to automate the production of transpromo solutions, he observed.
Too often, transpromo is sent out with a hope for the best. “This is an irresponsible approach and does not result in success,” Konow asserted.
“Ultimately, what is really needed is a strategy and follow-through. To be truly effective with transpromo, you need to commit to a strategy and develop a comprehensive, full-circle approach that follows through each step in your strategy. This can be difficult to see through to the end.
“But if you do, the results will be worth it.”