By Cassandra Balentine
Many organizations choose to implement a mixed communication strategy that incorporates both digital and physical components. Creating and delivering these offerings in a flexible and secure manner is a complex process.
Established in 1976, DATAMATX is headquartered in Atlanta, GA with additional locations in Phoenix, AZ and Richmond, VA. Its 140 employees are spread out over 103,000 total square feet.
The company started out as a shared mainframe service bureau, when mainframe computers were too expensive for most small businesses and desktop computers did not yet exist. “We provided custom programming and shared mainframe hosting of critical business applications, which our national clients accessed using remote terminals connected through dedicated phone lines,” shares Harry Stephens, CEO, DATAMATX.
Its clients’ demands evolved into the need for more customized solutions, and the company eventually invested in one of the first high-speed laser printers on the market to produce financial output. Stephens explains that from that platform—and as the reliance on mainframe applications waned—DATAMATX moved into printing and mailing mission-critical financial statement, bills, collection letters, invoices, confirmations, insurance documents, and other notices. “Eventually, our customers wanted digital solutions for these services, so today we deliver business to business and business to consumer mission-critical customer communications digitally, as well as via paper and mail,” he shares.
DATAMATX is now a full-service provider of high-volume print and digital transactional communications. “Our advanced document processing and delivery capabilities enable clients to create data-driven, highly targeted communications to their customers. We offer fully customized options like personalization and high-quality color to engage customers and drive revenue for our business customers,” he adds.
Versatility in Capabilities
Processing mission-critical documents is a complex and highly sensitive business. Its clients need to adhere to regulations while maintaining a positive customer experience. DATAMATX finds agility is key to its success.
“Our clients tell us our greatest strength is our flexibility and capability to develop customized solutions for complex business requirements, tailored to seamlessly integrate with their established processes, instead of requiring them to modify their process to fit a boilerplate solution.”
The company’s turnkey service includes all programming, document design, production, labor, equipment, supplies, specialized inventory management, and logistics that take client requirements from raw data to finished documents for mailing and electronic distribution.
The document provider manages its own data centers as well as data security. So it is able to handle sensitive client-owned data in compliance with various government statutes and industry standards, include HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, IRS Pub 1075, FISMA, and PCI DSS. Further, the company has implemented NIST 800-53 risk management at the moderate level, and have achieved HITRUST CSF certification, FISMA SAR, PCI-DSS 3.2, and SOC annual audit compliance requirements.
In addition, Stephens points out that DATAMATX is one of fewer than five national first-class mailers to hold the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) full-service Platinum certification. “This allows us to operate at the highest level of quality, reliability and compliance within the USPS’s TQM environment.”
Printed output is an important component of DATAMATX service offerings, but it is only represents a portion of its capabilities. The ability to produce omni-channel campaigns is critical to its customer base.
“We work with our clients’ financial managers, as well as their marketing teams to assist them in creating value for their customer communications to promote, market, and upsell or cross sell offerings, and provide updates and relevant, personalized content,” shares Stephens.
Whether delivered digitally or via paper and mail, customers can open and view mission-critical statement, bills, invoices and notices. Using valuable real estate on paper or electronic customer communications with a tie-in to promotions gives the provider’s clients the ability to achieve a better return on investment, and customers have a choice of delivery channels, including digital only, print only, or a combination of both.
To manage cross-channel campaigns, DATAMATX works closely with its clients on customized solutions to assist them in determining the relevant touch points with their customers. “This can be anything from a customized message to offering a loan from a bank or to a credit union customer who is about to pay off their loan, a message on a paper bill to entice them to move to a digital bill and e-payment, or an insurance document that drives the recipient to login to a portal for future notices,” explains Stephens.
To facilitate printing and finishing elements of these multi-channel campaigns, it utilizes both high-volume inkjet and toner-based print output devices, in addition to high-speed inserters and multiline optical-character reader equipped mail sorters. Mail is presorted to provide clients with the best postal rates. The company also operates cutters, folders, shrink wrapping, and bindery equipment.
“Our equipment is selected based on agility, performance, and reliability. We must provide adherence to strict service level agreement requirements to our clients since we are part of their revenue stream,” shares Stephens.
He estimates that approximately 85 percent of the omni-channel marketing campaigns it produces incorporate a print element.
“We find most of our clients offer their critical customer communications delivered through both mail and digitally. Business to business clients generally find emailing a notice with a secure PDF attachment sufficient if the data is not sensitive. However, business to consumer clients with sensitive customer data require us to email a notice or a link, offering customers a web-based platform to authenticate, login to a portal, and view their bill or statement with an option or instructions to pay,” offers Stephens.
The biggest advantage to omni-channel marketing campaigns is the ability for clients to treat critical communications as data. “They can track when customers receive documents, and who reads what kinds of communications. They can combine print and digital variable data offerings using customized web-based platforms and target specific customers based on data in their files, combined with data collected from these communications. Instead of a one-way communications stream, clients can leverage more data in a two-way communication with their customers, using first class mail, which has a very high rate of engagement, along with flexible, customized digital offerings.”
The biggest challenge is the cost of postage, which keeps increasing. “It is obviously less expensive for a company to only offer digital delivery, whether you are trying to market services or billing for those services,” says Stephens. “Statistics show most people would like options without being forced into only one. Especially for billing, customers think companies that provide paper and electronic options, which can be turned on and off, provide the best overall service.”
In 2020, every business faced unique challenges that altered business as usual. For DATAMAX, print offered clients a silver lining.
“At this time in our history, with many people working from home due to the pandemic, the home office/computer is a place you cannot get away from, where you are inundated with emails from companies. Receiving your electric bill by email only can result in the bill getting lost, then you might forget to pay expensive and unnecessary late fees. It also means our client gets their money later. Working from home also means you now have time to walk to your mailbox and review your mail, making the mailed bill or marketing piece much more valuable and meaningful,” he shares.
In addition to challenges and advantages brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the data provider and its clients faced major process changes.
Stephens points to a reduction in the amount of any type of self-promotion marketing since February. At press time, he admits it still has not picked back up as companies did not want to be viewed as insensitive.
From Spring into Summer, DATAMATX saw a shift to COVID-19 messaging across all platforms. “Messages from our customers to their customers has been things like, ‘we are here, open, extending terms, suspending service charges,’ etc. These messages have been placed on bills, e-notices, and mobile platforms,” shares Stephens.
The designs and messaging behind these campaigns are supplied by customers. It then consults on the execution and customizations after the customer figures out the messaging, as DATAMATX focuses more on the A/R side than the marketing side. “The goal behind these omni-channel campaigns is to get bills paid faster—we are an extension of the revenue stream,” he says.
With the flexibility to produce and deliver communications for clients digitally and physically, in a secure manner, DATAMATX is a true partner for its clients.
DATAMATX plans to continue supporting its clients both digitally, and via print and mail, depending on preferences.
Sep2020, DPS Magazine