What's this new buzzword "TransPromo" all about? The term is heard more and more frequently in industry circles today, at conferences, tradeshows—even in boardrooms.

So just what is TransPromo?

In plain English, it is the effective combination of regular bills and statements and targeted marketing material using techniques like color, segmentation, and personalization.

ROI is the key driver for the success of TransPromo. Organizations face increased budgetary constraints, staffing issues, and both boardroom and investor demands for favorable quarterly returns. Business is focused on cost more than ever before, both on containment and measurement.

Leading-edge enterprises have been successfully, and quietly, achieving significant ROI on marketing spend using multiple tactics, including the elimination of additional inserts from statement envelopes, replacing them with a more sustainable option: onserts.

An onsert is the placement of colorful, targeted promotional materials, such as an offer-of-the-month, on the white space directly on a statement, meaning extra inserts are no longer required.

In some cases, onserts can reduce other production costs, serving as a revenue generator. Suppose you are a hotel chain or a retail department store, and you have extra white space available on your statement. Why not utilize that space by selling a non-competitive offer such as an Amazon book offer, rental car discount coupon, or florist 1-800 offer? The income generated could likely offset 10-25 percent of the mailing you were going to produce and fund anyway.

Zoomerang recently conducted a survey of 1,000 18-35-year-olds for InfoPrint Solutions Company, to better understand how they believe marketers are speaking to them. Some 64 percent of respondents said they would use personalized coupons if printed directly onto monthly statements and bills, with nearly half responding these would actually encourage brand loyalty.

Innovative marketing organizations are tying in customer data they already have—like transactional information, types of purchases, size, frequency, or payment history—and intelligently using these to cross-sell the next logical product, through a true one-to-one marketing initiative.

Take another example: A retailer's file indicates that "Bert" purchases snowboard accessories both online and via store locations. The marketing possibilities seem endless...

Why not offer "Bert," via his next regular monthly statement, a 20 percent discount coupon for his next winter apparel purchase, printed on his bill? Or, offer a 10-20 percent discount on lodging or a rental car at a mountain resort, meaning your third-party lodging or rental partner pays you? Then, start thinking about adding seasonality to this mix.

To prompt this cycle, marketers should set up a marketing campaign calendar to send a customized message to "Bert" during the October/November billing cycles to activate purchases, perhaps with a money-off coupon attached.

That is only one example of using the data available on a customer to up-sell and cross-sell additional services.

Other key applications include retention of current clients. All savvy marketing executives know exactly what their acquisition cost is per head, with many allowing for this when budgeting. But how many truly measure the cost of a lost customer?

Why not effectively use an existing communication vehicle—the monthly statement—to thank audiences for ongoing loyalty? Customers are people and like to be complimented occasionally. Just an impromptu "thanks for doing business with us" can have measurable improvements in customer retention rates. And why not print a coupon awarding money off their next purchase directly on that same billing statement?

This is not rocket science, but it does require a level of sophistication and expertise to help organizations understand their existing customer better. Through careful evaluation of data they already have, marketers can easily craft appropriate offers driven both by individual consumers' purchasing habits and by the available attitudinal and behavioral characteristics. It is then critical to build back-end analytical components to measure the results effectively.

These improvements will mean marketing is accountable and measurable, and the ROI will truly be a win/win both for the marketer and the enterprise.

Final thought: Select marketing partners/vendors that can assist you in the entire process—from initial data analytics to producing the targeted output. Print and production capability is critical, but no less important is the direct response marketing expertise to help you identify, analyze, plan, implement, and report-on your efforts.

Crafting all these components into a cohesive effort is critical to your success.

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Sandra is VP, Strategic Business Development and Transformation, responsible for strategic planning for InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh specializing in digital output production.
Mark is the Direct Marketing Practice Leader for InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh specializing in digital output production.