Commentary & Analysis
Highlight Color Fits the Bill for Tailored Messaging
By Kevin Horey September 25,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: September 25, 2006
By Kevin Horey September 25, 2006 -- Every day consumers are inundated with documents, from advertisements to invoices, notices, sales fliers and more. All of these documents compete for the reader's attention, but only the most compelling get a second glance. Marketers need to ask, how can I make my messages stand out from the crowd and get the attention they deserve? The use of one additional color can be extremely effective at increasing the value of a document Digital highlight color printing accomplishes both of these goals. While a full-color document is the most visually appealing and powerful, the use of one additional color can be extremely effective at increasing the value of a document. Highlight color can focus a reader's attention on the most critical information the company needs them to see --due dates, key words, instructions and special offers. It is regularly being used in applications such as books, booklets and pamphlets, brochures, fliers, checks, letterhead, envelopes, statements and invoices. Adding highlight color increases understanding, helps people retain information and gives key information the extra push needed to motivate the reader to take actions such as purchasing goods, requesting services or paying an invoice. To bring color into documents a common alternative to highlight color is printing static, full-color offset shells and then printing variable, black-and-white digital content on them. Offset shells are effective for some applications, but highlight color printing eliminates the need for and cost of creating and storing preprinted stock. Also, companies can work with their print providers to produce highlight color documents that include logos and graphics on-demand, eliminating obsolescence and making sure they always have the most updated, relevant documents available. Highlight color documents also call attention to specific information much more easily. In turn, this can lead to increased effectiveness, better ROI and higher customer satisfaction. Put Your Color Where Your Focus Is OSG Billing Services, founded in 1992, produces more than 60 million pieces of mail per year for the publishing, telecom, wireless, leasing and utility industries using only digital printing equipment. Operating 24/7, the company uses Xerox DocuTech ® 180 HighLight Color Systems for highlight color applications and dynamically composed documents to continually strengthen relationships between its clients and their customers. OSG Billing Services uses highlight color and dynamically composed documents to strengthen relationships between its clients and their customers. What makes OSG Billing Services different from many print providers and service bureaus is that the company educates its print customers about the appropriate use of color. In the end, this helps each print customer save money by not printing unnecessary color pages and enables OSG Billing Services to generate additional revenue for itself and its clients by reaching the end user of the document more effectively. "To create an effective document, you have to use color appropriately," says Richard Hoffman, vice president of operations and technical, OSG Billing Services. "This is a prime example of how less can be more --when highlight color is used to focus a reader's attention on important information versus just splashing color everywhere to create a pretty document." Close to 95 percent of OSG Billing Services' monthly page volume is highlight color and almost none of its work uses preprinted offset shells. Many customers are taking their documents to the next level as well -- nearly 80 percent pair highlight color with personalized targeted messaging. Bills, Bills, Bills OSG Billing Services uses highlight color to help create the best invoices possible, so companies improve communications with the recipients. In short, all parties want the bill to end up in the "paid in full" column as quickly as possible, instead of the trash. Highlight color helps customers understand their bill better, which in turn reduces the number of calls to customer centers and gets the paid invoice in the mail on time, every month. Nearly 80 percent of OSG customers pair highlight color with personalized targeted messaging. There are additional benefits to digitally producing highlight color invoices. Every billing cycle, companies have the opportunity to provide better communication and connect with customers by using their invoices for more than just payment collection. Companies that use invoices as a marketing tool can boost revenue by increasing brand awareness, cross- and up-selling products, and introducing expanded service capabilities. They can also highlight added features or special promotions, inform about a change of service, explain invoice details, deliver money-saving coupons and provide company news. OSG Billing Services is very successful at fully utilizing high-quality digital printing and highlight color technology. The company recently earned honors from Billing & OSS Today Magazine for Operational Excellence by demonstrating consistent improvements for customers through practical invoice production, customized messaging and online billing technology. "We focus on efficiency and precision in bill creation, and we free our clients to focus on servicing their customers, growing their business and increasing their profitability," notes Hoffman. "We become a strategic partner with businesses to maximize the communication power of their services. Their cash flow is in our hands -- they want people to get the bill and pay it on time. We need to be beyond reliable." Here are a few of OSG Billing Services' customer success stories: * A New Jersey publisher needed to streamline bill production for its 35 weekly newspapers from creation to mailing. The company found that its original invoice and second and third notices were frequently ending up in the trash. The company engaged OSG Billing Services to redesign its invoice using highlight color printing and tailored messaging. The redesigned invoices have reduced staff processing time by $35,000; reduced the number of invoices created each week by 1,400, as more customers are now responding to the original invoice; decreased call center volume 25 percent; realized a postage savings and reduced outstanding invoice time from 34 days to 19 days. Perhaps just as important has been the additional revenue the publisher has generated by selling advertising on the invoices. This program is a quintessential example of how businesses can do more with their invoices. * A wireless provider in North Carolina was able to reduce the number of pages in its billing statements by 50 percent --from eight pages to four pages-- by using OSG Billing Services to create a better invoice format. Additionally, highlight color and customized messaging were used to draw the reader's attention to a special phone promotion on the invoice, which led to a 30 percent spike in sales of that particular mobile phone. The reduction of printed pages described in the examples above may be enough to make a print provider cringe, but OSG Billing Services doesn't see itself as just a print provider. The company offers additional services such as document design, document warehousing, programming, electronic bill presentment and payment and customer support tools. By offering so many additional services, OSG Billing Services positions itself as a true partner to its clients, rather than just a printer. Companies are constantly looking for ways to better communicate with their customers, and consumers want to look at meaningful communications. Highlight color documents can be the answer, and ultimately result in more satisfied, loyal customers. Digital highlight color printing is a great way to deliver exactly what everyone wants.