Author Archives: BarbPellow

Industry Giants Signal a Shift

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Marketers’ demand for cross-media marketing services is certainly propelling a transition. Recent actions taken by two industry giants – R.R. Donnelley and Transcontinental – send a clear signal that the move to crossmedia marketing services is firmly taking hold. While a number of smaller firms have already made the cross-media transition, activities by large, publically-held companies are amplifying the message… print combined with other media options increases engagement and improves results!

R.R. Donnelley

Chicago-based R.R. Donnelley (RRD) used quick response (QR) codes – mobile two-dimensional (2D) barcodes – in its 2010 annual report to demonstrate to its investors and the financial community that printed materials can interact with other media forms. The report also served as a testament to how the company is creating integrated communications that use print as a gateway to interact with other media types. The report foreshadows things to come from the company, as the project’s cross-media  component was executed by Nimblefish, a recent R.R. Donnelley acquisition.

RRD purchased Nimblefish to expand its range of cross-media marketing services. Nimblefish’s services include direct mail, e-mail, Web, personalized URLs, and variable video. In a statement announcing the deal, R.R. Donnelley President and CEO Thomas J. Quinlan III commented, “Nimblefish will increase the range of multi-channel solutions that we provide to our customers. This (acquisition) will leverage our extensive digital platform, which offers the ability to personalize communications in quantities from one to millions.”

Transcontinental

Montreal-based Transcontinental has been steadily acquiring cross-media companies and has grouped those entities under the Transcontinental Interactive moniker. The unit currently has nearly 1,000 employees in Canada and the U.S. and generated revenues of Can$123.3 million in 2010. Interactive services accounted for close to 10% of the company’s overall sales in 2010 and helped drive an increase of nearly 35% in digital revenues for its media sector. Transcontinental Interactive offers marketing strategy and planning services, data analytics, premedia services, online direct marketing, one-to-one marketing, mobile marketing, and custom communications, including custom publishing and digital printing of marketing products.

Transitioning From Print Service Provider to Marketing Services Provider

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The transition from print services provider to cross-media marketing services provider is in full swing. Firms of all sizes are expanding the media types that they offer and backing them with marketing services, including creative, campaign strategy and management, and data analytics. The idea is to have a variety of marketing communication tools on hand that can be custom blended into the perfect media mix based on the individual client’s needs to generate results. A core component of that mix is print.

A Market in Transition

Fierce competition in the traditional printing market is fueling the cross-media transition. Offering cross-media marketing services enables print service providers to enhance the value of services and create longer-term relationships with clients who are less likely to move their business based on a cost difference of a few pennies per printed page. These services also open new and recurring revenue streams as contented customers come back for more.

Marketing executives are actively searching for solutions that improve their return on investment, deliver quantifiable results, and capture useful information on customers and prospects. InfoTrends’ research indicates that to accomplish these goals, marketers are reaching out across multiple channels to engage customers. Marketers surveyed for InfoTrends’ October 2010 multi-client entitled The Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity reported using an average of three media types per marketing campaign.

The use of multiple media types in a single campaign reflects marketers’ increased understanding that direct marketing is more effective when a campaign combines the use of print, mobile, Web, social media, and other mediums in an integrated and targeted fashion.

A Whole New World For Book Publishing (Part 2)

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Books… From Analog to Digital

InfoTrends recently completed its 2010–2015U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast. Print is driven by applications, and digital production printing is no exception. Demand for specific applications changes over time for a number of different reasons, including growth in usage, electronic replacement, and shorter runs. This study explored 28 specific application segments and measured digitally printed application volume changes in A4 (U.S. letter-sized) equivalent impressions.

The top three production digital print applications in theU.S.will be direct mail, books, and bills and statements. Combined volumes for these applications are expected to exceed 270 billion impressions. Book printing is expected to account for a 16.6% share by the end of the forecast period (94.5 billion impressions).

In terms of pure pages, the book market is expected to show the biggest gain. Its share is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% between 2010 and 2015, representing over 45 billion pages by the end of the forecast period.

