All posts by Caroline

Mobile devices

The transformation of print in a multi-channel world

That was the theme of a conference I attended in London last week.

Is print finished? Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

It is transforming and is a crucial element of the digital media world we live in.

Print is the first touchpoint for the recipient to touch, feel, read and even smell before they join you in the digital world.

Surprisingly of the eleven speakers not one tried to bury print.

I was expecting at least one speaker to talk about the demise of print but whilst everyone in the audience and speakers agreed that print has declined in the newspaper sector, the opposite is happening in magazines, direct mail and print in general.

In 2015 £13.9 billion was spent on print, in 2010 it was 14 billion so print is holding its own over probably one of the most difficult economic periods we’ve experienced in the last thirty years.

print in a multi-channel worldPrint continues to adapt and so are the manufacturers of print who recognise the need to provide a digital and physical version for people to consume content.

Producers of content need to be aware that it is the content that matters and not necessarily the medium it is consumed on.

Producing content means we really do need to think about where our audience is, are they  solely mobile and internet based or do they like to receive the written word.

Measuring consumer engagement in other words, how long they spend reading the content is more relevant than where they actually read it whether it is print, digital, web or mobile.

Print is not necessarily better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Deloitte undertook a survey and discovered that while we may qr code on smartphone screenperceive that books are on the decline the reverse was true 8% were in favour of physical books rather than E-books.

Whilst a tablet offers an immediate reader experience, print is a slow burner.

One of the main points to come out of the conference was the statistics demonstrating people’s desire to slow down.

Reading content on a phone or tablet is quick and responsive it also has distractions that can leave you feeling anxious and stressed.

Where print means you ‘make time’, tablets or smartphones is about ‘fill time’ and advertising messages tend not be be remembered because the mobile experience is faster and more stressful as we are constantly distracted.

Whether content is read on a tablet or in print the emotional reactions to the content tended to be similar but it is the actual content that determines how and where we consume it.

multichannelPlatform VS content drives what is read, making it snackable or bite sized in a digital format makes it easier to digest.  With print we find it easier to read more and for longer.

Digital technologies allow a brand to use more personal touch points to engage with the audience and in a ME world it is about building relationships making it personalised, targeted and individual.

Coke’s branded bottle campaign of 2014 was a great example of how by personalising individual bottles with christian names led to a 7% increase in consumption, 2.1% increase in sales and 18.3 million impressions.

Coke’s marketing goal was to engage with a younger audience and they achieved this by making it personal and individual.

The physical printing of names on the bottle created greater engagement, interaction and differentiation.

Digital brands notably Google, Net-A-Porter, Apple, Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb are some of the large brands combining print with their digital marketing.

And whilst the above have been busy telling brands that the best way to reach consumers is through digital communications, they have learn’t that they too cannot do without print advertising to connect with audiences.

Google, in 2013 spent £5m on outdoor advertising and £3.5m on press ads, likewise LinkedIn created a direct mail pack in 2014 to announce it had reached 15 million UK subscribers and to promote the launch of its student hub after it emerged that students were one of its fastest growing groups.multichannel services

Print is still meaningful, emotional and enhances the reading experience we spent £1.3 bn in 2014 on magazine media and 73% of the adult population subscribe to a monthly magazine, digital or in paper format.

Leading magazine brands are writing their exclusives in print and then delivering snippets of information via social media. Vogue magazine has an estimated viewing time online of 9.02 minutes but with an average 50 minute per issue readership.

Microsoft concluded from research that the changing nature of attention has now decreased from 10 to 8 seconds on a mobile device translated that means if the advert is irrelevant or doesn’t hit the spot then the reader is off.

It’s not about digital or paper it is about both and print along with digital is one of the many platforms available to get your message out there.

Stacked Mail

6 Reasons to use hybrid mail

This week’s post gives you a quick guided tour into why hybrid mail sales at Digital Print Management are on the increase and why our customers are converting to hybrid mail. hybrid mail

Firstly because they are significantly reducing costs on their mailings but they are also saving a lot of time which is their most precious asset.

