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Bob Lieber CEO of Original Thought on transpromotional printing

Published on November 15, 2010

Bob Lieber, CEO of Original Thought on the opportunities that still exist in transpromo.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Bob Lieber, who is CEO of Original Thought, LLC.  Glad to see you again. 

Bob Lieber:  Good to see you. 

Cary Sherburne:  You know, we’ve been talking for a while in the industry among the consultant community and, and the vendors and so on about transpromos.  Transpromotional printing and the ability to put promotional message or other kinds of messages on transactional documents.  Is that old now or is it still a big opportunity for people? 

Bob Lieber:  It’s still a big opportunity, and one of the issues I’ve always had with that category of transpromo is that, it sounds more like it’s for the marketers and the businesses than it is for the consumers that are actually the recipients of the communications.  And so if you can sort of flip that around and say, what kind of value could a bank or a finance company or a utility provide to their customers through the printed vehicles or the online vehicles?  That to me is always of value and is always current. 

Cary Sherburne:  You know, it’s interesting.  I remember hearing a story about a bank, since you brought up banks where they were having an issue, you know, they would launch a new program, and if you bought the whole package, you know, if you got the CD and you got the checking account and you go tone other thing, whatever it was, you would get certain benefits.  Higher interest on your savings or whatever it was.  And they found that people were sort of forgetting about the whole package, and then whent hey got their statement and didn’t have the higher interest, they were like, you know, why is this?  I’m very unhappy.  You promised me this.  So what they were doing on their statements so it was trans educational, I guess, is they would remind people as the time when they had to get that CD bought to get the benefits, they would remind them on their statement, oh by the way, don’t forget, you know.  So it turned out to be a great educational tool as well as trying to sell something. 

Bob Lieber:  Yeah, and that’s what I find to be the most valuable you know, kinds of trans promotional efforts is the ones that actually provides some value to the consumer they wouldn’t get otherwise.  I have one example from my own personal life that’s kind of amazing.  And so I have a beach house in Surf City, New Jersey. 

Cary Sherburne:  Oh wow! 

Bob Lieber:  Atlantic City Electric is our utility. 

Cary Sherburne:  Okay. 

Bob Lieber:  And you would think, gee, Atlantic – how big could they be?  But they actually have a service where if you answer about 10 or 15 questions about your house; square footage, number of room, they will actually take your electric bill and give you all kinds of insight about it.  Like, they’ll tell you whether your electrical use is greater than you neighbors, they will actually tell you what percentage of your bill goes to your lights versus your refrigerator, versus your air conditioning. 

Cary Sherburne:  Wow! 

Bob Lieber:  It’ll actually analyze the difference from last month’s bill to this month’s bill, what caused the increase or the decrease.  And again, I just answered about 10 or 15 questions.  And now when that email comes in that my bill’s available, I actually look forward to looking at that statement to sort of see what can I do differently to decrease my electric consumption, or what are my neighbors doing? 

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. 

Bob Lieber:  So it’s just, again, a simple little effort from a small little company actually turned out to provide a lot of value.  So –

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great. 

Bob Lieber:  So, that’s one area, and I think that would be in that category of educational as opposed to trying to sell something with a promotion. 

Cary Sherburne:  And you know, I think that also, you know, you think about the opportunity to serve small – small to mid sized businesses with transpromo, you know, we always think about the big people, like Verizon or Atlantic City Electrical or whatever.  They’re big and they have lot of, you know, thousands of bills.  But there’s also some pretty cool software tools out there that will let you take the data stream that the biller or the issuer is already producing so they don’t have to invest in to making big changes in IT, and transform that into a whole new different bill that includes that kind of information.  So people should be aware that they don’t have to be giant to do this.  The customers don’t have to be giant and there are the tools and capabilities out there that make it affordable. 

Bob Lieber:  And I think that the interesting thing for me about transpromo is, again, sitting in the seat of the consumer and trying to decide, what would actually be valuable to me?  There’s never been more data available.  So, but the issue is –

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, way too much data. 

Bob Lieber:  -- who knows how to harness it and package it and put it in a way that it would really be beneficial.  You know, I lease automobiles and so its always interesting to me, they bury the information about when my lease is up or how many miles I have, but we have a lease that’s coming up and I’m right on the edge of maybe going over the number of miles.  If they actually were messaging me about how many miles I had and they actually had service data for me on when I last had service so they know how many I’ve driven, just a little imagination about how to use the data to be of benefit to the consumer.  And people would just, they’d be surprised.  They would – you would sort of –

Cary Sherburne:  Pleasantly. 

Bob Lieber:  Pleasantly surprised.  And you go from being pleasantly surprised to being a more loyal customer. 

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah that’s great.  And I think that print service provider can play a big role in helping these companies understand how to leverage that.  Well thank you. 

Bob Lieber:  You’re welcome. 

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