Inkjet and digital printing will aggressively begin to displace analog offset printing of books. Improvements in continuous-feed inkjet printers will fuel the shift to digital printing within the book market. Every aspect of inkjet – speed, quality, and format – will see significant leaps in performance during 2012.

Publishers Will Respond!
Digital printing is destined to grow in volume at the expense of conventional printing for the book market. In an uncertain market, publishers are beginning to embrace digital because it enables shorter runs. Shorter runs reduce the amount of unsold books, reduce storage costs, allow reprinting in smaller batches, and offer the opportunity to print specialty books for niche markets, including self-published books.

There is much confusion about how consumers want their content delivered, but digital printing will provide the answer. Publishers understand the value proposition, and everything links to dollars and cents.

The Bottom Line
Technology keeps changing and publishers, authors, and printers are feeling the effects. Although print isn’t going away, ebooks are here to stay. Publishers need partners with technology and service offerings that will help content move seamlessly between traditional book printing, on-demand digital printing, and electronic distribution.

A Whole New World For Book Publishing (Part 1)

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It truly is a whole new world for book publishing. No matter where you are – at the beach, on an airplane, or in the subway – you will see people with their Kindles or iPads. There are headlines in every magazine and newspaper about Google’s Publishing platform, tools from Apple that threaten the text book market, Amazon’s success with ebooks, and predictions of the demise of the publishing industry as we know it.

While the transition to digital is not moving at the same rate for all publishing segments (Trade, K–12, Higher Education, Professional, and Scholarly), it is generally believed that ebook sales will account for a substantial portion of trade revenues within the next five years. Just a few years ago, traditional companies were more frightened of this transformation than excited about the opportunity. Today, this has reversed. Printers, publishers, booksellers, distributors, and agents have embraced the new technologies and are retooling their businesses to accommodate a world of digital and printed books.

The Good News… Book Sales Are Up!
In August 2011, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) released the U.S. BookStats. This is considered one of the most comprehensive statistical surveys conducted in the modern publishing industry. It is focused on capturing size, scope, revenue, and expansion across multi-platform content and sales distribution channels. Net sales for publishers increased to $27.94 billion in 2010, representing a 5.6% increase over 2008. Publishers sold 2.57 billion net units in 2010, marking a 5.6% increase over 2008. Growth hit all segments. Higher education was up 18.7%, with sales reaching $4.55 billion in 2010.Sale of trade books grew 5.8% to $13.9 billion, partly fueled by ebooks. One of the strongest growth areas was adult fiction, which saw a revenue increase of 8.8%. While ebooks represented only .6% of the total market in 2008, this share had risen to 6.4% by 2010. A September 2011 Harris Poll indicates that one in six Americans (15%) currently uses an eReader, while another 15% plan to purchase one in the next six months. At the same time, however, this also implies that 70% of the market does not own an eReader and has no near-term plans to acquire one.

The key message is that eReaders are definitely here to stay, so the printing and publishing worlds must change with the times. There will always be a place for hardcover and paperback books, but recent developments will demand a huge transition for book printers and publishers alike. How businesses adapt will determine who is left standing five years from now.

Check back next week for Part 2 of this post!

 

Trans-promotional documents – what are they?

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Is the concept of combining a transaction-based document with a promotional document realistic?  In theory AND in reality! When I first entered this industry in 1985 as a programmer and attended Xerox’s training programs, Xerox was lauding transpromo THEN, as the wave of the future. Here we are 27 years later and transpromo is still being promoted.  What does it take to make transpromo work? The answer is simple – DATA and INTEGRATION!

Let’s tackle the first aspect, DATA.  For the longest time, the print industry has struggled to track, capture and manage consumers or investors tendencies.  In the 80’s, databases were in their infancies and to build one, manage the intricacies, intra or inter-record relationships and extract the data practically took a mainframe computer or at least a mini-computer. Not to mention understanding the complexities of and INTEGRATING all that data into the print stream.

