Getting Marketing Teams Engaged with Production Print

By | May 23, 2011

It’s no secret that marketing departments are savvy when it comes to direct mail. It’s a channel they’ve traditionally owned. They routinely work with vendors – whether it’s a direct mail house or commercial printshop – who provide access to sophisticated tools for conceiving, creating, composing, personalizing, mail-merging, printing and delivering mail pieces to a designated set of recipients and then measuring campaign effectiveness. For direct mail, they have plenty of tools for interacting with the process, from uploading artwork and providing lists to measuring response rates.

However, when it comes to bills, statements, policies and other production print output, many marketers find it more difficult to navigate the terrain (if they even consider stepping onto it in the first place.)

Why do I think marketers are less engaged with production print?

For starters, there’s the cultural dimension: IT and Operations versus Marketing. Historically production print has been the domain of the technology, operations or billing department, a silo neatly tucked away from creative and marketing types. As a result, many marketing execs simply didn’t consider transactional documents as vehicles for their messages. As awareness grows, marketing teams and even CMOs are starting to recognize the value of the transpromo opportunity. This is especially true as they face mounting pressure to deliver more accountability and better results at a lower cost. However, because they’re new to the game, they may be unsure of what executing a transpromo campaign entails, or how to engage with their traditional rivals in IT.

If you’re a print services provider, this is a golden opportunity.

Maybe you’re already providing direct mail or transactional print services for a particular client. You’ve got a new way to add more business and generate new revenue streams if you can help Marketing bridge the gap with IT. Start by helping marketers understand the potential of adding the statement into the marketing mix. Demonstrate the effectiveness of delivering targeted messages to recipients who are highly likely to spend time with the document. Point out the economies of embedding messages in documents that are delivered in an envelope where the stamp is already paid for. Keep in mind that you also have to win over their IT and operations folks who will be concerned about production cycles, data integrity and the ability to test. These guys want to know that a marketer is not going to be sticking their fingers in the code the day before (or even the week before) production.

Once you’ve convinced Marketing and IT that you have the skills, processes and tools to help them “do transpromo” in a quality controlled and measurable environment, help them foster dialogues with other departments and stakeholders. This might entail determining who maintains the library of messages and conditional business rules that define their use. Finally, provide access to tools that make it as easy to manage content for transaction documents as it is for direct mail – and make sure to measure results. In many cases, the very tools that enable marketers to interact with their suppliers for direct mail campaigns can be adapted for the transpromo world.

In a nutshell, educate them, make the appropriate tools available, facilitate the process and help marketers track results and ROI. It’s a consultative sell – but well worth the effort if it cements your relationship with existing customers or helps to bring you new ones.

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One thought on “Getting Marketing Teams Engaged with Production Print

  1. Scott Baker

    Hi Francis:

    Your article is spot-on. Many of our PSP customers have facilitated very successful deployments of transpromo on behalf of their enterprise customers for the reasons you highlighted.

    There is inherent risk in change — especially if you are in IT delivering mission critical statements, invoices, etc. IT usually does not have much experience with variable imaging, variable messaging, or color and this gap is a huge barrier to overcome. PSPs are in a unique position to bridge that gap effectively.

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