The Financial Market Pays Off
Unique solutions targeting financial institutions create a wealth of opportunity.
Business forms distributors can get a piece of the competitive financial market pie by looking beyond sales of core, commodity-type products to specialized solutions that enhance security and cut operating costs for banks, mortgage companies, brokerage and investment firms, and lending and leasing institutions.
It's all the better if those solutions include patented products. "This is where the real profits are generated," said Dan Hopkins, national sales manager for Roanoke, Virginia-based Info- Seal. "Because the items are not available from other sources, competition is virtually eliminated. And, distributors can sell them at better margins."
Hopkins was one of the suppliers conducting industry insight sessions at the Print Solutions trade show, held Oct. 3 to 7 in Chicago. During the seminar entitled Patented Products for Banks—How to Create Value in Your Relationship, he introduced his company's new, patent-pending PinSeal for secure mailing of account and PIN numbers. "We're seeing tremendous growth in PIN number use as a result of online account management services," observed Hopkins. "The ability to mail PIN number confirmation/notification pieces safely and effectively is increasingly a big concern."
Designed as a simplexed or duplexed, Z-folded, pressure-sealed self-mailer, PinSeal features a die-cut window covered by a pull tab that has the PIN number printed on the reverse side. The tab detaches to avoid the PIN number's being left intact with the document bearing the name and account number for safe keeping.
"Feedback from financial institutions indicates an ongoing need for more and better-preforming security features," Hopkins continued. "Although the major directs dominate in much of the financial marketplace, the door is not closed to the independent distributor who can say, 'Look, I have a more secure way for you to do business,' and then presents the buyer with an innovative, patented product."
Hopkins also noted that the financial market uses a fair amount of promotional pieces to grow business. InfoSeal's patent-pending cross-fold product line provides a convenient, cost-saving solution for such applications. For example, an eight-page marketing booklet can be created using a single piece of 11x17˝ paper that is folded on each dimension. The cross-fold products can even be designed to feature return envelopes.
Cashing in on the financial market by combining value-added documents with results-oriented mailings was also the message that Don McGriff, sales/product manager for Georgia National Forms, Marietta, Ga., imparted during his session, Building Recurring Revenue with Statement Processing.
McGriff demonstrated how pre-printed invoices and statements, in conjunction with a company's electronic files, create a regular income stream for distributors and benefit end-users through bulk postage rates and higher-quality printed materials that generate better results. And, as did Hopkins, he stressed the addition of printed marketing pieces to add value and boost profits. "The epitome of wasted space is a billing envelope that contains no marketing materials," said McGriff. "The postage has already been paid—make the most of it."
Better Business Partner
McGriff noted that the deep postal rate discounts result from having approximately 250 pieces in an individual mail carrier's route. "But, because most companies have customers scattered throughout regions encompassing various zip codes, they're not generating the necessary volume to achieve significant discounts," he explained. "Outsourcing document processing allows for the co-mingling of mail from different companies to provide for rates that are normally much better than what the companies can achieve on their own."
McGriff emphasized that document processing services such as Georgia National Forms' POS-I-Bill also provide the added benefit of a more dynamic mailing piece. "For instance, we can take a file and change the look of a document by re-mapping to add pantographs and color," he continued. "Documents can also be customized to become more recipient-friendly. Distributors can talk to customer service departments about redesigns that pre-answer frequently asked questions or bring clarity to any confusing areas."
As mentioned earlier, it's good business to include marketing pieces with statements and notices. "Look for an outsourcing partner who can design and print the insert, as well as do the mail processing all out of one house for efficient one-stop shopping. It's a great way to increase the dollar amount of the sale and the value of the service the distributor provides," McGriff suggested.
He went on to say that distributors can qualify prospects for document processing services by asking questions regarding what they send out to customers and how they handle processing. The next step is to propose an internal cost study to isolate operating costs vs. outsourcing. McGriff explained that the first point of contact is usually a company's marketing wing, and eventually extends to Information Services, the CFO, the CIO, account managers and anyone else with the clout to commission cost studies as interest is developed.
"Banks, credit unions, leasing companies and lending institutions with equipment leases that are ready for renewal are good prospects," he added. "Likewise, companies with heavy investments in their own in-plant printing operations, those who are not focusing on future growth, and those who are not willing to look at the marketing benefits or who are hesitant to do an internal cost analysis are typically poor candidates."
So, whether it's an innovatively designed product offering greater security, a cost-saving mailing solution or a dynamic promotional piece, distributors who offer financial market customers something out of the ordinary can be in the money.
By Maggie DeWitt