When you meet someone special, you pull out all the stops to be the best possible version of yourself. You dress nice, hold open the door, pay for drinks and laugh at every joke that person makes. After some time however, when all goes well, you might start putting in less of an effort. There are dirty socks on the floor, you don’t hold back as many burps as before and the parents-in-law are no longer as funny as they were when you first met them.

In many regards, customer communications over the course of the customer journey can be very similar. As a result, the difference between marketing and service communications can be day and night. However, they both have specific benefits which, if combined, allow you to engage with your customers in ways that seemed impossible before.

Marketing communications

Businesses use marketing or commercial communications to turn prospects into customers. As pre-purchase communications they are meant to persuade people to engage with their brand, preferably on a long term basis. Commercial communications portray the best that the brand has to offer, highlight a certain promotion or service and very often suggest a sense of urgency.

Marketing communications are the commercials you see on TV, the pop-up ads you skip on YouTube, the brochures you find in your mailbox, the billboards on the corner of the street, the ads in the newspaper,… Today, pushed by modern means of technology, marketing communications are everywhere. Businesses go to great lengths to catch your attention.

However, despite these efforts, a lot of marketing communications fail to reach their target audience. People are confronted with marketing communications right, left and center and are often fed up of them. Flyers handed out in the street are thrown away without a second glance, promotional emails are deleted without opening or video ads skipped after five seconds.

Service communications

With service or transactional communications this is not the case. Service communications are also referred to as post-purchase communications and include communications such as invoices and certificates. They contain specific vital information and are therefore crucial for the receiver who takes the time to closely read the contents and do the actions required. In other words, they have a conversion rate of almost 100%.

Another important difference between marketing and transactional communications is the fact that these service communications are almost never as fancy and pleasing to the eye as marketing communications. Businesses believe: “The receiver is already a customer, so why bother?” As we learned last week, this often has a negative impact on the customer experience. The customer will be disappointed and in some cases look for products or services elsewhere.

Combining the best of both worlds

So why not combine both? Transactional communications almost always reach their destination but don’t look very appealing. Marketing communications do look the part but often miss their target. What would happen if you combine the best of both worlds? Why not combine the power of both kinds of communications by adding promotional content to an attractive service communication? If you have read our previous blog ‘What is Transpromo’, you already know what we are talking about. Transpromo, short for transpromotional communications, is the clever result of adding relevant promotions to otherwise dry transactional communication.

Check out this insurance contract. As the customer receives this new contract, which he’ll surely read, he is immediately informed about the 10% discount on a family insurance, a product which is often linked to fire insurance.

Transactional communications hold specific information for one individual and thus are an ideal platform for cross- and/or up-selling. As a business you know a lot about your individual customers. You know what they like, what they buy, when and how much. Why not use this information in a communication that will most certainly reach its target? When a customer buys a certain product, but you know he or she is better off with another, why not push that other product on the next invoice?