By Alistair Blaxill, Executive Director of Communisis.
In the current economic downturn, there has never been a more pressing time for businesses to reign in costs and, where possible, generate new revenue streams.
With no industry exempt from increasingly scrutinised budgets, the prospect of converting white space into revenue is an attractive one for any business. Statements, bills and invoices are sent out daily to millions of homes across the UK. In addition, there is a pressing need for businesses to attract new customers and up-sell new services to existing ones.
Finally and probably most importantly, customers need to feel valued, and so regular, personalised dialogue is required to prevent them from taking their business elsewhere. More often than not, the chosen method for each of these challenges has been through the generation of direct marketing campaigns.
By bringing messaging usually found within direct mail campaigns to transactional documents, businesses can utilise the advantages of both platforms. Customers expect statements, and engage with them on a regular basis. In fact, it’s very much in a customer’s interest to pay attention to them to avoid any nasty surprises.
Recent statistics confirm this, with research showing that 95% of people open their statements and spend on average around three minutes reading them. To have such an engaged and regular audience like this is a marketer’s dream, and no other form of direct mail can claim to command so much attention from so many people.
By incorporating marketing communication into transactional documents, businesses can ensure that their message is almost certain to reach its audience. Valued customers do not ignore statements, and for those that do, they are unlikely to be engaged enough with the business to be receptive to any marketing messaging placed in front of them.
So why now? Firstly, customers have indicated that not only are they not resistant to transpromotional marketing, but that the majority of them actually welcome it. Research shows that 63% of people preferred personalised statements with relevant offers over a standard, purely transactional document.
This is crucial, as history shows us that people soon begin to ‘glaze over’ various marketing techniques, as anybody who has long grown tired of online banner ads and pop ups will tell attest to. It is therefore imperative that businesses make the most of this medium while their customers are still engaged, as opposed to later down the line when they may have grown more cynical.
There is also the important technological factor, as it is only really now that businesses have possessed the capabilities to generate Transpromo strategies in effective, meaningful and cost effective ways. Advances in document composition software mean that messaging can now be turned around and implemented in hours, enabling companies to respond quickly to market conditions, news and any changes in regulation.
A look back to a few months ago when the entire Western banking system appeared to be collapsing is a great example of how customers would have benefited and been reassured through timely and relevant and reassuring messaging.
Lastly, it’s all about money, as above all else streamlining communications makes sound economic sense. By combing transactional and marketing documents, businesses can immediately reduce postage costs and paper use. Not only does this impact positively on a company’s bottom line, but it also serves to boost those increasingly important green credentials.
Whether physical or electronic, customer communication is a significant outlay for businesses, but Transpromo allows them the opportunity to turn this cost centre into a profit centre. In addition to filling white space with their own marketing messaging, there is also the opportunity for businesses to strike deals with partner companies, and sell what is essentially advertising space at a premium rate.
Where possible, this process will witness greatest results when underpinned through smart data. For example, banks may choose to monitor a customer’s spending pattern, and then offer targeted marketing from one of their selected partners.
If a customer has just purchased a holiday on their credit card, for example, it would make sense for all concerned if an affiliated travel agent of the bank popped up on their statement offering travel insurance, or favourable currency rates. That same customer may have been phoning a relative in America on a semi-regular basis, and would be glad to see cheap flight deals to the States appear on their telephone bill.
As with anything in business and technology, there comes a point where all the elements and market conditions come together at the right time for that offering to reach maturity.
Few would argue that now is that time for Transpromo. With many businesses facing the daunting three-pronged challenge of reducing costs, attracting new customers and retaining those they already have, transpromotional marketing can no longer be overlooked.
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