The onset of the recession meant that many companies were forced to look for cheaper alternatives when it came to managing their customer mailings.

Organisations still send large amounts of letters through the post.

iStock_000014348375SmallThe running costs of doing this in-house can be prohibitive so it is often one of the first areas a company looks at when it comes to streamlining its business processes and printing requirements.

Information is sent via email or communicated online daily by thousands of companies and by automating the process of print and mailing alongside digital, companies are able to send paper communications as easily as they would making it available online.

Customer expectations have changed and whilst they may have reported a problem to a call centre on the phone they want a follow up letter to confirm the actions that have been taken and one of the most cost efficient ways of sending this follow up information is by using hybrid mail.

Hybrid mail is ideal for those ad hoc mailings allowing the customermultichannel services service representative the opportunity of uploading any number of letters on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and in whatever quantities.

By outsourcing those letters that are required to be posted, hybrid mail gives companies the flexibility to upload letters any time of the day, freeing up printer resources and the staff time taken up in generating and creating letters.

What are the 6 key benefits:-

  1. There is no installation (just the print driver that communicates with hybrid mail) Customers are able to send documents through hybrid mail in minutes. A username, password and an internet connection are all that is required to upload documents directly from your desktop.
  2. With no set up charges hybrid mail could potentially save you 60% on office print and mailing costs. Hybrid mail costs less than a 2nd class stamp including paper, envelope, printing and posting
  3. Ease of use – Hybrid mail is so simple to use there are four easy steps and as long as you are comfortable with creating documents that are ready to print then hybrid mail is straightforward to use.
  4. Hybrid mail comes into its own if your company has branches located across the country, departments can have access to specific documents and templates which means there is complete control over what is sent out and by whom.
  5. Documents that are uploaded by 4pm on a working day are printed and mailed the same day this means you don’t have to panic about that forgotten mailing. Hybrid mail does the rest.
  6. Hybrid mail allows you to store any number of document templates, you also benefit from post code validation, user and department spending caps, custom signatures and document archiving for future reference.

The important thing to consider with hybrid mail is that no matter the size of the organisation or how many documents you send out a day you WILL benefit from a hybrid mail solution.

Hybrid mail is a 21st century mailing solution designed to take care of those ad hoc letters – whether it is an accountancy business, a firm of solicitors, a dental practice, a fitness company or an organisation that sends most information electronically but still has residual letters and bills to send out, hybrid mail is a cost effective alternative to printing in-house.

For more information click here


Who IS your target audience?

Having attended a very informative seminar on finding your audience on Facebook I asked myself do we really know where our target audience is? iStock_000015939922Small

Have we got it right?

You many think this is strange given that I’ve been in transactional printing and mailing or ‘transpromo’ for 20+ years but my point is sometimes you need to stand back and take a good look at the market place.

Is it the same as it was five years ago?

iStock_000017041643SmallFacebook and I have a frustrating relationship.

Many of us manage personal and business profiles but what to post, when to post and how to keep the snippets of information coming are time consuming.

As a social media platform it doesn’t seem natural to me as twitter or Linkedin. I guess we all have our favourites!

Having said that most of yours and my target audience is likely to be on this platform but not necessarily in their work guise.

For example our target audience is HR, Payroll, Credit/Collection Managers and so forth, Linkedin is seemingly where you’ll find this very experienced and professional tribe.

But I also know that many are likely to be on Facebook keeping a personal page and updating it with status updates, but they will not necessarily have their job status or title and where they work advertised on their personal Facebook page.

The key to generating leads is knowing and understanding where your audience are and that’s why I thought I’d share with you how Digital Print Management is re-thinking it’s market and making sure we go back to basics.

Sound easy?

Definitely not. Delivering your services to a big audience without knowing who they are and what they look like is like finding a needle in a haystack.

  • Who are our audience?
  • Where do we seek them out so our message gets heard?
  • Why should they even consider our services?
  • How will they benefit even if they do find us?
  • And what can we do to make it easier to find us?

iStock_000037124348SmallAlthough this has been done before I’ve put my spin on it but more importantly it really got us thinking, checking and making sure we know where to find our audience.

