My wife and I are expecting a baby later this year and after recently having the 20 week scan, I looked back at the 12 week scan photos to see the differences.
Even though there has been substantial growth by baby Dashwood in that two month period, I realised how much growing he/she will do before he/she is born (if you hadn’t gathered, we decided not to find out the sex!).
The thought was then on how much growing was still required before it will crawl, then before it can walk, and then of course run.
I know that “crawl, walk, run” is very cliché, however there are a lot of things that go into the human growth process to allow this to happen. For a child, this is what we know and expect, however many companies expect to be able to run with their TransPromo activities without even getting out of the womb. Are you one of them?
In the US, anything that goes in your letterbox must be addressed by law (I believe because the letterbox is owned by USPS) so even advertising material and catalogues must be addressed. In Australia and many other countries this is not the case. We still have our “posties” deliver mail, however most advertising and catalogues etc are delivered by walkers. The cost to the advertiser per item is significantly less than the postage if it went through the postal system, however there is also not the added cost of addressing required (both from a data and printing perspective).
I noticed in a recent article that the USPS is facing a significant loss of volume and that mail volumes are expected to decline for the ninth consecutive quarter with losses this year to likely exceed $7 billion. Sheesh!
I also read that, “Mintel Comperemedia estimates direct mail from financial services companies fell by at least 25% in 2008. The research shows that, in 2008, credit card and mortgage and loan offers accounted for 86% of all direct mail offers. One interesting figure from the report is that banks increased the number of mailings in support of customer loyalty and retention by 85%.”
Most if not all of the document generators that I speak to about document solutions would love to implement TransPromo techniques into their statements and other documents, but the first reaction of many is that if they can’t have everything now (or at least by tomorrow), then it’s not worth putting in the effort, particularly in these times that are financially tough.
These are the same people that agree that tough times are the times to put things in place to be seen as the company with the solutions when their customers need them the most; allowing them to be seen as true leaders when things recover.
Effectively implementing additional value to your essential mail for long term benefits is not something that will miraculously happen overnight.
Gradual incremental change is fine – in fact it is encouraged by anyone that has implemented a successful solution. Of course there is a chance of success if you try to do everything at once – if you stand a baby up and give them a good push, there is the potential they will walk (or even run) a few small steps – but the best long term success will be achieved by implementing in gradual (baby) steps to ensure the required outcomes are achieved and delivered.
Just like you can’t run in the womb as an embryo – although I reckon our little champ is trying pretty hard – you can’t go from little or no effective data use to a full blown TransPromo application without some time to experience and grow.
- Analyse your current documents
- Are they adequate?
- Is the frequency correct?
- Can you consolidate? (postage saving straight away)
- Do you have enough to target relevant content?
- If not, where do you get it?
- Do you have the experience and skills to use it properly?
- Are they consistent across your brand?
- Is the primary purpose of the document still maintained?
- Is all of the information relevant to the recipient?
- Understand about information presentment
- For detailed technical analysis of how to display data
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information www.edwardtufte.com
- Understand the use of color
- Do you need it? Will highlight color suffice?
To understand more, see Psychology of Color in the Pantone Color Think Tank www.pantone.com
- Review, learning what worked and what didn’t
- Go back and analyse, modifying where appropriate
- Go again!
(sounds a bit like crawl, walk, run....)
The growth of a successful data driven document solution takes time, whether TransPromo or better data use in a non-transactional document.
Bottom line, don’t expect to run without putting in time for growth. Baby steps are fine!
About the Author
Brett Dashwood edp, has been working in the electronic document systems industry, in both service provider and vendor management roles, for almost two decades. He is a respected professional who has been involved in document solutions, managing training programs and presenting to varied document technology audiences on five continents.
In addition to his role as OutputLinks’ Asia Pacific vice president, he is managing director of Dashwood Consulting (edit: now The Document Institute), a technology and consulting company specialising in effective document and web communication.
Brett & wife Nicole are expecting their baby August 20th 2009.