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Why Are U.S. Marketers Sleeping on Transpromo?

January 6, 2012 By Manny Kostas
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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.

Empresas Jordan S.A., the largest transactional printing service bureau in Latin America, creates transpromotional documents and subsidizes the printing costs for its clients by selling transpromo white space. But the statements not only drive revenue, they drive response. One Jordan client, a supermarket, adopted transpromo statement mailers as part of its shopper loyalty program, driving response rates from .4 percent up to 5.5 percent. 

Credomatic, a financial services firm serving several countries in Latin America, transitioned its statements to transpromo as a way to increase client satisfaction in a challenging economic environment. Credomatic switched to transpromo once its service bureau, Cargraphics, upgraded its printing speed and data processing capabilities. The increased efficiencies allowed Credomatic to complete its switch to transpromo without incurring additional costs for statement printing.

Why Not in the U.S.?
There are many other examples of transpromo used with great success overseas, but domestically, the story has been a bit different. American companies, and those in other large countries like the United Kingdom, naturally have bigger customer bases and proportionally larger service bureau costs for statements.

The larger scale gives many marketers the impression that the digital color printing needed for transpromo is unaffordable, but that is changing. Newer inkjet digital presses come close to electrophotography in print quality, but are significantly faster. The faster speed reduces the cost per color page, and for many companies, this shift will put transpromo within reach for the very first time.

Many firms have recently gone through the effort of redesigning their bills to meet the requirements of the CARD Act, and are waiting for more economic justification before doing another redesign to accommodate transpromo. In some cases, companies' recent redesigns include space for non-personalized promotional marketing messaging. For those firms that took the initiative to secure marketing space, the next step will involve working with their marketing teams to fully develop the messages, data analysis, trigger points and monitoring systems needed to turn that space to color transpromo.

It is a step that might rely on some important economic preconditions. After all, in corporate America, marketing staffs—the ones most accountable for transpromo implementation and success—are often the first to be cut in bad times. We may see activity in transpromo increase as the U.S. economy gains momentum and more marketing professionals are charged with creating new growth strategies.

One firm in the U.K. that is already helping its clients take advantage of transpromo is Communisis, a leading service bureau serving FTSE 100 businesses. In the words of one Communisis executive, transpromo "enables something of the immediacy of the personal online web experience in print." More important, it matches what the public increasingly expects and responds to in the digital age.

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


 
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