My first thought was how do our customers benefit from our services and what problems did we solve for them?

Thinking about the range of services we deliver to our customers from Digital Print Management’s point of view I looked at our largest and smallest customers and came up with the following:-

  • What have they bought from us?
  • Why did they choose to work with us in the first place?
  • Why do they continue to work with us?
  • What problems did we solve for them which means they sleep easier at night?

This helped us then drill down and understand the type of customer that is attracted to our services.

iStock_000023869795SmallThat completed, where do we find these prospective customers and how do we get our message out there?

How did the customers that we currently serve, find us or hear about us?

This gave me the opportunity to sketch out an outline of a typical prospective customer that ‘feels the same pain’ our current customers experience prior to outsourcing their ‘problem’.

Which then led me to the type of customer that will gain from the value in our service offerings.

AngerWhat problems are these Payroll/HR and Credit Managers having to deal with?

Do they perceive them as troublesome? Are they even aware they have problems?

What would the reputational damage be if the cost of not sorting out the problem is greater than the cost of leaving it?

Being niche certainly helps as we provide a very distinct service in the payroll and accounts area this makes it easier to identify our audience.

Aiming to be a big fish in a small pond means that we can be heard above the rest of noise and hopefully stand out from the crowd rather than the other way round.

By understanding our areas of expertise, the knowledge we’ve amassed over time and how we’ve helped our customers means we can understand our prospective customers  better.iStock_000018668499Small

Also, knowing what areas we have been successful in and why helps us to maximise this further for more success in the future.

And finally, I asked these questions, why are we uniquely placed to solve our customer’s problem, and what makes us stand out from the crowd?

We are still working on re-defining our marketing and social media objectives but focussing on the above has really helped make us re-think and re-visit what we’ve been doing?

I hope you find it a useful exercise too!

How have you found your audience?

How do you get your message heard?

How successful has it been?

Share your views!




What to look out for when you outsource your data?

Whether it is data security, management of information or how to outsource outsource a business function, one of the main questions or challenges I have to overcome is the secure management of customer data files in the form of payslips, cheques, statements and invoices.

When organisations consider outsourcing one of their business processes data security is the first area of concern that needs to be addressed and quickly.

Data,  information security and privacy is an extensive topic in its own right too long to cover in one blog post but let’s start with a definition which I think wikipedia sums up very well:

Information privacy, or data privacy (or data protection), is the relationship between collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political  issues surrounding them.

Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected and stored – in digital form or otherwise. Improper or non-existent disclosure control can be the root cause for privacy issues.

The issue with data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information.

There has been a seismic shift in how information is used, everyday we find ourselves either completing online forms, signing in and entering passwords or subscribing to newsletters and updates.

And whilst we were initially cautious about  how and what our personal information is being used for we are, as consumers more comfortable with understanding how our data is being used.

But when it comes to a company outsourcing a process that involves handing over data files that contain sensitive information like an employee’s payslip this is a very different ball game because the company is responsible for how they manage their employees or customers information.

In 2014 there were over 1,800 incidents of mismanagement of information that was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office leading to fines in excess of £5 million.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) conducted a study to understand how we, the customer view data privacy and what we think about it.

The infographic below summarises the findings:

Data privacy the customers view

Millions of data files are transmitted daily to third party providers from payroll, billing and cheque data.

From an organisation’s perspective looking to outsource that kind of information to third party for printing and mailing payslips through to electronic distribution of secure transactional documents there are some key points to consider.

Does the supplier hold the most up to date ISO 27001 Information Security standard – the latest version is 2013. This is the main standard for information security ensuring confidentiality and integrity of your data.

The service provider should be able to demonstrate compliance and guarantees in respect of the handling of your data files.

Are they on the Data Protection register?

This ensures personal data is processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the act and protects how your personal information is used.

What security infrastructure for receiving and sending data files is in place?

