Transpromo: Why Not You? Why Not Now?

Back in 2009 and 2010, I wrote extensively about “transpromo” for a mid-size production company. In various articles and blog posts, the point was this: “If you are mailing ‘transactional’ documents to your customers, donors, or members – you know, those familiar bills, invoices, pay slips, statements, even event tickets— you are missing a free marketing opportunity. It’s nicknamed “transpromo” and it involves using digital printing to add a very targeted message to somebody quite likely to read it.”

We argued that transpromo can be useful in every piece of mail you send to customers, and yet, none of my client’s print customers took the bait. With variable digital printing capabilities becoming better, faster and cheaper, transpromo looked like a no-brainer, but the broader community, including nonprofits, wasn’t adopting back then. Apparently, mailers still aren’t adopting in meaningful numbers.

Just a few weeks ago, in a Target Marketing article, Manny Kostas, senior vice president, worldwide strategy and marketing, for HP’s Imaging and Printing Group asked this question: “Why are U.S. Marketers Sleeping on Transpromo?”

Why, indeed? This is the No. 1 UNANSWERED direct marketing question of the last two or three years!

Brad Banyas, OMI, also talked about a “Revival for Transaction Marketing” in his piece for “Output Links.”

Whatever we might say about the state of mail today (and I say, it’s not dead yet), there’s one thing many people are still getting delivered:  bills, invoices, renewal statements, changes in terms and conditions — all those important transactional documents required by law and good business practice.

Last year, a May 13 article in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek outlined four ways to improve your direct mail, including:

1. Addressing customers by name;

2. Recommending a new product similar to one your customer has recently purchased;

3. Leveraging social media and buy-in by asking customers to rate your products/services;

4. Adding variable messages to your invoices and statements.

All four fall within the realm of transpromo. All four would add value to your customer communications strategy and all four, when accomplished using transactional documents are less expensive than any other channel. So, if you have customers communicate with and transaction documents available to carry that message – why not transpromo?


  1. pretty good insights. I’ll be sure to stop by and read more from you. thanks.

  2. Hi, Ben. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Hope to see you again.

  3. Hi Nancy,

    That’s a great call to action! Thank you for sharing.


  4. Thanks for the thumbs up, Matt. And, Michael, thanks for thinking out of the box and sharing with us. Your comment embodies the sort of new marketing practices that are certain to come our way, whether we like it or not. Some will work; some won’t. But — unquestionably — our marketing lives will NOT proceed as usual. The best we can do now is stay informed, be nimble, and keep an open mind.

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