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NCP Solutions's David Erwin on Customer Organization

Published on February 6, 2012

David Erwin Senior VP Market Development at NCP Solutions discusses some of the challenges they face with customer organization in transaction and trans-promo markets.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Dave Erwin, who is Senior Vice President at NCP Solutions.  Glad to see you today.  

Dave Erwin:  It’s great to see you again, Cary.  

Cary Sherburne:  So, you guys have got a pretty strong heritage in the transactional market and, of course, all that’s changing now as we move more into transpromo and integrating more promotional communications.  Maybe you could talk a little bit about some of the challenges you see in dealing with customer organizations with their silos and what are… and how you overcome those challenges.  

Dave Erwin:  Exactly, Cary.  I think what we’re faced with as an organization is in the transactional states.  You’re typically dealing with an operational group.  And when we move to transpromotional, we’re bringing in aspects of marketing.  And the problem with that is, many times they’re not in the same building and not even in the same state.  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  

Dave Erwin:  So, to get those groups together, and then you have the IT components, IT owns the transaction, you have marketing owning the messaging, you have servicing owning the operation of it.  To get those organizations together is definitely a challenge.  And it’s something we’re ready to tackle, but it’s out there.  

Cary Sherburne:  So, within the organization, so within from IT and operations and marketing, who really needs to drive, I mean, you need an internal sponsor.  You need a, you know, a cheerleader inside.  Who does that have to be?  

Dave Erwin:  You know, I think that depends on the customer you’re calling on, but for the most part, I would say you’re going to need an executive sponsor.  You’re going to need someone who has the vision for the organization moving forward.  

Cary Sherburne:  So above even marketing and IT.  Because I hear a lot of people saying, well you got to get the marketing guy to drive it or gal to drive it.  

Dave Erwin:  I think so, I think there’s a financial component too, where you can get the… 

Cary Sherburne:  The CFO… 

Dave Erwin:  … you know, the CFO involved where you look at transactions being sent out and documents, which we do extremely well, but then you have this whole direct marketing side that’s spending millions of dollars to get those customers so you can do those transactions.  

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  

Dave Erwin:  And to get those groups together and look that CFO in the eye and say, hey, look, maybe we can cut over here and add to a transactional document and help you cross sell your business and save you some money on the DM side.  And that’s a challenge because a lot of people like that DM work.  

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  

Dave Erwin:  For our organization being more focused on the transaction, it’s an opportunity.  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  Yeah, so, the other thing is turning that statement from a cost center to a revenue center.  

Dave Erwin:  Yeah, we’ve heard that, seen the presentations, sat in the rooms; it’s a tough conversation, but it’s legitimate.  You can do it; you have to be skilled at it.  You have to have a good staff, a good sales force, good marketing behind it.  But it can be done, but it is a challenge.  

Cary Sherburne:  So, I’m also curious, and I’m sort of sorting this out to you may not be that familiar with them, but Zoombox?  

Dave Erwin:  Sure.  

Cary Sherburne:  Or Volly from Pitney-Bowes, and so how do you see them playing a role because with, like, for Zoombox, for example, they’ve got a panel on the bottom of the electronic document that allows you to put whatever.  Maybe the issuer may have or the biller may have customer service messages or if they don’t want to use the space, then somebody like a Zoombox would actually sell advertising on there.  

Dave Erwin:  Personally I find it fascinating technology.  I spent some time with the Volly people today actually on the show.  And it is fascination technology, but it comes down to the consumer.  The consumer has to want to do this.  They have to want to go to a single site; they have to want to engage all their transactions, all their marketing in a single space and pay from that.  And what we’ve seen in the last, what, 10 years, adaption of the presentments, 15-ish percent, isn’t that right?  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  

Dave Erwin:  I don’t know how quickly customers are going to want to move from where they are, maybe a banking site, to an open site provided by Pitney or whoever else is doing that.  So, it’s something that we’re going to be watching very closely.  We’ll engage as we need to, but right now I think we’re still focused really on that presentment side.  And we’ll see how this plays out.  

Cary Sherburne:  That’s good, you know, because back in 2002, when it was all the buzz and the rage and we’re like, you know dire… 

Dave Erwin: No more paper.  No more paper.  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, dire predictions about what was going to happen to the post office… well, we’re getting that now too, but… 

Dave Erwin:  Yes.  We are.  

Cary Sherburne:  But, you know, it did-, the adoption rate didn’t happen.  It didn’t have really the seamless solutions the aggregators never really happened, you know, like they thought that they would, so.  

Dave Erwin:   And I think that was fortunate for a lot of people, like ourselves, in this space that that didn’t occur because, you know, we are capital intense on the input side.  I mean, you know, behind us on the show floor there’s phenomenal technology.  Inkjet’s definitely going to change the market and we’re excited about that.  And we’re looking at that very closely on how we can apply those technologies and build a better solution for our customer.  But it’s, again, it’s going to be a challenge to do that over the next couple of years.  You have competing technologies from the Xerox’s of the world as well as, you know, the electronic technologies from Pitney.  

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  Right.  

Dave Erwin:  So, it’s a lot of fun weeding through it, I can tell you that.  

Cary Sherburne:  Well it’ll be interesting. We should talk again a year from now.  I’d talk to you before then, but we should talk again a year from now and see, you know, what’s transpired because obviously, Volly isn’t even in the market yet.  Zoombox is in the market, but doesn’t have really the critical mass of customers.  They’ve got the billers, but they don’t have the customers, so maybe a year from now we’ll see a different picture.  

Dave Erwin:  I, I would like to speak to you a year from now.  

Cary Sherburne:  All right.  

Dave Erwin:  It’s great seeing you.  

Cary Sherburne:  Same here.  

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