Do they have SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) which is more secure than FTP and allows for automated transmission of regular data files reducing the potential for 

What audit procedures do they have to ensure the receipt and transfer of your data?

Do they have a comprehensive disaster recovery system that enables you to continue to forward your files?

And finally, how do they manage and store your data once the file has been processed, printed and despatched or electronically distributed?

For more information about data security and outsourcing feel free to ask a question here.



process automation

What is process automation?

In this post I wanted to get to the heart of document management. Process automation

I talk about the benefits of paper, print and digital and, how it impacts our lives.

We continue to generate so much information daily and organisations are  deluged with information from invoices, letters, reminders and so forth with all this information how does a company manage to stay above the paper flow?

That is where process automation comes in.

What is process automation?

It is the digitising of any manual process that collects and centralises information within an organisation.

For example an electronic filing system that reduces or replaces administrative tasks to a solution that can streamline whole departments.

Managing the lifecycle of documents and data within a business is the cornerstone to better control, greater visibility, security and efficiency.

process automationProcess automation can be broken down into four key areas each of which can be managed and improved independently of each other or improved as a whole.

Data capture – capturing important data is key to any business process. Manual capture or data entry can be time consuming and inaccurate. Automating the capturing of data is quick, efficient and error free. It involves taking the information and scanning documents, collecting key bits of information and then digitising the information.

Document management – this is the heart of process automation.  Information and documents are stored in an electronic filing cabinet whereby it can be controlled in a secure and central location.

It is useful for freeing up physical space by storing electronic copies of historical documents and archiving for documents that have completed their life cycle.

Document management enables instant retrieval with indexed rich process automationsearch ability, administrator based access for added document security, traceability for audit control, records management for lifecycle control and integration into other business systems as a central source of data.

Workflow – allowing key bits of information and documents to be routed around an organisation giving people accessibility to the documents and the information they need when they need it.

Workflows ensure that the users are updated with any up and coming tasks that need completing this may mean authorisation, payment due, documents missing, invoicing errors.

A simple workflow might be internal documents that are required to be printed routing around an office to a specific printer or copier thus reducing printing and copying costs.

A complex workflow might be creating a document electronically from the point of capture and fully automating it, removing the need for paper and resource required to manage it

process automationReporting – the final part of the process which creates and distributes information that give a visual representation of ‘live data’ giving a snapshot in time of that current process.

Collating accurate data in real time can be impossible when trying to gather information manually.

Reports take time to produce and once published they are quickly out of date.

Electronic reporting allows data to be collected from any source at any stage within a process.

This means with up to the minute accurate reports informed decisions can be made which could be critical for the day to day running of the business.

How can process automation benefit your business?

  • Understanding what information is being held and what documents are in the workflow ensures better control and visibility allowing the right people to access the information they need at anytime
  • Business functions can be simplified making it easier and more streamlined
  • Automation = being proactive = efficiency
  • Less reliance on paper and people
  • Data can be shared with anyone in your business
  • Compliance targets and government legislation are met
  • Disaster proof your business processes

That’s it in a nutshell. Process automation involves you taking a hard look at your key business processes, being critical and then looking at areas that can be improved by removing the manual effort and using automation.



What to look out for with e-billing

As you are aware, I am a big advocate of offering the customer the option of choosing how they receive their bills in paper or electronic format.transpromo

Ask anyone in business what their biggest headache is and the answer usually is getting paid on time.

The second is the cost of processing and sending invoices.

As the cost of technology has reduced more businesses including SMEs have or are considering implementing electronic invoicing/e-billing to save invoice processing costs.

The advantages of e-billing include the speed and control you have over your financial documents; you decide when your customer is sent an e-bill.

You save staff time, postage and stationery costs.

slider02But, trying to establish the true cost of billing is a lot harder than you think because most don’t consider all of the related costs.

Many assume that paper has to be more expensive because it involves staff time, stationery costs, processing and cost of postage.

Making electronic billing the obvious winner.

There have been many comparisons on paper versus electronic ranging from £8.17 to send out a paper invoice VS £3.31 to send it electronically.


