With all the talk of "green" this and "green" that, it's interesting when a figures from a survey such as the one by InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh, show that paper is still "in" with consumers. Granted, the report might be a little self-serving. InfoPrint is, after all, a printer and software solutions company. However, I still think the numbers are worth a look.Zoomerang polled 1,000 North American consumers on InfoPrint's behalf. It found that 57 percent of those surveyed actually preferred to receive a paper statement from their financial institution and other companies every month. Card companies were the leaders in mailing the statements, at 65 percent, according to respondents.
InfoPrint concludes, aside from the fact that people aren't quite ready to completely jettison paper statements, that banks continue to miss the boat when it comes to marketing on statements. Statement-based promotions have been discusssed in the industry for years. Do you print directly on the statement or do you place inserts in the envelope in which the statement is mailed? Personally, I dislike statement inserts. They're usually pretty meaningless to me and I just wind up throwing them out. Apparently the people who took the InfoPrint survey agree with me. Eighty-six percent said they have never purchased a product or service after receiving a separate promotional document with their monthly statements. A further 40 percent said the inserts that accompany their monthly communications are always impersonal and irrelevant.
The study suggests, then, that financial institutions should consider including more personalized coupons printed on the statement itself. I know when I get my Lord & Taylor statement that they include a 15 percent coupon that I can use for my next purchase. That tact has certainly been effective with me! And 64 percent of the respondents to this survey said they too would be more likely to use the coupons and felt these personalized marketing materials would encourage more brand loyalty.
So it sounds like this might provide some more food for thought for banks. Of course they'll still want to try to encourage customers to use e-statements to help cut down on costs, if nothing else. But, like checks, there will still be a chunk of customers who continue to use paper statements. And what's to say you can't include coupons on e-statements? In fact, this is probably being done today.
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the usefulness of promotional material in paper statements versus e-statements. Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.