There’s the second aspect – INTEGRATION.  Frankly, integrating, not to mention building and extracting the data, was beyond the scope of printing an invoice or statement.  Third party outsourcers or even the largest processors were having trouble developing and launching the transpromotional document.  Instead, variable messaging was launched as a step in a forward direction.  Simply stated, variable messaging involved keying on data elements within the print stream and changing the message content to the targeted audience – the end recipient.  It didn’t go far enough and transpromo lingered.

Fast track to the present.  The PC or personal computer has been in existence for over 20 years, software integrators have become more sophisticated making databases prevalent in every aspect of our life and third party processors are beginning to understand the power of data.  Data is at everyone’s fingertips and solution providers are working with their clients in building analytic models of their consumers, their buying trends and overall demographics. But transpromo still lingers, why?  In the biller space, the solution could be as simple as getting the marketing department to work with the accounts receivable department.  The complex answer is most likely, determining what message to integrate into the transactional document.  While data is prevalent in everyday life, billers are still struggling with what message fits best within their image and specifically which message targets the end user.

Transpromo is a real achievable target and integrators are working behind the scenes to implement sound solutions.  But in looking at the third party landscape, I think it’s important (at least from an old programmer’s point of view) to identify those firms that understand both sides of the equation – the marketer and the biller.  Integrating a sound solution will most likely drive revenue, increase your consumer’s product awareness and promote social awareness, but a failed solution will end up being just a fancy way of launching variable messaging.  Is it worth it? I think so.  In today’s competitive landscape, I think it’s important for firms to build consumers or customers for life and with transpromo and variable message you have a chance to effectively achieve that goal.

This post was generously provided by SourceLink and written by Tim Furr. If you are looking for another marketing services provider blog… check out SourceLink

HMSA: A Healthy Approach to Customer Communications

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Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a reliable name in Hawaiian health care. Established in 1938, it is the largest and most experienced provider of health care coverage in the state. Over half of Hawaii’s population has chosen HMSA for their coverage.

HMSA’s mission is to provide quality, affordable health plans, employee benefit services, and work site wellness programs. HMSA also offers a variety of programs, services, and support to help improve the health and well-being of its members and community.

In the complex and dynamic world of health care, nothing is more important than high-quality, effective communications about subscriber benefits. Assumpta Rapoza, Director of Enterprise Risk Management for HMSA, clearly understands the importance of ensuring clear communications about benefits for subscribers. Rapoza stated, “Quality communications are essential for
customer satisfaction as well as the retention of a loyal customer base.”

Clear Messaging to Drive Loyalty
With health care on everyone’s agenda, HSMA wanted to effectively communicate the true value of the individual’s health insurance policy. The company decided to create an annual cost savings report that raised the subscriber’s awareness of the actual costs for medical procedures and
medications, the amount covered by HSMA, and the resulting financial benefit.

According to Rapoza, “If the subscriber went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, he or she typically didn’t know the actual costs and the HMSA benefit. We wanted an agile solution where we could customize communications based on the specific member profile. We were seeking tools that would enable us to create personalized messaging for each subscriber in the form of an annual summary report.”

Rapoza continued, “We needed to push out the messaging. We knew that we wanted to mail out customized statements. While electronic delivery is a more costefficient way to deliver information, we are cognizant that a high percentage of our membership still prefers paper.”

The Solution
HMSA leveraged Océ’s Technology & Software Support (TSS) Solution Development Manager and Systems Consultant resources, its existing investment in Océ digital print technology, upgrades to its Océ PRISMAproduction® workflow software, as well as the GMC PrintNet Variable Data Composition software to design a solution for its annual benefits summary statement. This combination enabled HMSA to design, compose, produce, present, manage, and automate printed documents with individualized targeted messaging that was HIPPAcompliant. The system design also needed to accommodate production in print and electronic formats, created by PrintNet. Rapoza noted, “The end-result was a customerfriendly communication that clearly articulated the value that HMSA was delivering to its membership.”

To read more articles like this, visit www.OceWow.com and download the September Newsletter.