Sending invoices as email attachments doesn’t constitute electronic billing.

E-billing may save on postage costs but this represents only a small percentage of the actual cost of processing an invoice.

How do you work out your invoicing costs?

What costs are associated with the invoicing process?

An organisation needs to be able to break down what the true costs are and these can be direct, indirect and those hidden costs that we tend to forget about.

What are the direct costs?

These include preparation of the invoice and are the most obvious costs to find in the process.

  • Printing
  • Envelopes
  • Inserting into envelopes – often a manual exercise this might also include a mailing machine
  • Postage costs

What are the indirect costs?

Although these costs are part of the invoice process they do not involve the preparation and sending of invoices and may or may not have a bearing on your invoice process.

Even so, they are often overlooked when working out the cost of invoicing and should be considered.

  • Queries and resolution – is the invoice accurate, does it have the required information. If it is wrong other functions in the organisation are involved including finance, credit control, operations, distribution and sales/customer service
  • Account reconciliation
  • Time spent on missing or undelivered invoices
  • Storage and archiving – how are invoices stored? As paper or electronically?
  • Credit notes – how long does it take for the company to generate a credit note, does it require hierarchical  approval, time taken to issue, delay in payment until the credit note is issued

multi channel services

What are the hidden costs?

Although not necessarily related to the processing of invoices they should be considered as part of the process

  • Payment processing errors
  • External debt collection agency fees
  • Staff time addressing and reviewing invoice problems
  • Additional finance costs due to the length of time time taken to get paid
  • Invoice financing or factoring costs.

Most of the costs associated with the invoicing process involve the number of staff that are involved in what can be a labour intensive task.

Even if the invoice preparation is streamlined and automated, if the order processing, AP and AR are manually intensive then the invoice processing will cost more in staff time such as:-

  1. Dealing with copy invoice requests
  2. Chasing purchase orders
  3. Chasing the sales team to solve pricing issues
  4. Reconciling accounts

iStock_000002289637SmallSending an invoice as an electronic attachment is not e-billing it is simply sending the customer an email with an invoice attached to it whilst it removes the postage and stationery element it is highly likely that your customer (the recipient) will print and allocate the invoice accordingly.

But it doesn’t take away the other costs associated with invoice processing like requests for copy invoices, misplaced invoices.

We never got your invoice, it never arrived in the post has been replaced with we never got your email.

Careful consideration of your invoice processing and understanding the true costs of the process can in the long term reduce the impact on the business.

Customers ultimately know they have to pay your bill the key is to making sure your bill is on time, consistent with the information they need to process the bill which in turn helps you gain visibility and enable better cash management and cash flow control.


How to make print and digital work together

In my last post I looked at how print acts as gateway for people to interact with printed content digitally and for any type of marketing to be successful print needs to be integrated with technology to be successful.

print and digital

By having print and an online presence helps your brand or proposition become more credible. This should include social media and website on print.

Your starting point should be all company print  such as business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, (yes people still use them) invoices, in fact any type of informational product should have your website details and social media platforms so that customers can check you out and join you in the online world.

The print world is constantly reinventing itself by finding newer and more interactive ways of getting in front of customers.

Scanning QR code with mobile phoneTechnologies such as NFC (Near field communications, still in its infancy) QR codes and Augmented reality give readers the opportunity to use print as the gateway to online channels, by simply pointing your mobile at the printed page a whole new multimedia world opens up for the reader.

Magazine publishers are finding different ways to engage with their readers by providing interactive online content.

A brand that is trusted by the consumer leads to high levels of engagement across all platforms.

Print use to be the end result of a campaign now it is the start of the journey for the consumer to make a purchase. It provides the step to the next stage of the journey in the buying process.

Any kind of print advertising from direct mail to your newsletter is one step in the process of getting the customer moving whether it is to buy, sign up for something or to engage online.

It starts with print using a QR code or Augmented Reality which takes the customer to a personalised landing page or activation of an app.

