It Does Not Always Need To Be a Color Print
Everyone talks about TransPromo - but very few use it. European companies in particular are hesitant, apart from in Spain and France. More progress has been made in the USA and Canada. Many companies in these countries have already recognized the sale potential which they can benefit from by integrating personalized advertising into bills, account statements etc. In Germany, companies such as Deutsche Post in particular are pushing ahead with the topic. The service provider sends an increasing number of its bills account overviews and notification of changes along with colorful advertisements. The colorful bills are more likely to grab the interest of the recipient than boring black and white correspondence. And this is not only due to the color, but also due to the fact that this is a personal message for the reader – for example, tips to change to a lower tariff. Airlines such as Lufthansa are also fighting on the "TransPromo front”. Tickets with advertising for car rental companies and hotels are becoming increasingly frequent – mainly in black and white, but the principle is the same: Invoices, tickets, account statements etc. are becoming advertising letters, which are more eye-catching than classic flyers. People look at bills more often than the enclosed advertising brochures, which usually head straight for the wastepaper bin when the letters are opened.
Nevertheless, things have only just started in German-speaking countries. The reason for this hesitation is the lack of technical information networks between marketing and the other company areas in many businesses. In many cases, the IT systems are not designed in such a way that they can deliver the required current customer data quickly to each of the target groups – an essential requirement for effective TransPromo. For example, important conclusions can be made from customers purchasing behavior, which should be integrated into the advertising message. So much for theory. Practice has demonstrated that there are often no stringent workflows for the transfer of customer data to systems for the creation of documents and preparation for printing.
Printing volume is decreasing
However, TransPromo requires a high-performance IT system which is able to optimize and coordinate the various data streams in such a way that bulk documents can be created and submitted to the correct recipients on schedule – whether pin print or in electronic form. This is a complex process, particularly if it involves colored TransPromo.
Ultimately, many companies did not know how to combine information relevant to customers with the print data, in particular because there are often no systems available for central customer relationship management (CRM), or these cannot be constantly maintained. Duplicates, incorrect contact partners, missing telephone numbers and repeated e-mail and postal addresses are typical symptoms. Consistent data which is available in real time is essential for TransPromo, whether in color or black and white. The mistaken belief persists that companies merely need to purchase a high-performance digital color printer and that only minor additional arrangements are required. This is an opinion which has, in part, been caused by the major TransPromo propaganda drummed up by the printer manufacturers. In fact, TransPromo is often only associated with color printing. This is misguided, as the use of printed documents is likely to decline in the future. Invoices and account statements with personalized advertising messages as e-mail attachments or PDF downloads in web portals have been a reality for some time - in black-and-white and color. Electronic submission channels are therefore becoming increasingly important, including those used in advertising transactions.
Those who choose TransPromo should initially clarify the technology and workflows required. These are not necessarily the same for all companies. For example, a company which wants to add non-individualized advertisements to pre-printed bills in the same spaces has different requirements to a company which works with personalized advertising messages or wants to create completely empty documents for each individual customer. While in the first case, only the advertisement needs to be sent to the program to create the document, the situation is more complex in the second case. Here, the data (including the name, address, gender, date of birth, buying behavior of the customer) needs to be analyzed and the company will need to consider whether there is even space for an advertising message.
Whichever scenario is chosen, precisely defined mechanisms are required to transfer advertising motives for document submission. If the advertisements need to be tailored to the respective recipient, additional consistent customer data is required which is saved in a centrally accessible system – for example, in the form of fully integrated CRM software (CRM = Customer Relationship Management). It can help to start small with TransPromo. For example, by applying an advertisement which is the same for all recipients and is saved as a template. This ensures that the time required to connect with the IT system remains clear. In a second step, the company can then move on to personalized advertising messages. Support by an output management specialist can be helpful: This specialist should be as familiar with the optimization of data streams as they are with the integration of document production, processing and submission into the overall IT system. An important factor in this situation: Companies which opt for TransPromo should approach the project with an overview of all channels. Focusing solely on printing is ultimately too short-sighted – not only due to the general reduction of printing volumes. Electronic channels are easier to use and do not require such high investment. TransPromo is not only about printing, quite the opposite: Experts estimate that promotion in transactions, whether in color or a black-and-white, will become more dynamic modern media such as e-mail, web portals and E-Postbrief.