When I first started, all transactional programming was done using cobol, (a computer programming language) large mainframes existed in datacentres and data was sent either via mag tapes, dial up and eventually ISDN.
Customer data was sent as raw data files or print files which meant that the code had to be stripped out. Using composition software, the form was designed, the variable data was coded onto the form before anything that remotely resembled a bill or payslip could be printed.
It was cutting edge stuff at the time.
Jump forward 20+ years and data can be sent in pretty much any format you can think of and document composition is done using sophisticated composition platforms which merges data and design layout whilst adding variable personalised data in one pass.
Traditional transactional print was produced by litho printing the base stock – invoice, statement, payslips and then the variable/personalised information was laser printed in black. It was more cost effective for the large corporate generators of bills and statements predominantly mobile, utility and service providers.
Fast forward to the late 1990’s and the industry saw the rapid development of colour laser digital printing technology this revolutionised transactional documents. Adding colour to the document by highlighting specific lines of text, colour reports highlighting an amount owed in red on an overdue reminder added value to the form.
Initially the use of colour laser personalisation was slow to be taken up by customers because of the cost per unit but as demand for colour increased so did the cost of colour laser printing reduce.
“Transpromo” as it became known had two main advantages – adding variable highlight colour to your documents meant you could dispense with the need for pre-printed stationery and produce your document in one pass. No capital tied up in stock.
The other advantage was the option to print highly personalised, bespoke documents in small volumes from 1 to many and within each pack you could have as many variable letters with different designs and logos as you wanted such was the versatility of digital colour laser printing.
The transactional document is perceived as an added cost factor to the business – every organisation needs to process and send invoices, statements, reminders whether it is in paper or electronic format and that represents a cost to the business.
Transpromo has evolved to being an opportunity to add value to client relationships and increase revenue through selective targeting of products and services and can be just as effective as direct mail.
Transpromo can be used as a communication opportunity to develop and add value that is not solely the domain of marketing.
Letters, bills and statements are integral to the customer experience, transpromo is still undervalued when it comes to targeting customers with specific messages.
Often the consideration to go paperless seems easier than the continued use of paper but organisations don’t do this objectively and ask WHY are we doing this and, WHO will benefit – the customer or us?
Transpromo integrates with online platforms – print, mobile and online content linked together – multi-channel online statement and billing delivery enables you to deliver your client documents differently but with a marketing edge.
Transpromo is part of a multichannel approach for customer communication in our multimedia and cross media driven world it is also a missed opportunity for getting closer to the customer.