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Why Not Transpromo Direct Mail?

Date: February, 2011 --

A recent survey of consumers in six countries in Europe proved to us that Europeans and Americans aren't so different when it comes to promotional mail. It also proved to us that many account statement mailers are leaving money on the table. 

"Transpromo" is the practice of using your transactional documents, such as account statements, as promotional pieces. Obviously, this is a topic of much interest to the digital printing industry because transpromo pieces are data intensive and are by their very nature personalized. 

On behalf of the transpromo industry, the survey firm Infotrends surveyed 2460 consumers over the age of 18 living in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They also surveyed some 792 direct marketers and transaction document owners, again in the same six countries. They asked whether the respondents discard a variety of different kinds of mail without opening it, ranging from unaddressed mail from unfamiliar businesses, credit card offers, addressed mail from unfamiliar businesses, catalogs, coupon pack, to statements and bills. 

Not surprisingly, unaddressed mail from an unfamiliar business doesn't get opened often, with 73.7% of respondents saying they don't even open it. Unaddressed mail from a known business does better, but still is discarded at the rate of 44.7%. Catalogs are tossed 27.8% of the time and coupon packs 20.3%. 

But statements and bills are always opened. In fact in over 98.4% of the time, the statement or the bill is opened and read. Moreover, the survey found that consumers spend more time reviewing a mailed bill than reviewing an online statement in every single country. Not surprisingly, the conservative and cautious Germans spend the most time reviewing both their mailed and Internet statements. 

Why do we care? Well the consumer has a relationship with this company that is sending it a statement. That trust may enable the company to sell additional products or services to the customer. The Spanish telephone company Telefonica uses its statements to update the customer on their loyalty points accounts, to promote third parties' products, and to propose new services or equipment that are suggested by the customer's usage pattern. That relationship and sense of trust may carry over to advertisers who appear on that account statement. 

The Best Western International hotel chain conducted a test with extremely compelling results. It mails 50,000 pieces each to test and control groups. The test group received a highly personalized statement that was addressed with the customer's first name, contained an explanation of the new format and offering, was done totally in color and contained personalized promotions and offers based on the customer's recent activity with the chain. 

The results of the transpromo piece versus the control were extremely compelling. The transpromo piece produced a 15% increase in registrations, a 39% increase in the number of stays, a 34% increase in number of nights and a 30% increase in requests for the Best Western credit card. The company has not disclosed what the ROI was on this, but it has converted all its statements and loyalty program mailings to transpromo format. 

Other effects of the transpromo communication noted by Best Western were a reduction in the number of calls to call centers and in the length of the calls which were made. This is the result of the richer data provided within the format. And, obviously, if you can combine a promotional campaign with a statement that you would mail in any event, you are saving postage costs and transforming an operational cost into a revenue stream. 

And, then, let's talk about putting QR codes for the customer's mobile phone into that statement... 

Be sure to work with Data Services, Inc. to ensure you have a properly formatted & deliverable address for your customer/prospect before you begin.