Around the World in 50 Billion Customer Communications

Will Morgan
Jun 26, 2017

Some might call it overkill. We just call it being thorough.

When we set out to interview 50 key stakeholders in the customer communications space, most of our peers thought we were being too ambitious. Well, 60 interviews (and 250+ pages of notes) later, we had managed to gather insight from customer communications service providers and other stakeholders who represented over 50 billion printed, electronic, and mobile communications delivered in 2016.

Highlighted in a press release today to announce its publication, the resulting report, entitled Enterprise Customer Communications—Trends and Strategies from Around the Globe, includes perspective from some of the largest players in the customer communications market, as well as important smaller providers with deep vertical and regional insights.

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This 43-page analysis examines in detail the top ten trends driving enterprise expectations and aspirations for customer communications. Here is some insight into three of them:

  • Though enterprises may not be ready to adopt personalized video, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies, they want an outsourcing partner who has the advanced capabilities to future-proof their communications strategies and act as a trusted adviser to help them achieve their business goals.
  • The transition to electronic delivery of transactional communications continues, though it is slower than senders would like. National governments may accelerate digital adoption in some territories (and for some document types) before it naturally evolves through the growing influence of younger, more tech savvy, consumers.
  • Demand for direct mail varies globally, though poor returns from digital campaigns have led some companies to reinvest. For those enterprises investing in direct mail, few are taking advantage of the channel’s potential for increased personalization.

Though our interviewees said that actual adoption of digital messaging and value-added services is still low, they explained that clients and prospects are now looking to their outsourcing providers to help them transition toward a strategy that leverages higher quality, data-driven correspondence and a cohesive, purposeful communications strategy to reduce costs while raising revenue.  Jim Monti, Vice President of the Marketing Solutions Group at Quad/Graphics put it this way:

 After spending years trying to drive costs out of the business, clients and prospects have come to realize that this approach does not necessarily guarantee the best return. They are beginning to work through other channels to complement digital communications and are using the data they have captured to make messages more relevant to their customers.

Meanwhile, evolving technology and complicated regulations are adding to the complexity of printed mail and digital delivery, even as traditional channels demonstrate staying power and marketers call for shorter runs of higher quality print to make the most of the medium. Hiroshi Otuka, Manager of Business Development for Iseto’s Sales Division out of Japan, believes that, “as print volume decreases, it is becoming increasingly vital for providers to give their clients the tools they need to enable relevant, high-quality communications that can be delivered at the proper time. This will fuse print and digital messaging and link transactional data mining to marketing promotions, ultimately leading to the type of one-to-one communications consumers demand.” It will be challenging for enterprises to balance growing consumer demand for more personalized interaction and promotions against cost concerns and strict government mandates regarding data security, and they will once again rely on the expert advice of their outsourcing partner.

Dozens of other direct quotes are embedded throughout the report, drawing our interviewees’ insights into the enterprise dynamics shaping the market in greater detail. Together, they tell the story of an industry in flux. Consumer empowerment is changing the definition of customer communications, forcing enterprises to rethink their strategies, and slowly transforming the identity of the service providers who support them. In our Customer Communications Advisory Service, we strive to cover this market from as many angles as possible. As always, if you are a stakeholder with an opinion on the industry, we would love to hear from you!

Will Morgan
Research Analyst
Customer Communications Advisory Services
@wdminfotrends

The full report is available for sale, but is also provided to subscribers to the “Insights” portion of our Customer Communications advisory service. To inquire about purchasing the full report or for access to this unique advisory service, contact Deanna Flanick at deanna.flanick@keypointintelligence.com today!?

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