Why Are U.S. Marketers Sleeping on Transpromo?

Manny Kostas, senior vice president, worldwide strategy and marketing, for HP’s Imaging and Printing Group.

That standalone, tip-in brochure that comes with your credit card, bank or utility statement each month—odds are pretty good you toss it into the recycle bin without a second thought. But what if the product or service advertised on that throw-away was instead dropped into a personalized message on the document you actually spend time poring over—the bill?

That technique is called transpromotional marketing, “transpromo” for short. It takes the proven high-response techniques of personalized direct marketing over to some of the most valuable real estate in the mail: transactional documents such as bills and statements.

Consumers are attached to printed, mailed bills and statements. At last year’s National Postal Forum, Phoenix Marketing International released the results of its latest survey, noting that 65 percent of U.S. households said they prefer to receive printed bills and statements in the mail, even if they pay online. Businesses are well aware of the trend: according to the USPS, 95 percent of all transaction mail gets opened, and, not surprisingly, 73 percent of all bills and statements are still sent by mail.

There are a few key factors to make transpromo work effectively in your marketing.

  • Make the right use of your data: purchase histories, demographic information and any other details that would help you create a meaningful, personalized ad, coupon or message for your statement. Chances are, you are already starting to do this as part of your digital CRM marketing strategy.
  • The data does not have to be relevant to only your products and services: Transpromo statement white space is like almost any other desirable location. Depending on your data, transpromo could be a revenue-generator as an advertising space that you sell to outside companies.
  • High-quality color printing: Marketers have always had the ability to print variable, targeted messages on statements, it took the development of affordable, full-color digital printing for transpromo to gain traction. Just like in the publishing world, full-color transpromotional messaging stands out against monochrome text. Even better, with transpromo, your marketing message only has to compete against a line listing of statement transactions, as opposed to a narrative article.

A Hit Overseas
In the United States, marketers have access to larger customer lists and greater amounts of data, but that actually creates some resistance to change. Companies are hesitant to redesign their bills or statements unless they have to meet a legal requirement. In Latin America and other parts of the world where customer lists and data sets are a bit more manageable, we’ve seen transpromo take off.

Related Content
  • Nancy Scott

    This is the No. 1 UNANSWERED direct mail question of the last two years! I wrote extensively about transpromo for a client in 2010, but nobody took the bait. With digital/variable printing capabilities, transpromo appears to be a no-brainer, but U.S. billers still aren’t adopting. Why, indeed?

  • Anne

    Why don’t people know the difference between poring and pouring?

  • marybaum

    Or lose and loose? People keep talking about loosing things, and I keep imagining them falling all around them on the floor. If you loose it, just reach down and pick it up! If you lose it, now you’ve got a problem.

  • Prints Charming

    Doesn’t it have to do with Postal regulations regarding mail pieces that are for billing/invoicing purposes. Maybe adding the advertising message changes the way the PO looks at the piece