Personalize and Help the Environment


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Earlier this year I addressed the issue of joined up communications, which hinged on the fact that high-speed personalisation has become more affordable for businesses of all sizes. As a result, new ways of producing customer communications have led to a further advantage of personalisation, which benefits the environment. This is manifested in two ways: firstly, personalised customer reporting; secondly, advertising on bills and statements.

Personalisation is making a major impact on client relations for investment management companies. Investment management firms can now create personalised investor updates featuring only information that is of relevance to the individual. Because each update can be tailored individually to the recipient a huge amount of paper can be saved.
Investment management leader M&G managed to strip over 40 tonnes of print production out of its bi-annual investor updates using the latest colour printing technology. The personalised updates present investor reporting in a more concise and user-friendly manner, improving client satisfaction (measured by an immediate reduction in call centre queries), while also substantially reducing the carbon footprint of each investor update mailing. Rather than receiving a number of separate sheets showing the value of their investment, along with potentially numerous generic inserts about their funds, investors are now sent a fully integrated and personalised “Investment Update” booklet including information that is personally relevant to each individual investor – not only their investment statement, but also graphic representation of performance plus valuation and commentary on each fund that an individual holds investments in.

All this information was printed in full colour and bound into a single booklet ensuring that the investor has all the relevant facts to hand in one easy to read publication. The fact that the average pack weight decreased dramatically ensured that fewer carbon emissions are generated when delivering the Investment Updates though the postal network.

Paper saving is also evident in transactional mail – advertising on bills and statements. Rather than including inserts, businesses are now turning to transpromo advertising. The practice of printing marketing messages directly onto the available white space means saved paper and saved costs.

In fact, businesses can do more than simply save money. Last year we published a report that valued the available white space on bills and statements in terms of advertising. It was found to be worth over half a billion pounds. The advertising value of this wasted opportunity is equivalent to 22% of UK annual direct mail spend. This reveals a major unexploited opportunity for companies to cross-sell additional products to their customers, or charge appropriate affinity partners for the space.

The question over whether or how to use statements and bills as an advertising medium has been debated quietly over the last few years, especially amongst key banks and wealth managers anxious to find every available means of up-selling or cross-selling to their high net worth customers. The technique has moved from being simply experimental to becoming a mainstream activity, and a real marketplace of technology and service providers has been established. A handful of pioneers are taking advantage of this medium benefiting from response rates not far short of those experienced by the average direct mail campaign. The key opportunity evidently lies in banking and credit cards, simply because of the sheer volume of statements generated by this sector.

So, with improved customer communications we are also getting cost efficiencies and improved green practices – everyone’s a winner!

Yolanda Noble
dsicmm Ltd
Yolanda Noble is CEO of dsicmm. She has more than 25 years of experience in the print and mail industry and has owned and managed her own businesses since 1989. Most recently, her company, CMM Group, merged with dsi Group to form dsicmm Ltd, the United Kingdom's largest independently owned direct communications organization.


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