Within our industry, there is an interesting debate about the definition of TransPromo documents. Is it a bill/statement that has promotional messages embedded? Does it have to be promoting a product, service, or just a call to action? How about simply educating the customer and cultivating the relationship? At the other end of the spectrum, there are proponents that have gone as far as to extend TransPromo to primarily promotional documents that are composed based on transactional data and a lot of business logic. Think of these documents as one to one marketing on steroids. So who is right? And how does this impact print volumes? And, why is it relevant?
It is relevant for those that are trying to defend the paper-statement, or the paper direct mail letter, or even the static brochure. The concept of TransPromo shouldn’t be paper centric.. It should be to nurture and cultivate a stronger relationship between supplier and customer, while improving retention rates, keeping the customer actively engaged in the relationship, and hopefully building enough trust that the customer chooses to grow the relationship over time. In this sense, using transaction information helps to engage the customer in a dialogue and improve the lifetime value of the relationship.
So, does this have to occur on a printed statement? Of course not. The best approach to nurturing the supplier/customer relationship is many coordinated and ad hoc touch points, driven by business logic, common sense, and a determination to develop mutual trust and respect. Remember the old adage that every employee is a salesperson? Well, perhaps we should rewrite this and say that every touch point is an opportunity to cultivate the relationship.
Can TransPromo save the paper-statement? Honestly, it doesn’t have to save the paper-statement. But by effectively implementing a comprehensive TransPromo strategy, the supplier gains a strategic strength that will link the print room to the board room. This might not save the paper-statement, but it will certainly drive many new print applications that will be tightly coordinated and integrated into the supplier’s business strategy.
Here is an example for the potential of TransPromo. When was the last time you received a coupon in the mail as part of an affinity program? You probably receive these all the time. I am willing to bet that you don’t always remember to bring them with you to the retail store. Am I right? But, the coupon did, in fact, “get you in the door”. After you pick out the product you want to purchase, and go to the counter and tell them you received a coupon, but didn’t have it with you, what is their answer (yes, I know some do this better than others)? Most likely, they tell you that you can’t use the coupon if you don’t have it with you. Seriously? Their promotion got you to change your behavior and come back to the store when they wanted you to be there and you decided to buy something. This is complete success! They aren’t going to reward you for that? Why not implement a registered coupon that is produced using variable data. It is tagged in their retail system and only you can redeem the coupon. You can do this on the phone, in person, or by mail. It doesn’t matter. The point is that you tell them you received a coupon. They look it up in their retail system and surprise!!! I bet you would be thrilled to have a positive experience where you know that the coupon wasn’t just another indiscriminate offer.
I think the lesson here is that we shouldn’t get fixated on the medium. Customers must come first and strategy should drive how they are engaged and cultivated. If we do it right, print will thrive. If we don’t, then the supplier may falter either way.