By Jim Norton
Are you a print service provider that supports retailers? If so, you know that retailers are faced each day with the fact that shoppers are bombarded with information from competitors at every turn. In the mall, every store rightly competes for their attention. Ad inserts and flyers provide another way to showcase promotional offers, but often the insert is bundled with similar material from other --and perhaps competing-- retailers. Television, radio, newspaper, and magazine ads can be used to reach the desired demographic, but may require weeks or even months of planning and production. The same is true of expensive direct mail packages, which consumers may simply toss out without opening. And while a retailer’s web site is a great vehicle for the timely announcement of sales and special promotions, or even whole product catalogs, the challenge is getting customers to log on for news about products of particular interest to them.
There is, however, a very effective tool in the promotional arsenal that a print service provider may be able to provide as an effective marketing vehicle--the credit card statement. The credit card statement is something a consumer is very likely to carefully review. And the best news is that it goes to each individual customer, resulting in the most personal approach possible.
A trigger can be set to recognize a transaction for the purchase of camping equipment, then call up additional information about other current camping-related promotions or products and print that information directly on the statement.
Many retailers already recognize the value of the statement as a promotional vehicle, packing information about this month’s specials in the same envelope as the statement. A business opportunity exists in advising your retail customers to take this one step further and use the white space on the statement itself as a means of providing carefully targeted promotional information to each individual shopper. Utilizing enterprise document automation software, a single platform that allows you to produce and deliver fully personalized, consistent and relevant communications through multiple print and electronic channels, can provide the essentials of billing information, as well relevant messages and variable graphics based on the customer’s buying habits, demographic profile, etc. This makes it possible for you to help your customers cross sell or up sell related inventory. For example, a trigger can be set to recognize a transaction for the purchase of camping equipment, then call up additional information about other current camping-related promotions or products and print that information directly on the statement. This combination of transactional data and promotional campaign is what defines a true transpromo document.
While this sounds almost like magic, software solutions for personalizing statements should be carefully selected and tested before you invest. Questions to ask include: Is it compatible with what is already installed? Can it make use of the data on the existing system, stored in a variety of file formats? Is it easy to use and accessible to the marketing staff as well as IT technicians? Does it support multi-channel delivery, including real-time and interactive systems? Is it flexible to adapt your workflow and approval processes?
Highly personalized marketing delivers many benefits. It has a proven track record when it comes to dramatically improving customer response. And it reduces production costs by eliminating the need to produce separate announcements and reduces the time required to get the word out. Even the briefest message on the statement can be timed to integrate with a broader campaign, directing customers to the web site for more information, or alerting them to the direct mail offer or coupons in the local paper.
But the biggest benefit enterprise document automation software delivers is a few moments of a retailer’s customer’s undivided attention--and a wide range of new marketing possibilities that you can provide to your own customers.