The national TransPromo Summit conference ran for three years. Initial projections of annual growth were in the upper stratosphere of near triple digits. No printing application was trumpeted louder at Drupa 2008 and Print 2009 in hopes of attracting general commercial printers to buy the necessary software costing in the six figures and the higher speed digital print engines.

A single session was dedicated to the topic at InterACT. While the growth expectations have stagnated some what, the state of Transpromo, or what some are calling Transinfo, remain the same, that is;

1) The marketing promise of leveraging variable data to provide additional custom information of value to customers in the white space on their transaction statements exists.
2) The software is proven and success stories abound over the entire globe.
3) Isolated conversions are reported but presumably the users consider the application experience to be confidential and refuse to share their story from any podium.
4) Specialty print providers are dominant in this market niche and are virtually unheard of in the main stream printing industry, e.g., DST and Cathedral Printing to name two. (RR Donnelley bought Wallace and Astron in the UK, who offer these services.)
5) Both the perceived and actual level of IT expertise required to offer these services is high and daunting to printers of all size. And the investment in infrastructure – skilled personnel, hardware and software – rivals a new web press.
6) No visionaries are stepping forth to suggest that any of the social media elements described in detail at this InterACT conference will contribute significantly to either the consumer experience with transinfo or the hurdles to be overcome in changing corporate culture to adopt this application.

In-plant take away(s): The In-plant printer could be the EXCEPTION to the overwhelming resistance of the commercial printing industry to adopt this unique variable data printing application. Consider the ultimate client bases for higher education and state governments, i.e., students and taxpayers, and the on-going statement communications in place.

Student loan and grade summary statements go out each semester though most loans are by e-presentment. State governments issue annual auto registration renewals and a myriad assortment of license renewals.

The white space could be used to relay departmental or class information. New regulations may pertain to select licensees. Automobile dealers would pay the entire freight of the statement to include an “advertising onsert.” Keep in mind that three leaves of 20# bond are under the one ounce postal threshold.

Because the organizational trend in these institutions is to have the in-plant printing facility be part of the IT department due to digital workflows, Internet usage including responsibility for web mastering, fewer IT department are installing digital printers. Instead they are wisely linking into the in-plant’s network that typically have excess capacity.

While the low volumes and infrequent issuance of these statement examples do not currently excite any of the traditional transpromo software vendors, the aggregate quantities represented by thousands of universities and dozen of states is an appealing economy of scale. The template opportunities for near standardized applications is intriquing.

These two entities are not generally teaming with entrepreneurs. However, the overwhelming tendency to share their success stories with peers could present collaborative niche applications to secondary variable date software vendors to step up.