Commentary & Analysis
Crawl, Walk, Run! Making the TransPromo Progression
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: March 26, 2007
Crawl, Walk, Run! Making the TransPromo Progression By Pat McGrew March 26, 2007 The emergence of new applications, such as TransPromo documents that combine transaction and marketing communications, and the desire for higher levels of personalization provide growth opportunities for print providers. When presented with examples of traditional statements and marketing inserts and then with a TransPromo document, 63% of consumers favored the TransPromo document. The Future of Direct Mail, Transaction and “Transpromotional” Documents Infotrends, December 2006 TransPromo, the integration of essential billing transactions with promotional offers, is not a new idea. We started talking about the possibilities of using customer spending patterns and customer demographic data to create more relevant offers during the first CRM boom in the 1990s. Even then, the major billers understood that relevant offers drive response rates. At the time, however, the ability to implement those types of integrated marketing campaigns was limited by the accessibility of the data and the ability to create bill and statement designs that appropriately highlighted the offer. Today we have great data mining tools, great formatting tools, and great print hardware capable of meeting everyone’s needs. Just having the tools doesn’t create a TransPromo capability, though. To execute a TransPromo strategy takes an understanding of the current state of all of your customer communications, your billing systems, and a plan for developing and managing marketing offers so they stay fresh and interesting. It can begin with basic changes to the current billing statement structure, and evolve into those highly customized and personalized statements that meet the needs of individual customers. Consider the following plan. Crawl Gather your product and service line of business owners together. Ask them to bring copies of all of their current customer-facing communication. That means letters, direct mail pieces, print advertising, web presentation, and the actual bills you are sending to customers. Once you lay them out on a table, you may discover what many others have learned: that strict branding policy you have may not be widely adhered to. The first step is to identify what you can do to create a consistent look and feel to all of your customer communications. Lay a plan, with accountable parties, to get all of the branding elements consistent across all communication channels. If you are using pre-printed stock, make sure that it meets the same guidelines. Don’t forget that the selection of typeface should be consistent across all of the media, too. It’s all part of the brand. Once you have that step underway, the next step is to determine if your current customer communication is doing its job! Make sure that transaction line items are intelligible to the recipient and not just a string of numbers and characters out of the billing system. Make sure that the remittance methods, due dates, and customer service contact information are easy to find and understand. Is there an area for customer messages in the layout? Is it being updated and used effectively? During this process many companies learn that they have been running the same messages for many months, which can lead customers to stop paying attention and stop responding. The end of the Crawl stage is achieved when you have a documented picture of your current customer communication profile; you know who owns what document and the process that supports its generation; and you know what your current options are for adding or enhancing the marketing component of the billing statement. TransPromo does not require images, color, singing or dancing! You can start with simple messaging using your current knowledge of your customer to establish the conversation with the customer. Now let’s walk. Walk Now that everyone is on the same page, the use of branding elements is consistent, and you’ve worked on simple messaging to your customers, let’s start talking about taking the next step. That will take a few conversations with the owners of the customer data. That may be the product line owner, the marketing organization, the billing organization, or there may be a number of owners who share responsibility. Remember to include your compliance department and legal team. In some industries and some countries, there are legal limits to the type of information you can collect about a customer and limits on how it may be used. Know the parameters that apply to your industry before you start. We want to identify what we truly know about our customers and how we can use what we really know to grow the relationship. Remember: Relationship = Wallet-Share. What we are trying to do is ensure that when customers have a choice, they stay with us or our partners for any service or product we can offer. We know their names, their addresses, and what they buy from us, so start with that and determine what we have to offer that they do not buy. You may want to look as some basic data mining tools, or check with your marketing group to see if there are tools already in house that they use. In order to use the data, you’ll need to access a view of the database, as well as a campaign management or document composition system that allows you to build rules on how to format each bill. You might start with simple text messages triggered by the products they do not purchase or their spending patterns. Once you practice with making simple offers based on information you have and offers you can make from inside your organization, it’s time to spread your wings and get into a full run. Run Moving from walk to run involves expanding what you know about your customers and expanding the offers you make to them based on that knowledge. Start by finding out what public data is available about your customers. You may want to acquire census data that is broken down by income levels, postal codes, or other demographics. You may want to buy information from a broker to learn more about what the average 25- to 35-year-old adult does with disposable income broken down by where they live. You can buy data about almost everyone, so why not spend a bit and get a better picture of your customers beyond your current relationship with them? Once you develop a larger picture of your customers, look across your internal and external marketing partners for the types of offers you can make to intrigue your customers. You can start small; make just a few demographic cuts and build just a few rules with just a few offers. Practice for a few months on building the offers and measuring the response you get. See what works for you and your customers and then start expanding the number of offers to more discrete demographic slices of your customer base. The more relevant the offer, the more likely your customer will respond. That’s the Crawl, Walk, Run story of TransPromo. You can do it! Join billers around the world that are already reaping the benefits of TransPromo communications.