There has been a lot of buzz about TransPromo recently, buzz about the concept of customizing common transactional documents like bills and statements with personalized messaging aimed at wooing existing customers. Vendors and pundits extol the value of transactional documents that capitalize on knowledge collected about customers, but for many users, the jury is still out. Is it time to adopt a TransPromo strategy? Consider the following.

TransPromo represents a unique marketing opportunity because transactional documents are the lifeblood of every organization. No matter the market or the industry, bills and statements drive the business functions that make any company run. Indeed, transactional documents often represent the only touchpoint an organization really has with a customer. By including relevant and personalized marketing content, monthly statements can rise above the din of competitive messages and transform into a beneficial marketing edge.

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day. Experts estimate that over the course of a year, we are exposed to over a million messages from television, radio, the Internet, newspapers, magazines and direct mail. As a result, customers actively block out the great majority of these marketing messages.

Nowhere is the competition for customer attention as tight as in the mailbox. The Postal Service estimates that US households receive over 150 billion pieces of mail each year. With all this clutter, it's no wonder that most people tend to open their mail over the waste basket.

The unique advantage of TransPromo is found in the fact that monthly bills and statements rarely find their way into the trash. Analysts estimate that 95% of transactional documents are opened and read. And since they require an action, bills and statements command and hold our undivided attention. That attention span - about 42 seconds - is over twice as long that given to a television advertisement or an email solicitation. This is a unique opportunity to expand each monthly "appointment" in new and more profitable ways.

Despite the surge in online communications, research indicates that customers prefer to receive marketing messages via transactional documents, as opposed to email and direct mail. As a result, companies can benefit by regarding bills and statements as a vehicle to bolster revenue through a channel that customers have come to trust and expect.

As most marketers will tell you, email and direct mail marketing commonly perform at rather disappointing response rates. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, the response rate for bulk mail is typically under two percent. When targeted personalization is added, customer response jumps to nearly 14%!

TransPromo technology provides the ability to produce transactional documents that perform well beyond generic junk mail. With selective data mining, thoughtful document composition and digital printing technology, it is possible to produce documents that command dramatically improved customer response.

There is a quantifiable profit advantage for companies who use TransPromo documents as a direct marketing tool, especially as the level of personalization increases. If you have looked at TransPromo in the past and found the approach to be too costly and complex to consider, now may be the time to think again. The technology has matured, applications are more realistically designed, and price points for solutions have been right-sized to fit almost any budget. As the potential for additional revenue generation increases, reevaluating the available technologies and options becomes more vital to company performance.

After all, you are already paying for the creation, production and delivery of your monthly transactional documents - why not take more complete advantage of this existing investment?

KEVIN CRAINE is a writer focused on the document industry and the author of the popular book Designing a Document Strategy. He is the host of the Document Strategy Podcast heard around the world, and he is a former editor of DOCUMENT. For more information or to contact Mr. Craine, visit www.CraineCommunicationsGroup.com