Marketing professionals know that a personalized and relevant direct mail offer produces the best response and conversion. Integrating promotional messages into a transactional document such as a statement produces an outstanding response because recipients almost always read these documents.
This approach works quite well, but making it happen is more difficult than it sounds. Often the issue is a lack of resources. Marketing knows how to capture attention with relevant messages, but legacy transactional document generation systems cannot insert variable messages into the documents. Marketing may request upgrades, but it takes a long time before the improvements are implemented. IT projects such as these are perennially bumped lower on the IT priority list.
However, companies can invest in software tools like the Business Communications Center powered by DocOrigin® that add the marketing power of promotional messages into transactional documents with little IT modification. The organization can increase promotional response and reduce postage costs. Marketers have more tools to communicate with customers than with legacy software or reliance on IT staff.
Why (Real) Personalization is Important
Mailpiece personalization was once limited to minimal customization in a text line such as “A special offer for you, Bob”. A mail merge-like process inserted variables from a data record into a document template. The offer was static to everyone on the list and may have no relevance to customer buying histories. “Real” personalization uses Bob’s name, but also includes products relevant to his purchasing behavior or other customer-specific details. It could include geographic information like his location that is based on his standardized mailing address. The closer you align your offer to a customer’s known behavior and interests, the better the chance for response and conversion. Real personalization makes the mailpiece speak to Bob directly.
Transaction + Promotion = Transpromo
Paperless billing and online payment options are popular for companies with customers making monthly payments. However, a large part of your customer base probably prefers the security, permanence, and legal duty of paper statements sent through the postal system. Invoices mailed with the U.S. Postal Service are subject to federal laws designed to protect the consumer. Online bill payment has no such protection.
In its most basic sense, transpromo is the practice of adding marketing offers to transactional documents like statements or invoices. Typically, these messages make an offer to entice a customer to try a product they are not using. Variable data printing is the key to successful transpromo implementation. Do not offer Bob a discount on a product he is already using. With transpromo and real personalization, a company can offer him a discount on a complementary product. Since the promotion is part of an invoice, the chances are very good that Bob will look at it. Research firm InfoTrends found transactional documents are opened and read by 90 percent of their recipients—a much higher rate than can be achieved by standalone direct mail marketing.
Transpromo Saves Postage
When companies embed promotional messages in transactional documents already being sent to customers, the campaign has zero impact on the postage budget. Compare this to the costs to send separate direct mail campaigns, even at discounted Marketing Mail postage rates.
In the past few years, the United States Postal Service has offered postage discounts for organizations using transpromotional mail pieces. USPS promotions specify content requirements and effective date ranges. However, the requirements are easy to achieve and the discounts are substantial. If you send a bill, include a promotional message and enjoy a postage discount. There is no downside. The latest program requirements are found at https://postalpro.usps.com/promotions.
A Marketer’s Guide to Implementing the Benefits of Transpromo
The challenge for marketers is finding a simple way to integrate the benefits of transpromo into an enterprise’s document management system. Traditionally this involved the IT department, adding time and complexity to the project. One particularly difficult feature to incorporate into legacy systems is whitespace management, which can turn unused areas in a transactional document into a promotional opportunity.
Whitespace in the traditional sense is unused document real estate. A promotion, educational message, or legal information can be dropped into existing blank areas on a page. Some pages of transactional documents may have plenty of blank space at the end of a page, while others have little to no available space, depending on how many detail lines are included for each customer’s document. This variability makes it difficult to inject whitespace management logic into legacy programs written long before this concept was ever considered a viable marketing technique.
If your document contains no white space to display a message, software like Eclipse’s DocOrigin can detect, create, and fill whitespace with a marketing message according to business rules established by the organization. Marketing managers can create, change, and append promotional messages at will.
This level of flexibility provides a higher level of customer communication management. The power is in the hands of the marketing department. The messaging can be more relevant to each customer and, unlike pre-printed bill stuffers that are ordered months in advance, the content can be changed at a moment’s notice. This is especially important in today’s COVID-19 environment when business hours and other conditions fluctuate.
Perhaps the most powerful feature of transpromo software designed for marketers is that companies need not modify their existing systems to integrate the transpromo software. Data is provided through the existing document management system and mapped into the new document generation software. The transpromo software application then takes over and does the rest.
Transpromotional marketing is a powerful promotional tool for marketers. It makes perfect sense that the software that supports transpromo programs is managed and implemented by the marketing department with a minimum of IT burden. The result is dynamic cross-selling, upselling, and a measurable increase in effective customer communications.