An example of this might be a car dealership sending out a print and digitalpersonalised mailing to ex-customers offering an incentive to get back in touch. (There’s more information about that here)

Using PURLs in the direct mail the customer is directed to their nearest dealership and are offered incentives to book a service.

Print and digital are even closer than you might think take the Evernote Moleskin smart book; you can make notes, sketch and draw then, using the Evernote app, scan and upload to Evernote so you have a digital version.

The same with the moleskin smart notebook that connects to the Evernote-and-Hipstamatic-on-Iphone-5-000037558608_SmallAdobe Creative Cloud via an app on your smartphone, your hand drawn sketches can be converted to workable digital files that can then be manipulated using adobe illustrator or photoshop.

Newspapers and magazines are still considered credible sources of information and are more trusted than digital.

Print delivers powerful and vibrant communications the eye is drawn to a particular piece of information more so than a digital pop out advert which is annoying and distracting.

How do you get print and digital to work together?

Think about what is most effective in print and digital channels and make sure that the same tone and message deliver a unified brand across all mediums. Using your print medium you can direct your customers to your social channels via your print ads.

When you combine your print and digital strategies so they deliver the same message you engage with the customer and build up trust.

You can add print to your media mix to engage more customers and drive traffic to your website by using a mini catalogue with PURLs that send them to certain landing pages.

Print shows authority and allows the customer to have something tangible that they can connect with  by giving them something they can review at a later date.

Digital on the other hand offers flexible content which can also include other elements like audio.

The communications landscape is changing with new channels emerging and as they gather pace it doesn’t necessarily mean that the existing communication platforms you use should be cast aside, not if they deliver the results you want.

So don’t disregard print out of the media mix  in collaboration both print and digital are complementary creating a great experience for the end user if done brilliantly.





Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

Print or digital? Do we really need to make a choice?

Whilst holidaying in Spain I couldn’t help but notice what seemed to Print or digital? Do we really need to choose? be a resurgence in books and newspapers.

There were tablets and kindles in use but inwardly I thought umm not all bad news for print.

The world today is defined by how we receive and digest information from news, opinions, interviews, advertising in print or digital format.

multichannelPrint media, television, online mobile and social media are all part of our everyday lives that help us gain access to the information we need or want.

Digital Print Management has also seen a resurgence in print specifically hybrid mail or our branded Print-2-Mail.

The recession forced many companies to re-think how and what they printed and how to save money doing it.

The cost of printing and mailing inhouse is an obvious area to outsource step in Print-2-Mail a mailing desktop solution that delivers the same service but 60% less than the cost of doing it in house.

Much of the information we now receive is sent through email or made available online and consumers are demanding how they want to receive their information.

Multichannel servicesAutomating the process of print and mailing documents and providing an online version for those customers that only wish to receive it in an electronic format is all made possible through multichannel distribution of documents.

Customers are wanting to access personal and confidential information on different devices as well as having the choice of receiving a paper version as well.

multichannelFrom a single data file sent by the customer, documents can be printed and mailed to those recipients that want a paper document and made available online to those who only want to view it online;  if they want both they can have both.

Print works best when used with other media from magazines, direct mail, social media, television, newspapers and print can also bridge the gap between paper and digital using QR codes, Augmented Reality and NFC (Near Field Communication)

Print and digital innovations only increase the effectiveness of print media as well as improving the customer experience so next time you are thinking print or digital ditch the idea and make sure you use both.

The integration of print and digital is a marriage made in media heaven.


How to drive your customer relationships using mail and email

Last year I wrote about the impact of digital on mail and email.multi channel services

Whilst there maybe a genuine perception that print is on the decline the Royal Mail report found otherwise.

Print and email working in collaboration and using cross media marketing, (also referred to as multi channel marketing) works very effectively.

I am often asked for advice on how to go about adopting a multi channel marketing strategy.

Why I will not profess to being a marketing expert my knowledge of print combined with personalisation and social media gives me the objectivity to look at a marketing campaign and help define it for the customer.

