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Summary

There is often a disconnect within organizations between the finance and marketing departments, which can result in lost opportunities to increase sales. Customer communications applications are a valuable tool for the finance department to send bills and statements to customers. However, they can also provide marketing departments with a means to create personalized, targeted marketing.

Finance and marketing departments need to communicate with each other

Traditionally, customer communications systems have been managed and run by finance departments to deliver bills and statements to their customers. However, many of these documents contain a large amount of blank space, which could be filled with carefully selected, personalized, and targeted marketing collateral for each customer. Unfortunately, many finance departments are reluctant to "trivialize" important documents by including marketing collateral in them.

This attitude leads to an important marketing opportunity being missed. In these times of extreme competition in most market sectors, organizations should be taking every opportunity to advertise their goods and services. Through the use of analytics, marketing departments know a lot about the likes and preferences of each customer. It should therefore be possible to fill white spaces on communications with tasteful, personalized marketing material. In communications designed for mobile devices, there could be a link to highly relevant web content.

However, organizations need to take care not to overwhelm the financial information that is being communicated to ensure that recipients do not throw away the communication without reading it, by mistaking a financial document for marketing collateral. Because of the way that communications are designed – with the layout separated from the content – marketers do not need to view the financial parts of the communication, and financial staff do not need to see the marketing sections.

Organizations need to start communicating between departments and sharing applications. Customer communications systems are already being used to distribute marketing material, but by combining financial and marketing information, the likelihood of a communication being read is increased. It also means that customers receive fewer communications overall – receiving too many marketing communications is a gripe of many customers. Reducing the number and making all communications that are sent highly personal can only help increase the chances of communications being read.

Appendix

Further reading

Beyond Billing: Customer Communications Systems for the Millennial Generation, IT0014-002995 (March 2015)

Author

Sue Clarke, Senior Analyst, IT – Information Management

sue.clarke@ovum.com

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