How to Wow Your Customers with TransPromo

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Putting the Wow in any offer requires understanding and delivering value. If you want to understand the value of TransPromo, you need to look at it from a few different perspectives:

  • What does marketing (your customer) value?
  • What creates value for the organization producing the document?
  • What does the end-recipient of the document (your customer’s customer) value?
  • If you can understand and deliver value for all three of those groups, Wow! What an offer!

TransPromo, which involves leveraging transaction data to deliver relevant, personalized customer communications, provides this opportunity. The capability to add relevant marketing content to transaction documents, such as statements, invoices, and electronic payment notifications, is tremendously valuable to marketing because it allows the marketing budget to be used more efficiently and, in many cases, more effectively. For example, TransPromo can:

  • Replace direct mailings to customers by leveraging campaign content on the transaction document
  • Reinforce and promote campaigns delivered via other channels (see our new ad on MTV! Visit our website for the latest discounts!
  • Generate improved response rates and develop stronger customer relationships by making offers that are relevant to each reader and delivering “point-of-need” content triggered by customer data

Relevant offers have been shown to increase response rates by 300% over those that are simply personalized, according to research conducted by PODi. Similar studies conducted by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) indicated that personalization alone can boost response rates by 44% over static communications, while personalization plus color can take response rates up 135%. When campaigns are personal and relevant (defined as one-to-one content) and produced in color, response rates increased by 500% over static — meaning that relevance provides a bump of 365% over personalization and color alone. Transaction documents provide the customer data that enables relevant campaigns — and relevance delivers stronger response rates.

While TransPromo is usually positioned as a solution for the marketing folks because of its proven ability to increase response rates, decrease campaign costs and shorten campaign cycle times, it has tremendous value for print production operations as well. Print service providers and in-plant printers maximize profits by streamlining document processing to the nth degree (or to the sixth sigma if you prefer.) This means maximizing the “up time” of all equipment and simplifying warehouse operations. TransPromo enables many of these benefits in a black and white environment — and offers even more Wow when you add color. With TransPromo:

  • Inserts can be turned into “onserts.” This avoids batching mail to fit selective inserter limits and can allow mail to be manifested, potentially reducing postal spend and bypassing physical presorting machines
  • Inventory management of physical inserts and setup of inserts on intelligent inserting equipment can be eliminated, increasing up-time for inserters and reducing storage and handling costs
  • The relevant messages will also be delivered online for your e-presentment clients (which is not usually the case with inserts)

Printers are also happy to add another profitable service area to their bag of tricks with the ability to manage and report on campaign messages. While marketing departments have many tools for managing campaigns on other channels, few have extended their technology to support TransPromo. Providing the ability for your customers to leverage their existing campaigns and digital assets on the transaction documents you produce for them has the added value of deepening ties with marketing and making your services more “sticky.”

The final bonus in the TransPromo value chain goes to the end-customer, who receives a document tailored to their requirements with valuable offers based on an understanding of their buying habits. They will also be less likely to receive additional annoying and irrelevant offers from the sender, perhaps slightly diminishing the clutter in their mailbox (or inbox). Well-executed TransPromo initiatives have been proven to improve customer loyalty and reduce customer attrition.

A solution that saves money and generates better response rates while making operations more efficient and keeping customers more satisfied? It sounds like TransPromo is a winning proposition.

Visit OceWowFactor to download the InfoTrends white paper entitled Electronic Use of Transaction Data, a Catalyst for TransPromo Across ALL Chanels.

How to Wow Your Customers with TransPromo

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Putting the Wow in any offer requires understanding and delivering value. If you want to understand the value of TransPromo, you need to look at it from a few different perspectives:

  • What does marketing (your customer) value?
  • What creates value for the organization producing the document?
  • What does the end-recipient of the document (your customer’s customer) value?

If you can understand and deliver value for all three of those groups, Wow! What an offer!

