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The European TransPromo Opportunity: Data Protection Considerations

The TransPromo Market: U.S. versus Europe

In recent years, InfoTrends has conducted numerous research studies of the U.S. TransPromo opportunity. As we expand our research to the European Union, it is useful to compare and contrast the market dynamics of the two regions as they pertain to TransPromo.

Similarities of Demand Drivers

Before focusing on the differences between the U.S. and European markets, let us first consider the similarities. Technology availability is one. The increased use of colour is spilling over to transactional statements as more and more ultra high-volume colour devices become available. Driven by changes in the economics of high-volume digital colour printing, InfoTrends anticipates an application roll-over in the coming years. During this time, digitally overprinted offset shells will increasingly be replaced by single production runs on full colour digital devices. This will open up new opportunities in both regions, and TransPromo is considered one of the most promising in terms of growth rate and adoption. In addition to changing economics in hardware technology, more robust software solutions will also fuel growth in this emerging application.

Another similarity involves the need for organisations of all sizes to control the cost and improve on their customer communications and direct marketing programs. With increased competition and the weakening of the economy, organisations are taking a closer look on how they communicate with their customers and prospects. TransPromo—the concept of including relevant and personalised promotional, informational, and educational messaging on transactional documents—can help in improving customer experience and increasing response rates, as well as open up a new, cost-effective communication channel for organisations.

Differences between U.S. and Europe

As for differences, the cultural diversity of Europe has typically led to a market environment that is more fragmented, more local, and often more bespoke than the United States. Vendors selling solutions enabling TransPromo in Europe need to be mindful of the intricacy of the various countries in their go-to-market strategy.

The way the U.S.-based organisations approach data protection is different from ones based in Europe. In the U.S., the protection of personal data has traditionally been governed by a combination of (self) regulation and legislation on an as needed basis (for example, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act). Organisations such as the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) publish guidelines and self-regulations to help direct marketers utilise customer data in an ethical manner.

In Europe, the privacy law is actually an overarching framework—it explicitly prohibits any automated processing of personal data unless certain criteria are met. One of the major differences with the American market is that selling of personal data in Europe requires prior approval of the data owner, usually the permission of the person whose data is stored. Restrictions apply on the transfer of personal data to non-European countries that do not meet the European “adequacy” standards for privacy protection.

To offer an example, after the merger of car giant Daimler-Benz with Chrysler, the Germans refused to share European consumer data with the Americans, as this would violate the European data protection law. According to Strategy Business, “Although the 1998 Daimler-Benz purchase of Chrysler for $37 billion was aimed in no small part at driving international recognition and sales for the combined company's portfolio of brands, information collected about EU customers by the Daimler division (e.g., the demographics of specific Mercedes-Benz car buyers) is generally kept from the Chrysler wing, which might be on the prowl for, say, wealthy German families of four that might be in the market for a Jeep Cherokee. Untold millions of dollars in annual revenue are lost at the iron wall that halts the data flow between the two parts of the company.”

To help solve these problems, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has worked with the European Commission to create a “Safe Harbor,” which is a framework of privacy principles intended to meet the standard of “adequate privacy protection” required by the EU Directive. American companies that voluntarily adhere to a set of principles can register themselves with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which eliminates the necessity of prior approval of electronic data transfer. The principle includes the notification of consumers about the types of information that is collected, the ability for consumers to opt out, and other principles that should not be an issue for bona fide companies. Nevertheless, adoption among American companies has been slow. In the printing industry, HP, Kodak, R.R. Donnelly, and Xerox are among the companies that have been registered.

The preceding excerpt is from InfoTrends’ report, The European TransPromo Opportunity: Data Protection Considerations. For more information visit our online store or contact Robyn Wuori at ext. 103 or e-mail .

To further investigate the European opportunity for TransPromo communications, InfoTrends is launching a major multi-client study entitled, Trans Meets Promo: A European Perspective. For more information contact Jennifer Skerrett at ext. 111 or or Jason Russell at 01582 698 063 or .


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