I thought I would share with you a recent marketing/print campaign Digital Print Management fulfilled for one of its customers.

stay on targetThe starting point has to be what do you hope to get out of it?

By this, I mean not ‘more business’ or more customers, we all want that but what objectives do you want to get out of your campaign?

Being able to interact with your customers and prospects through multi channel marketing is necessary for companies to get their message out

Here’s an example of a cross media campaign using mail and email ?iStock_000026350319Small

Generating interest with print by using an interesting and engaging format so that when it lands on the doormat the consumer is highly likely to read and do something with it or take action.

A car dealership has a target list of 3,750 customers whom they would like to get in contact with and who haven’t visited their dealership in the last 18 months.

The key objective of marketing to these people is to motivate customers to come back to the dealership by scheduling a routine service and by offering a free oil change and a 15% discount off the standard service.

  • The dealership sends out personalised postcards with PURLs – the postcards and emails are uniquely personalised and individualised according to each customer’s past purchasing history
  • The customers receive the postcards and some do respond to the PURL – the invitation to visit the PURL is a way of inviting the customer to redeem coupons that they can then use at the dealership against a service/oil change
  • The inclusion of a PURL ensures that all the responses and updates are captured and the customer data list is updated
  • The response actions that are captured from the PURL trigger a personalised email which is sent to those respondents who didn’t respond inviting them to click onto the same PURL
  • A follow up email is then scheduled to go out to those who didn’t take up the offer in 5 days

Stacked MailThis is the customer decision stage by sending the prospects a mail piece that communicates a clear and persuasive benefit with a link to your website is more likely to encourage engagement.

When customers respond using the PURL they arrive at a personalised landing page which has their name and address details.

They are asked to confirm or update their details and then request to enter a code which is printed on the email or postcard so they can redeem their coupons.

Once the purchase is made, in this instance the redeeming of coupons an email is generated welcoming them back to the dealership; a welcome pack which is highly personalised is then sent out to them.

Whilst they are redeeming their coupons there are a whole host of other coupons that they can also redeem in exchange for more information about the condition of the car, how old it is, when was the last time they had it serviced, what time of day do they prefer to schedule a service, do they own more than one car from the same manufacturer.

Each coupon they click on encourages the customer to give more information which can later be used for future campaigns.

Where do I start?

Identify your marketing objective? In the above example it was to get in contact with former customers of the car dealership.

Do you have accurate data? In this example the dealership had a defined customer contact base of 3,750 former customers.

What technology or platform are you using? Can you manage this in-house if so how will it be managed and do you have the technology/software and resources to ensure it’s monitored through to completion.


Outsource it to a cross media specialist  who can work with you and design the campaign to meet your objectives.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

To ensure successful results there must be a planning process – who is your target audience, which media channels are right, what offer(s) and how then are the responses going to be captured and used.

Keeping the offer relevant and personalised to the customer should yield positive results.

Before managing a large campaign plan a test run with different offers, this will hi-light what works and what doesn’t, the campaign can then be upgraded to include your target audience, whatever the size.

A follow up plan is crucial to keep the momentum going and in this instance the follow up process which included an email could also include a postcard was used where people hadn’t responded in 5 days.

All actions and responses were measured when the customer clicked through to the PURLs.

The highly targeted and personalised win back stage is useful where customers have parted with information but have chosen not to redeem vouchers, sending a follow up mail piece is a useful way of staying in touch with those prospects that didn’t redeem their coupons.

How to avoid the pitfalls

  1. Be selective when it comes to the channels you intend to communicate your offer, too much and it becomes another sales blast.
  2. Whilst I’m a big advocate of personalisation, too much of ‘Hi Caroline, Caroline it’s been 18 months since, Caroline we think you might like this’ and so on then becomes a pain and is immediately off putting.
  3. Make the offer relevant and meaningful
  4. No campaign will be 100% successful first time out. Be prepared to modify, adapt and test the offer
  5. Keep any content either in print or digital relevant to the offer and to your audience

Some things to think about?

