Posted by: transpromomore | February 1, 2010

Getting the Promo in TransPromo

Recently, Kodak coined the term TransPromo by combining the words Transactional and Promotional together and defining marketing based invoices and statements as a new breed of marketing document.  While we could look at this as a self serving term for the hardware manufacturers trying to move more gear, this new term and the new technology that is arriving or has most recently arrived has some strong merits that we should seriously consider.  But what really is the “Promo” in TransPromo and why do marketers need to know how to drive the “Promo” into their invoices and statements?

Daily, we receive statements and invoices that outline and confirm transactions for services, investments, credit cards bills, loyalty points, phone bills etc.. We’re also continually bombarded with hundreds of with messages and offers. We’ve all received statements and invoices stuffed with buck slips, brochures and offers that we generally sort out and discard over the recycle bin and we’ve all receive direct mail that we never open and immediately discard.  The compelling reason for adding “Promo” is the stickiness of a must read transactional.  Recipients spend time reading their transactional documents and commonly review it more than once.  By adding relevant messages, to the document, these items get attention. By combining other marketing mailings, savings can be achieved by on a one-to-one basis.  Knowing individuals open, spend time reading and reviewing statements and invoices the “Promo” in TransPromo becomes compelling not to mention, saves cost and is green.

In the past, the invoice or statement was generally a compliance or an informational document.  Savvy marketers utilized these documents using static and dynamic messages and perhaps some graphics in black print on preprinted templates.  Recent technology has now become available such as enterprise messaging/content and campaign management software, economical and available production color for print, composition tools to create the TransPromo document and the integration of on-web addressing through PURLs and CURLs have added new marketing touch points including the ability to enhance ebills when delivered electronically.

We can define the “Promo” in TransPromo as a number of things.  Promo can be marketing content, informational content and educational content.  Promo, depending on the type of statement or invoice, could also be TransInformational or TransEducational.

Promo can mean messages with PURLs – Personalized URLs or web addresses, CURLs (Common URLs) , 1:1 messages, offers and onserts. With the addition of social media, specific offers at specific social media sites to generate crowd offers is also part of the “Promo”.  But Promo goes beyond simply offers or multiple touchpoints.  The “Promo” can now be defined as educational content to inform your constituents on services, products, and even how to use something.  The “Promo” goes beyond this to informational to provide compliance information, product information and service information while helping to reduce call center volumes.

With the strength of having billing or transactional data it becomes easier to identify client types, the opportunity to up sell, cross sell products and services by identifying clients with product needs is embedded in your data.  Data flags can be added to billing and statement data streams to drive content.  With the emergence of software from Prinova, HP and GMC, new and emerging Web 2.0 campaign management software integrating with enterprise CRM software, this begins to automate the 1:1 data campaign messaging.

What should I consider as steps to TransPromo?  Baby steps….

i)        Invoice messaging – if generic messages have not been added already, start by focusing on placing informational, educational and general marketing messages.  Consider enhancing messaging that can impact payment turnaround or reduce call center volumes.

ii)       Invoice messaging – begin to flag your data by targeting client groups, language type and add campaigns, offers, marketing messages, educational messages and informational messages directly to the invoice or statement on a one-to-one basis that reflect your clients interests.

iii)     Integrate other direct mail campaigns and complement other media campaigns by reinforcing those marketing messages.  This reduces your mailings and monthly postal costs.

iv)     For more cross media stickiness, add a Common URLs to drive a your web based multi-touch point strategy. Where possible, utilize Personal URLs (PURLs) and harvest opt-in email address or potential converts to electronic bill payment and presentation.

v)      Migrate buck slips to onserts by printing them in-line with the statement keeping them as part of the invoice / statement

vi)     Design your statement or invoice with colour, dynamic content, photos,icons

vii)   As your TransPromo statement comes together, this integrates seamlessly to eBill or electronic bill payment initiatives while allowing for messaging on the web based statement or bill delivery.

viii)  Looking to integrate social media?  Drive your clients to sign up as followers and create dynamic period based events or offers on the statement or invoice monthly with Twitter or Facebook based event links.  These events can be measured immediately while using these social media tools as a means to drive behavior or informational content.

ix)     If possible, automate your message delivery workflow with messaging software that integrates to CRM software to measure your response.

As you integrate these elements, design becomes an important consideration but we all must remember that the statement or invoice is still just that.  Over design to a marketing based document has proven to be a negative.  It is important to strike a balance such that the invoice / statement remains a transactional document.

The recent CMO Council survey has “Only 25% of senior marketers knowing about TransPromo as an opportunity”[1].  This means, as a new channel to drive marketing, the future is bright to drive a fresh and cost efficient method or reaching new clients.

[1] “A View From the Office of the CMO”, presentation by Liz Miller, VP, Programs & Operations, CMO Council



  1. The term TransPromo emerged in 2005 as we looked or a way to get a buzz around the concept we’d been talking about int he industry since the last 1990s – statement-based marketing. Credit not just me, but Bernie Gracy at Pitney Bowes as the people trying to lead the discussion. I guess it wasn’t sexy enough, we couldn’t make it stick. In noodling with Ron Gilboa when I joined Kodak we got to TransPromo and used it to get a stake in the ground not to justify hardware sales, but to get quality conversations started that involved multi-channel, integrated customer communication. Hardware – printing – was just one facet, not the reason for the term.

    Over time we came to understand that “Crawl, Walk, Run” – baby steps – was the best approach and that has been our message for the last 5 years.

    So, you hit the nail squarely on the head! Thanks for a great review! That’s the message we need to promote.


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