TransPromo, which involves leveraging transaction data to deliver relevant, personalized customer communications, provides this opportunity. The capability to add relevant marketing content to transaction documents, such as statements, invoices, and electronic payment notifications, is tremendously valuable to marketing because it allows the marketing budget to be used more efficiently and, in many cases, more effectively. For example, TransPromo can:

  • Replace direct mailings to customers by leveraging campaign content on the transaction document
  • Reinforce and promote campaigns delivered via other channels (see our new ad on MTV! Visit our website for the latest discounts!)
  • Generate improved response rates and develop stronger customer relationships by making offers that are relevant to each reader and delivering “point-of-need” content triggered by customer data

If want to read the rest of this article and for more like it, visit www.OceWow.com to download the July Newsletter!

Preparing for the Cross-Media World: The Future is NOW!

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For operations executives and marketers alike, the number one challenge in today’s market is reaching the customer. Customers are clearly in control of the media that they consume. Mobile devices, iPods, DVRs, and the Internet have changed marketing forever. Marketing executives of the future will need to leverage every customer touch point with a mix of interconnected channels. One thing is certain — the effective use of cross-media communications will bring better business results. Delivering multiple impressions and giving prospects a variety of ways to respond can have a dramatic impact.

Media Dynamics are Changing

Over the past several years, we have heard about the importance of transforming into a “marketing service provider” with a focus on one-to-one communications and variable data. Today’s media dynamics are changing. As we look to the future, there will be three critical components for success in the much larger cross-media opportunity:

  • Data-driven personal messaging
  • Delivering messages across all channels
  • Campaigns that engage the end customer

We’ll take a look at the first component now…

Data-Driven Personal Messaging

Marketers continue to see the value in developing intimate and direct communication with consumers. Not so long ago, families gathered around the television set. Now, individuals surf the Web and watch videos on personal, handheld devices. Consumers have grown comfortable with — and have even come to expect — a one-on-one dialogue with marketers. Personalized marketing messages are essential to attracting customers’ attention and delivering communications that increase sales. Today’s consumers don’t have the time or the patience to deal with irrelevant information. Data-driven personalized messaging has never been more important.

Organizations that sell products or services (business-to-business or business-to-consumer) must gather and use information about their customers’ purchases, including how much they spend per sale and when or how often they buy. Knowledge about past behaviors is a valuable tool for predicting future purchases. In addition to guiding business decisions, this information is critical for creating personalized marketing messages that increase sales.

Marketers must work with customers to personalize offers based on past purchases and preferences. The marketing must follow the customer (not the other way around), and the offer must be truly customized to the recipient’s specific needs.

In late 2010, InfoTrends published an extensive survey entitled Capturing the Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity. The marketing respondents that participated in this study reported that over 60% of their campaigns leveraged personalized (one-to-one) or segmented (one-to-few) marketing.

From the perspective of the print service provider, personalization is the future of marketing communications. Service providers must clearly understand how to work with clients on data-driven campaigns. The problem is that personalization is not enough to remain competitive in today’s complex cross-media world.

If you want to learn about the remaining two components, visit www.OceWow.com and download the June 2011 Newsletter. You’ll find even more interesting articles there!

Profit with TransPromo

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Transform your customer’s statements into their best customer communications vehicle… with personalization and relevant content.

 TransPromo communications take a standard bill or statement and add meaningful marketing messages — in other words, integrating a TRANSactional document with proactive PROMOtional marketing. The changes in postal rates and technology have created an environment where TransPromo makes good business and economical sense for many companies. TransPromo can be implemented in black and white, yet enhancing a statement or bill with color can significantly enhance response. These formerly routine documents can help you sell additional products and services and build brand loyalty.

 Study after study shows that statements command the most attention among many other common forms of customer communications. With so much attention paid to this document every month, there is huge potential to communicate directly with each customer on a “one-on-one” personal level.

 Through the use of targeted, personalized statements, DST Output has helped customers unleash the power of this opportunity and created deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers. Cheryl Kananowicz, Vice President and Dave Smith, Operations Manager share how DST Output does it.