Sending paper bills or statements encourages retention and faster payment by using the white space on a paper bill or electronic statement to promote any services and offers you are promoting.

Renewal – as renewal time approaches send your customers a personalised mail piece that reminds them of the benefits they will receive as well as the future benefits they will be able to access after they have renewed with your.

Following up with an email is a great way to get them to make a decision but also makes them feel valued.

You can also find more information here 


Multichannel services

How to save costs with multi channel services

The sole purpose of offering multi channel services is to provide multi channel servicescustomers with options for how they would like to be communicated with whether it is a bill, statement, customer letter or being given a means by which they can make a complaint.

These documents are a critical part of the business process both a legal obligation and commercial necessity all of which can have an impact on your bottomline.

Thirty years ago the business communications landscape was very different.

Letters, statements, invoices, offers, contractual agreements and the myriad of other business documents were sent via post.

cellphonesThe 80’s saw the evolution of fax technology and businesses were able to send documents and the process of business transactions quickened.

In the 90’s, the emergence of email changed the business landscape forever. Businesses, brands, companies were able to communicate messages instantaneously.

The 00’s served to speed up the business document process farther by the rapid evolvement of smartphones and social media.

Businesses were having to evolve and adapt to ensure they were able to give customers the choice on which channels to communicate on.

Customers demanded choice it wasn’t good enough just to be able iStock_000014348375Smallto receive email or paper.

They want to receive information both in paper and electronic format and they also want to choose when they get it and where they view it – smartphone, tablet, mobile, PC, laptop.

multi channel services

multi channel services

Today many of us communicate with customers, suppliers, colleagues and associates using different platforms that include fax, email, SMS, social media and web portals.

Physical print and mail remains an effective means of communication but it isn’t always quick and organisations have to include digital alternatives at the same time not losing sight of the customers wishes.

Im my post Keep Me Posted – why multichannel works best I put it to you that customers should have the choice in how they are communicated too.

Digital communications do save time and money – there’s no paper, toner, postage and lower human resource costs, moreover they help companies respond quickly and to be more in tune with their customers needs.

Whilst paper still retains it’s place in the business landscape customers are driving how they want to be communicated with and the adoption of electronic or digital methods of communication have been deployed by organisations so they can deliver immediate information and stimulate interaction with the customer.

How do you manage multi channel services?

When organisations deliver multi channel services they are moving into a complex and bewildering world of communications with the customer.

How do you decide what you will send by email, print and post?

How do you understand what your customers preferences are?

How do you integrate paper and digital business processes?

How do you ensure that the document flow is secure and how do you store documents so that the organisation and the customer has a record of both paper and digital if needed?

Ensuring accuracy, quality and on-time delivery of these business critical documents is crucial. Get it wrong and the business doesn’t get paid.

Customers expect to be able to engage on the channels of their choosing, SMS, mobile/smartphone, call centres, post, email, web.

The challenge for organisations is deciding what to adopt.

Switching off offline communications and implementing solely online is a surefire way of alienating a sizeable proportion of your customer base.

65% of customers who prefer paper bills and statements would consider defecting to a competitor or would leave straightaway if a company removes that choice. 29% of customers who prefer to receive information electronically would consider moving if the option to receive paper statements was removed.

How do multi channel services save cost?

New technology means that transactional documents can be delivered offline and online to meet different customer preferences just from one data file.

  • There is greater flexibility in page formats from A4 to A5 or smaller if required.
  • High quality colour printing means shorter runs that can targeted and relevant for offline communications
  • Highly personalised transpromo messages embedded into online and offline communications

Why are multi channel services important?

Organisations can communicate and deliver their messages on different platforms.

In a digital world your customers want to access your information, marketing messages and offers anytime, anywhere and on multiple devices.

For companies, this gives the benefit of being able to provide a good service to individual customers efficiently which increases customer satisfaction and retention.

By providing choice also differentiates the company from the competition and ensures customer longevity.

How does a multi channel service work?

Please watch the video below and this should give you a better understanding as to how payslips, letters, statements can be delivered both online and offline.