Digital Mail Advisory Council

On January 24th, the inaugural Digital Mail Advisory Council was launched. Co-sponsored by Madison Advisors and Digital Postal Mail,  several Sr. Executives from major financial services organizations, and leadership from Fortune 500 telecom/cable and insurance firms met with the objective to collaborate, strategize, and drive best practices for the delivery of digital mail.

Madison Advisors has been tracking the Multi-Channel delivery migration since 2003 through our Operational Viability Assessments, and more recently through our targeted Enterprise research studies on paper suppression and migration to eDelivery channels.  The industry trends show stagnation in customers migrating from paper to electronic delivery.  All of the participants indicated having similar customer reporting migration issues to the new digital mail platforms. The group acknowledged the plateauing of electronic adoption within customer base, and shared best practices for incremental improvement. While several pockets of impressive improvement are available, in total the market has not moved significantly in the past 2 years.

During that span we’ve seen postage increase, along with other operational costs in supporting paper delivery of statements, invoices, letters, notices and checks. Even the US Treasury has adopted a print suppression strategy – don’t print and mail. Starting in May 2011, all recipients newly applying for benefits will receive only electronic payment, and as of March 1 of this year, all Social Security recipients will no longer receive a paper check. However, Enterprise mailers under the same cost pressures don’t have that luxury due to consumer preference pressures, and are forced to continually trim costs, or reduce service.

Banks, by nature of online banking and bill payment services, have some of the highest online enrollment of any business sector. Yet half of those enrolled have not turned off paper statements, throttling eAdoption at roughly 25%. Other verticals varied by application (trade confirms having high suppression, insurance policies having low suppression), and demographics. While all who participated indicated that several tactics and methods had been used to drive electronic adoptions, most had resolved to the fact that the low hanging fruit had all been harvested.

Several key issues were addressed, including reversion rates, conversion offers and methodologies, new account handling, customer education.   Somewhat surprisingly, the consensus was the desire for some level of teaming to achieve the digital mail density challenge facing enterprises & customers today.

The common belief is that consumers don’t subscribe to Digital Mail Box platforms for lack of content, namely their mail – statements, bills and letters. Enterprise’s, constantly looking to cut costs, are reluctant to take on project expenses to support new Digital Mail Platforms for lack of customer traction.

Based on the strategic priority, and the impact to the bottom line, leaders in these Fortune 100 companies have a strategic imperative to drive electronic adoption. The day closed with discussion around next steps, and how to bring the critical, large mailers together to drive mail density and attract customers. A few key banks, a wireless carrier, major utility, and an insurance provider would provide sufficient critical mass to drive significant, incremental adoption.

Look for more new findings here as the council takes form.

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